North Dakota Firsts, Facts, and Trivia
North Dakota Famous Firsts, North Dakota Interesting Facts, North Dakota Trivia
The restored boyhood home of band leader Lawrence Welk stands in Strasburg.
More North Dakota Firsts, Facts, and Trivia
- The town of Rugby is the geographical center of North America. A
rock obelisk about 15 feet tall, flanked by poles flying the United
States and Canadian flags marks the location.
- North Dakota passed a bill in 1987 making English the official
- Geologically speaking Hillsboro is located in a large, flat, and
ancient dried lake bottom surrounded by some of the most fertile
farmland in the world.
- Milk is the official state beverage.
- Westhope located on U.S. Highway 83 is a Port-of-Entry into
Canada. Each year more than 72,000 vehicles cross the border at this
- An attempt to drop the word North from the state name was
defeated by the 1947 Legislative Assembly. Again in 1989 the
Legislature rejected two resolutions intended to rename the state
- When Dakota Territory was created in 1861 it was named for the
Dakota Indian tribe. Dakota is a Sioux word meaning friends or
- Dakota Gasification Company in Beulah is the nation's only
synthetic natural gas producer.
- Bottineau is the southwestern gateway to the Turtle Mountains,
Lake Metigoshe and the International Peace Garden.
- Petroglyphs carved into two granite boulders give Writing Rock
State Historic Site near Grenora its name. Though their origins are
obscure, the drawings probably represent the Thunderbird, a
mythological figure sacred to Late Prehistoric Plains Indians.
Outlines of the bird, showing its wings extended and surrounded by
abstract designs, appear on both boulders.
- The Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba on the
north, Minnesota on the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana
as its western neighbor border North Dakota.
- Max G. Taubert of Casselton built a 50 foot high pyramid of
empty oil cans. It is believed to be the highest oil can structure
in the world.
- Devils Lake is the largest natural body of water in North
Dakota. Devils Lake derives its name from the Native American name
Miniwaukan. Early explorers incorrectly translated the word to mean
Bad Spirit. Bolstered by the many legends of drowned warriors and
lake monsters the name evolved into Devils Lake. This very fertile
prairie lake grows large numbers of the fish known as walleye,
northern pike, and white bass. The lake has earned the reputation of
being the Perch Capital of the World.
- This name Roughrider State originated in a state-supported
tourism promotion of the 1960s and 70s. It refers to the First U.S.
Volunteer Cavalry that Theodore Roosevelt organized to fight in the
- The Dakota Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson houses twelve full scale
dinosaurs, thousands of rock, mineral and fossil specimens and a
complete real Triceratops and Edmontosaurus.
- Richardton is home to the Abbey Church a Barvarian Romanesque
structure. Lofty arches, 52 stained glass windows, 24 paintings of
Saints on canvas above the arches, and a huge carved crucifix
delineate the impressive interior.
- The Lone Tree Wildlife Management Area located southwest of
Harvey consists of 33,000 acres of gently rolling hills bordering
the Sheyenne River.
- The North Dakota State University research experiment station in
Hettinger is the largest state owned sheep research center in the
- Sitting Bull Burial State Historic Site located on the western
edge of Fort Yates marks the original grave of the Hunkpapa Sioux
leader. During the Ghost Dance unrest of 1890 an attempt was made to
arrest him at his home on the Grand River in South Dakota, and a
skirmish ensued in which Sitting Bull was killed.
- The World's Largest Buffalo monument is located at Frontier
Village in Jamestown. The structure is 26 feet high, 46 feet long,
and weighs 60 ton.
- North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state.
- Chartered in 1884 Jamestown College is the oldest independent
college in the state.
- Ellendale’s oldest attraction is the Opera House. Built in 1909
it has a seating capacity for 1000 patrons.
- Kenmare is the Goose Capital of North Dakota. Kenmare is the
hunting haven of the north with an annual snow goose count being
over 400,000 birds.
- Flickertail refers to the Richardson ground squirrels which are
abundant in North Dakota. The animal flicks or jerks its tail in a
characteristic manner while running or just before entering its
- Killdeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo is the home of North Dakota's
oldest PRCA rodeo.
- From 1934 to 1941 the Civilian Conservation Corps maintained a
base camp near Medora to perform landscape and restoration work on
the 128 acre Chateau de Mores State Historic Site and the de Mores
City Park, which opened to the public on August 7, 1941.
- President Theodore Roosevelt first came to Dakota Territory in
September 1883 to hunt bison. Before returning home to New York, he
became interested in the cattle business and established the Maltese
Cross Ranch and the Elkhorn Ranch.
