Posted 11/02/11 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
On Nov. 2, 1889, North Dakota became the 39th state to be admitted into the United States of America. In honor of this state’s admittance into the Union, I thought that I’d share with you some interesting facts and tidbits of information about the state that we call home.
Did you know these facts about North Dakota?
1. North Dakota passed a bill in 1987 making English the official state language.
2. 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.
3. Milk is the official state beverage.
4. 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 Dakota.
5. When Dakota Territory was created in 1861 it was named for the Dakota Indian tribe. Dakota is a Sioux word meaning friends or allies.
6. The Dakota Gasification Company in Beulah is the nation’s only synthetic natural gas producer.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. One of the state’s nicknames, “The Roughrider State” originated in a state-supported tourism promotion of the 1960s and 1970s. It refers to the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry that Theodore Roosevelt organized to fight in the Spanish-American War.
10. The North Dakota State University Research Experiment Station in Hettinger is the largest state-owned sheep research center in the United States.
11. 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.
12. Jamestown is the home to the world’s largest buffalo monument. The structure is 26 feet high, 46 feet long, and weighs 60 ton.
13. North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state.
14. Chartered in 1884, Jamestown College is the oldest independent college in the state.
15. 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.
16. 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 burrow.
17. The Killdeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo is North Dakota’s oldest PRCA rodeo.
18. Theodore Roosevelt, who would become the 26th President of the United States, 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.
19. 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.
20. The Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered its first grizzly (brown) bears in North Dakota.
21. 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.