sarah walker | Prairie Public Broadcasting

sarah walker


May is National Historic Preservation Month. Today, we share another story of a North Dakota addition to the National Register of Historic Places.


The city of Bismarck had a strong female, Catholic presence from its very early days, as five sisters first arrived in Bismarck in 1878 to open St. Mary’s Academy and Boarding School. This educational venture extended out from Bismarck into western North Dakota as time went by. In the 1880s, more Sisters from St. Benedict’s came to Bismarck to establish the first hospital in Dakota Territory, eventually developing into St. Alexius Hospital. Then in 1944, 140 Sisters from St. Benedict’s volunteered to begin a new monastic community in Bismarck. The first Motherhouse for this community was borrowed from the diocese, but it soon became crowded.  

May is National Historic Preservation Month. Today, we continue a look at Grand Forks schools on the National Register of Historic Places.

Between 1949 and 1965, Grand Forks added a number of new schools. These schools drew on the skills of local architects and marked the progression of the budding population. Theodore Wells and Myron Denbrook designed some of these schools and some later additions.


Automobiles were still relatively new in 1911, and with them came accidents, caused by the new technology, changing lifestyles, and even the landscape. In one instance that year, a newspaper reported that Charles McCloskey of Sentinel Butte had escaped more serious injuries when the car he was in "turned turtle," pinning him underneath. He had another occupant in the car, who was thrown clear and was able to help him escape from his predicament.


May is National Historic Preservation Month. So today, we share another story of North Dakota additions to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Due to population growth following World War II, the need arose for more schools in Grand Forks. The new schools constructed between 1949 and 1965 were in the mid-century style. Showcasing flat roofs, rows of windows, brick and steel construction, and using greenspace, these schools drew on the skills of local architects and marked the progression of the budding population. 


May is National Historic Preservation Month. Today, we highlight a North Dakota property on the National Register of Historic Places.


In early April, 1921, the City Council in Bowbells passed Ordinance No. 69, a fairly straight-forward ordinance that required any person, firm, or corporation "in the business of delivering spring water for hire, pay, or compensation," to obtain a license for this work.  Anyone could get this license by paying $25 to the city treasury and showing the receipt to the city auditor. The license was good for one year, unless the mayor revoked it. 


On this date in 1915, several prairie fires whipped North Dakota.  A number of these fires were reported to have started from burning haystacks, and spread by wind gales up to 50 miles an hour. One local report noted: "More than 250 square miles of range were burned … several towns were threatened, one man lost his life, two others were seriously burned and thousands of dollars worth of hay, buildings, and stock were destroyed."


In 1930, 22-year-old pilot Maurice Miller disappeared in a snowstorm when flying to Baudettte, Minnesota, from Penasse island in the northwest angle where he delivered mail and supplies. Searchers struggled to find him. It was an area described as "sixty miles of the wildest country in northern Minnesota...thickly timbered and cut into a labyrinth of lakes and islands."

Cleaning Up Bismarck

Dec 31, 2020


Although North Dakota entered the United States as a dry state in 1889, that didn't stop the flow of alcohol.  In Bismarck, blind pigs, saloons, and other salacious businesses still were thriving as the years ticked by, even as the Bismarck Tribune worked to advertise exactly what was going on and comment on the need to clean up the capital city. This perspective was in line with a judgment expressed by President Theodore Roosevelt, summarized in the Tribune, that "publicity is the best cure for most of the evils which oppress the people of this age."


On this date in 1923, it was not exactly looking a lot like Christmas in North Dakota. In fact, the Bismarck Tribune noted that it would NOT be a white Christmas – although "the spirit was there." In other words, the weather was nice. Communities around the state boasted temperatures in the 20s to 30s with just a trace of snow. So, with the weather cooperating, what else was there to do, but play multiple types of outdoor sports?