Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Prairie Public (X) - Human ecology (X) - Economics (X)

Old to New: Remodel, Restore, Revitalize | Grand Forks

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Like many cities, Grand Forks had seen a decline in activity and economic development in its downtown area during the 1960s and 1970s which was escalated by the devastating flood of 1997. Federal assistance and local restoration projects have revitalized the area by rehabilitating the buildings that could be saved.

For decades, “downtown” was the hub of the economic and social lives of rural residents across North Dakota. But today, these same downtowns are struggling to maintain their vitality. Seeking to reverse years of decline, visionaries are taking steps to revitalize their communities by rehabilitating old buildings and putting them to new uses, helping small towns preserve their identity and quality of life. Old To New: Remodel, Restore, Revitalize showcases some of the new ideas being implemented today and their implications for community leaders. As one rehab leader said, “Nothing’s ever going to be 200 years old, if you don’t let it get to be 100 years old.”

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.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Howard Klug (Changes)

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Hear Howard Klug who speaks about the patience of his regular customers at the café and restaurant at El Rancho Hotel: the customers might have to wait to be seated and now feel rushed to finish because there is a line out the door.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Howard Klug (Future)

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Learn about Howard Klug, a Williston city commissioner and local business owner, who understands that some people think that people in the oil patch should have known the boom was coming, but he disagrees. The magnitude was unexpected, and he predicts that there will be more wells in the future. This boom won’t be over for quite awhile.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Pudge Brewster

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Learn about Pudge Brewster who moved to North Dakota after working an oil boom in Colorado. His company began by hauling equipment to the Williston area and has since contracted with companies to haul gravel.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Triple R Transport

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Hear the owners of Triple R Transport of Williston who have found that working within city ordinances to rezone land for their business can be frustrating and time consuming. Prior to obtaining the correct permits, they parked their trucks on their land and angered locals, but as one of the interviewees puts it, "Us being able to be here takes fifteen trucks out of the parking lot of the Wal-Mart."

Faces of the Oil Patch | Caleb Frye

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Caleb Frye of the Williams County Sheriff’s Department speaks about how his job has changed with the population growth in the oil patch.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Kasha Mason

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Learn about the typical housing arrangements for oil patch workers, as Kasha Mason of Mississippi explains why she prefers the term “lodge” to “man-camp” for the housing facility she runs, because of the controversy that has surfaced surrounding the multi-unit housing facilities.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Nathan Jermison (Growing Pains)

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Tioga mayor Nathan Jermison knows that the people and towns of northwestern North Dakota are hesitant to “stick their necks out for infrastructure needs” because they’ve been burned in the bust of the 80s.

New Cargo | Steamboats on the Red

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Learn how, beginning in the late 1880s and early 1900s, the cargo transported on the steamboats changed from buffalo robes and furs to hard spring wheat, in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. As a result, grain elevators were built along the banks of the river, and farmers were able to get their crops to market fairly quickly.

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.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Eric Spaulding

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“It's about trying to make as much money as you can while you’re up here,” said trucker Eric Spaulding of Indiana. He also explains how many hours a trucker can work in a day and discusses the consequences that lack of experience can cause.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Gary Koschmeder

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Learn about Gary Koschmeder, originally from Iowa, he is the general manager of the Cenex station in Stanley, North Dakota, which is now affectionately known as “Bakken Central.”

Faces of the Oil Patch | Glenda Baker Embry (Bust)

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Students will learn about the oil industry that has created a wealth of high-paying jobs in western North Dakota, but that has caused problems for local business owners: a lack of employees.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Kirk Carmody

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Learn about Kirk Carmody who works in the oil fields five days a week and sells trucks on Saturdays at the Williston Ford dealership. He notes that nearly every business in Williston has a ‘help wanted’ sign in the window, but there isn’t anybody to work non-oilfield jobs.

Faces of the Oil Patch | Nathan Jermison (Tioga)

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"This oil industry is running 250 miles per hour, and all the towns around us are running about 25,"explains Tioga, North Dakota, mayor Nathan Jermison. The people of Tioga once wanted to attract people to the small town, but the oil industry has brought too many too quickly, causing a strain on utilities and services.

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