“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

North Dakota Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 18, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 North Dakota ranks 58th 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 24 of them have entries in this database. In North Dakota we have discovered historical markers in 44 cities and towns lying in 44 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 280 historical markers in North Dakota, by our count. We have cataloged 273 historical markers and five war memorials—each individually presented on 274 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another seven historical markers in North Dakota that we don’t 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 January 11, 2021, and titled Final Occupation of Double Ditch. It is near Bismarck in Burleigh 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 Topics
71 • Native Americans
53 • Forts or Castles
36 • Industry and Commerce
34 • Settlements and Settlers
28 • Anthropology and Archaeology
25 • Exploration
21 • Waterways and Vessels
19 • Railroads and Streetcars
18 • Indian Wars
17 • Natural Features
    ... and others ...

North Dakotans don’t want to forget their Native Americans history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from North Dakota about Native Americans—71 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Forts or Castles with 53 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Native Americans topic was Fort Dilts Historic Site, added July 18, 2010. It had been erected in 1952 near Rhame in Bowman County. The last one submitted also was submitted on January 11, 2021, and titled Final Occupation of Double Ditch. It had been erected near Bismarck in Burleigh County. The earliest marker erected with the Native Americans topic that we have listed was erected in 1952. It is Fort Dilts Historic Site, was found near Rhame in Bowman County on July 18, 2010.

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 Final Occupation of Double Ditch.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The North Dakota county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Billings County, with 49 of them. It is followed by Burleigh County with 39 markers. The Medora area of Billings County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 49. In Burleigh County the area with the most markers, 32, is Bismarck.

Historical Markers in These
North Dakota Counties
49 • Billings County
39 • Burleigh County
36 • Williams County
29 • Mercer County
24 • Morton County
20 • McKenzie County
16 • Stutsman County
10 • McLean County
9 • Stark County
6 • Lamoure County
    ... and others ...

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 49 markers in or near it. It is followed by Williston in Williams County with 36 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 58645 at the top of the list with 49 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
49 • Medora
36 • Williston
32 • Bismarck
28 • Stanton
14 • Mandan
13 • Watford City
11 • Jamestown
8 • Belfield
7 • Menoken
7 • Washburn
    ... and others ...

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 August 18, 2020, and is titled Historic Medora—Boom and Bust, in Medora.

Latest entry from North Dakota. Click to go there
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
Latest Entry from North Dakota
“Final Occupation of Double Ditch”

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 85 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

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of North Dakota have been marked with history. Check out Sheridan County, Richland County and Pierce 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 you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll 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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Jan. 18, 2021