“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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North Dakota Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 26, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 North Dakota ranks 62nd among states and provinces with markers in this database. North Dakota is a state in the United States of America located in the American Midwest. It is also in the Upper Plains region. North Dakota is some 71 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 762 thousand people. The state is divided into 53 counties and 19 of them have entries in this database. In North Dakota we have discovered historical markers in 26 cities and towns lying in 27 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in North Dakota? There are least 157 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 152 historical markers and two war memorialsóeach individually presented on 153 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another five historical markers in North Dakota that we donít yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first North Dakota marker in the database, North Dakota Badlands, was added January 19, 2008. It was photographed in Medora in Billings County. The last one added was submitted on December 5, 2019, and titled Stepping "Off the Map" in the Louisiana Territory. It is near Williston in Williams County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in North Dakota was erected in 1907. It was this one: Alton Klaus, and one of our correspondents found it in Jamestown in Stutsman County on January 14, 2018.

North Dakota Historical Categories
26 • Forts or Castles
23 • Industry and Commerce
23 • Settlements and Settlers
17 • Native Americans
14 • Waterways and Vessels
14 • Exploration
13 • Natural Features
13 • Indian Wars
12 • Animals
8 • Environment
    ... and more ...

North Dakotans donít want to forget their Forts or Castles history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from North Dakota about Forts or Castlesó26 of themóthan about any other historical category. It is followed by Industry and Commerce with 23 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Forts or Castles category was Fort Clark Historic Site, added July 20, 2010. It had been erected in 1975 near Fort Clark in Mercer County. The last one submitted was submitted on December 4, 2019, and titled Front Gate. It had been erected near Williston in Williams County. The earliest marker erected with the Forts or Castles category that we have listed was erected in 1929. It is Fort William H. Seward, found in Jamestown in Stutsman County on January 14, 2018.

What is the most interesting historical marker in North Dakota? What we know is that North Dakota Badlands is the most viewed entry in the database from North Dakota since it was added in 2008. This year so far, the most viewed North Dakotan entry is located in LaMoure in LaMoure County. It is Steamboats on the River.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The North Dakota county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Billings County, with 47 of them. It is followed by Williams County with 36 markers. The Medora area of Billings County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 47. In Williams County the area with the most markers, 36, is Williston.

Historical Markers in These
North Dakota Counties
47 • Billings County
36 • Williams County
12 • McKenzie County
10 • Stutsman County
8 • Burleigh County
8 • Stark County
6 • Cass County
6 • LaMoure County
4 • Dickey County
3 • Adams County
    ... and more ...

Checking the database for the city or town in North Dakota with the most markers we again find Medora at the top of the list with 47 markers in or near it. And Williston also shows up again in next place, with 36 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers itís 58645 at the top of the list with 47 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 58645 is assigned to Medora ND.) It is followed by ZIP Code 58801 with 36 markers. (58801 is assigned to Williston ND including the Bonetraill, Buford, and Round Prairie delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
North Dakota Cities and Towns
47 • Medora
36 • Williston
12 • Watford City
10 • Jamestown
8 • Belfield
7 • Bismarck
5 • LaMoure
4 • Fargo
3 • Hettinger
3 • Oakes
    ... and more ...

Getting back to Billings County, the first marker added to the database from there, North Dakota Badlands, was added January 19, 2008, and was also the first one submitted in all of North Dakota. in Medora. The last one submitted was uploaded on December 15, 2017, and is titled Custer Trail, in Medora.

Latest entry from North Dakota. Click to go there
By Barry Swackhamer, August 16, 2019
Latest Entry from North Dakota
“Stepping "Off the Map" in the Louisiana Territory”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Williston. The first: Outpost on the Missouri, was added December 23, 2012. The last: Stepping "Off the Map" in the Louisiana Territory added on December 5, 2019.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The State Historical Society of North Dakota is currently in charge of official historical markers found all over the state and the North Dakota Department of Transportation typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. They erected their first marker in 2016, and we have 25 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from North Dakota. Click to go there
By Jerry Klinger, May 21, 2017
A State Historical Society of North Dakota Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

Youíll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of North Dakota have been marked with history. Check out Pierce County, McLean County and Barnes County. We've only found one historical marker in each. Visiting one or more of these parts of North Dakota might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe youíll discover more historical markers while youíre there. If you do, perhaps youíll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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