Social Studies

Computer Science (X) - Social Studies (X) - High (X) - Prairie Public (X) - U.S. History (X)

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.

Red River Land | History of Travel | The Automobile

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At first people in the Red River Valley thought that automobiles were a nuisance that scared horses, but as automobiles became cheaper people began to trade in their carts and carriages for cars.  The gasoline engine resulted in big changes, and automobiles began realizing their full potential when a suitable network of roads was built in North Dakota. Electric streetcars and motorized busses provided city transit.

Red River Land | History of Travel | Wheels and Boats

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The first method of transportation in the Red River Valley that used wheels was the “Red River cart.”  These were built by the Métis people, who were both Chippewa and French. Covered wagons and stagecoaches followed.  River travel included steamboats and barges.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Kathleen Enders

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Learn why Kathleen Enders of Tioga, North Dakota, views all the change in her small town as an exciting opportunity for Tioga to grow. “Our town would die and become a ghost town if we didn’t have the change.”

Prairie Places | Early Autos

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Learn about the history of early automobile manufacturers in North Dakota and the men who built them. The vehicles in early days were built by individuals between 1899 and 1910.

Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota | Jay Cooke State Park

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Learn how Civilian Conservation Corps built the Swinging Bridge in Jay Cooke State Park, Minnesota.

Red River Land | History of Travel | Getting to the Homestead

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Homesteaders could take a train part of the way to homestead in the Red River Valley, but after they got off the train, they had to find a way to get to unclaimed land.  These settlers used a variety of methods of transportation from walking to bicycles to wagons to steamboats, and, finally, on their farms, steam-powered tractors.

Fort Buford: Splendid Isolation | Part 1

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Isolated in the Midwestern prairie in Dakota Territory, Fort Buford served as a supply and trading post for the U.S. Army at the confluence of two major upper plains rivers. Rivers were a primary means of transportation at the time, enabling Fort Buford to serve as a supply post during the Great Sioux War.

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