U.S. History

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Scandinavian Traditions | Music and Tradition

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Traditional music and dance is one way that North Dakotans celebrate their Scandinavian heritage and find part of their own identity in their ethnic background. “No tree grows strong by cutting off its roots.” Understanding where we come from helps us know who we are. North Dakota’s largest demographic is people of Scandinavian descent. Many people in North Dakota are aware of their roots, know who they are, and take an active role in keeping those traditions alive.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | The Decline of Railroads and Streetcars

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Discover how the building and use of railroads declined due to the popularity of automobiles and trucks. One effect was the development of regional and short line railroads that served smaller communities. Several larger cities used local electric streetcars until the automobiles took over.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | In Mid-continent and “The Holy Dog”

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Discover how transportation has affected every step of North Dakota history. North Dakota’s position in the center of North America has always made transportation a challenge with even the earliest peoples seeking ways to cover large distances of land. The arrival of horses to the Northern Plains had a radical effect on the Native American culture and way of life.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Roads from WWII to the Present

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Learn how World War II meant funding was diverted to all but strategic roads and highways. After the war, the state had to play catch-up on road maintenance, helped by federal funding of the interstate system. In today's world, larger and heavier trucks are critical to transporting freight. In rural North Dakota, providing local transit for a growing senior citizen population is a big issue.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Water Communication

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Learn how rivers already provided an avenue for the movement of goods and people in 1803 when Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri River to look for a waterway to the West.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Individual Freedom

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Learn about the history of automobiles in North Dakota. The automobile age gave freedom of movement and choice for passengers and freight. With more people driving cars, the push came for better roads.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | “A Reluctant and Homesick Pig”

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Learn about the history of steamboats on the Red River. Although its course meandered like a lost and homesick pig, the Red River of the North was a major artery for steamboats, which coordinated with stagecoaches from St. Paul to Fort Abercrombie.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Peerless Transportation

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Learn about the role of railroads in North Dakota history. In their time, railroads had no peer in their ability to move people and goods, although shipping costs were high. The railroad companies helped increase immigration to North Dakota by actively marketing the opportunities here to foreigners, especially Scandinavians and Germans from Russia.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Red River Oxcarts

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Learn about the Red River oxcarts that were the primary means of transporting goods from the Red River Valley to St. Paul.

Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Retracing Lewis and Clark's Steps

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Lewis and Clark’s Journey began in St. Louis in 1803.  The Corps of Discovery proceeded northwest traveling mostly by river.  Today people follow the trail that Lewis and Clark once paved into uncharted territory.

Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Jefferson's Vision

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Thomas Jefferson had many purposes in mind when he commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Places of interest identified by Lewis and Clark became military and trading posts in future years.  Additionally, many new species of plants and animals were identified.  William Clark also produced one of the earliest maps of this region.

Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Lewis, Clark and the Native People

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During the Lewis and Clark Expedition the Corps of Discovery met many native peoples. As winter was nearing in 1804 Lewis and Clark were traveling northward on the Missouri River toward the Mandan and Hidatsa villages at the confluence of the Knife and Missouri Rivers.

Scandinavian Traditions | Lutefisk

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Traditional food and cooking methods is one way that North Dakotans celebrate their Scandinavian heritage and find part of their own identity in their ethnic background. “No tree grows strong by cutting off its roots.” Understanding where we come from helps us know who we are. North Dakota’s largest demographic is people of Scandinavian descent. Many people in North Dakota are aware of their roots, know who they are, and take an active role in keeping those traditions alive.