Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Middle (X) - Prairie Public (X) - Science and Technology (X) - World History (X)

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 | 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 | Barnstorming

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Learn about early airplanes, and how they were a novelty and flying a source of entertainment for bystanders, but quickly became essential in the transportation of passengers and goods.

Solve a Problem | Steamboats on the Red

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Learn how the biggest hurdle in establishing a water route for trade was how to get a steamboat across the prairie from St. Paul to the Red River in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The solution: a contest proposed by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce with a cash prize to the first person to get a steamboat launched and operational.

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

Old Red Trail | Birth of the Interstate

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Crossing the United States before the federal highway system was in place was very difficult.  Future President Dwight Eisenhower traveled in a military expedition from Maryland to California in 1919 and took that experience with him to the White House.  He signed the Federal Highway Act in 1956, which resulted in the opening of the first part of Interstate 94 in October of 1958 between Valley City and Jamestown.  The video clip also includes discussion of how the interstate highway project was funded, its value in national defense, and secondary road improvement projects.