North Dakota

North Dakota does not usually come to the forefront when thinking about US states, but it can be associated with plenty of notable people. The Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the overland route to the Pacific, the ill-fated Colonel George Custer,  Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa Sioux and President Theodore Roosevelt. These are just a few of the famous names from the history of North Dakota.

Interior of Earth Lodge, Knife River Indian Villages, ND, USA


The world's largest Buffalo, National Buffalo Museum

It certainly is huge - you can walk right underneath it. But has nobody told the North Dakotans that Buffaloes are made from flesh and blood rather than concrete and fibreglass? This man-made giant was built in 1959 and it is owned by the National Buffalo Museum which maintains a live bison herd and helps to promote the bison industry. The National Buffalo Museum also has a village of buildings from the frontier era, which was, of course, the era when the bison were all but eradicated from the USA. It is not the original village of Jamestown, most of the buildings were moved here from other locations. Click Tab 2 to see the Frontier Village.

The world's largest Buffalo, Jamestown Frontier Village, ND, USA

Badlands Overlook, Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Seemingly inhospitable and difficult to traverse, the early explorers dubbed areas like this ‘badlands’. In reality they are home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Theodore Roosevelt came here in 1883 to shoot bison, and liked the area so much that he started a ranch. The National Park that preserves the Badlands has been named after him.

Custer's House, Fort Abraham Lincoln, ND, USA

Interior of Earth Lodge, Knife River Indian Villages

The popular view of the indian tribes is of nomadic hunters of buffalo, but in reality many tribes lived in permanent villages and were both hunters and farmers. Knife River Indian Villages shows how the local Indians lived when European settlers arrived. This is the interior of a reconstruction of an Earth Lodge used by the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians. 

N Dakota Badlands Overlook, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND, USA

Custer's House, Fort Abraham Lincoln

Colonel George Armstrong Custer - everyone has heard of him, but was he brave or was he foolhardy in his confrontation with the Lakota Sioux at Little Bighorn? If you are following the Wild West Trail you will find out more by continuing along it. It was from Fort Abraham Lincoln in 1876 that Custer and the 7th Cavalry rode out for their ill-fated encounter. Custer’s House was later demolished, but this is an accurate reconstruction built in 1988. Click Tab 2 to see an Infantry Post at Fort Abraham Lincoln.

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St John's Church, Bonanzaville, Fargo

Fargo sits on the border with Minnesota and it was our introduction to North Dakota. Bonanzaville is a pioneer village and museum set up to display and interpret historical artefacts from Cass County and the Red River Valley. St John’s Church was built in 1898 near Horace in North Dakota and remained there until 1967 when it was relocated to Bonanzaville. The church contains many original furnishings and is still used for weddings. In addition to the pioneer village, Bonanzaville has numerous specialist museums including car, air, tractor and horse-drawn vehicle museums.  



- North Dakota has a reputation in the USA for being remote, rural and even rather backward. We didn’t get that impression, indeed we rather liked it.
- Zealous enforcement of speed limits which causes horrendous bunching of traffic on the freeways. It can be quite frightening being trapped inside a stream of traffic trying to overtake you at little more than the speed at which you are travelling.
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 St John's Curch, Bonanzaville, Fargo, ND, USA


© Mike  Elsden 1981 - 2023

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