- The world famous Paul Broste Rock Museum in Parshall is built of
natural granite quarried from the area. The entire structure was
constructed with volunteer labor and opened for business in 1965.
Paul called it his Acropolis on a hill.
- Named after Henry D. Minot, a young entrepreneurial visionary
from the east, the town of Minot was conceived in the late 1800s.
With the impending arrival of the Great Northern Railroad the town
site was actually selected in November of 1886. Its phenomenal
growth led to the early nickname Magic City.
- New Leipzig is known as The Small, Friendly German Town on the
Dakota Prairie and hosts an annual Oktoberfest.
- The annual Central North Dakota Steam Threshers Reunion is one
of New Rockford's main annual events. It is held the third weekend
of September and boasts a variety of antique farm machinery
- Founded in 1978 Fort Berthold Community College is a tribally
chartered college located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
near the town of New Town.
- Niewoehner Funeral Home in Rugby has changed the skyline of
Rugby with the construction of a 30 foot tower containing 13 bells.
The largest bells, of which there are two, are 40 inches in diameter
and weigh about 1,300 pounds each.
- Only one word is needed to describe Lake Sakakawea country -
big. From the massive two-mile long Garrison Dam near Riverdale to
the end of Lake Sakakawea near Williston, Lake Sakakawea is nearly
200 miles long with a shoreline of countless bays and inlets that
cover 1,600 miles.
- The American elm (Ulmus americana) is the official state tree
and is commonly found across North Dakota. The American elm often
reaches 120 feet or taller.
- In 1982 Rutland hosted what was considered the grand daddy of
all celebrations when the town went into the "Guinness Book of World
Records" with the cooking and eating of the World's Largest
Hamburger. That year, between 8 and 10 thousand people came to
sample the tasty 3591 pound burger.
- The rich heritage of Grand Forks is preserved at the Myra Museum
featuring an 1890's home dedicated to pioneer women, a one-room
school, carriage house, and the city's original log Post Office.
- Turtle Lake celebrates turtles, hard-shelled reptiles often
found in the water. Turtle Lake has erected a two-ton sculpture of a
turtle near the entrance to the city. The town is the home of the
annual United States Turtle Racing Championship.
- Of the 50 states North Dakota is 17th in size, with 70,665
square miles. North Dakota is 212 miles long north to south and 360
miles wide east to west.
- Lawrence Welk left his home in Strasburg on his birthday in 1924
to pursue his musical career. On July 2, 1955, he made his debut on
national television. The Lawrence Welk Show was produced for 26
years and today reruns of the popular program air weekly throughout
the United States and foreign countries.
- The Lewis and Clark expedition encountered their first grizzly
(brown) bears in North Dakota.
- A 12-foot-high bronze statue of Sakakawea and her baby son
Baptiste stands at the entrance to the North Dakota Heritage Center
on the state capitol grounds in Bismarck. The statue, by Chicago
artist Leonard Crunelle, depicts Sakakawea with her baby strapped to
her back and looking westward toward the country she helped to open.
- Located southwest of Medora, De Mores State Historic Site
memorializes the life and activities in North Dakota of Antoine de
Vallombrosa the Marquis de Mores who arrived in 1883. Among his
enterprises were a beef packing plant, a stagecoach line, a
freighting company, refrigerated railway cars, cattle and sheep
raising, land ownership and a new town which he called Medora.
- The piles of rock on White Butte, North Dakota's highest point,
are known of as rock johnnies or sheepherder's monuments and
according to legend were piled there by sheepherders as a way to
pass the time while they tended their flocks.
- The International Peace Garden straddles the international
Boundary between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
In 1956 the North Dakota Motor Vehicle Department, on its own
initiative, placed the words Peace Garden State on license plates;
the name proved so popular that it was formally adopted by the 1957
- The official state flower is the wild prairie rose. The flower
sports five bright pink petals with a tight cluster of yellow
stamens in the center. The state rose grows along roadsides, in
pastures and in native meadows.
- The Big Hidatsa village site was occupied from about 1740 to
1850 and is the largest of three Hidatsa communities near the mouth
of the Knife River. It is believed to contain the best-defined earth
lodge depressions of any major Native American site in the Great
- Fort Union Trading Post was the principal fur-trading depot in
the Upper Missouri River region from 1829 to 1867.
- Only the Best Come North is the motto of the Minot Air Force Base located a few miles outside Minot's city limits. The military community draws personnel from all over the world.
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