News from the State Historical Society of North Dakota
HISTORY FOR everyone.
"Baby, it's cold outside..."

North Dakotans are used to winter blizzards, though the weather service records indicate that only three or four severe blizzards occur in each decade. However, in light of the irregular precipitation of the northern Great Plains, residents have come to expect blizzards at any time between late October and late April.

There are many memorable blizzards. The January 12, 1888 blizzard destroyed what was left of the open range cattle industry in North Dakota and killed 112 people. The blizzard of March 15, 1941 came through quickly and with little warning. Thirty-nine people died, most of them trapped in their cars.

The blizzard of March 2-4, 1966 may have been the worst recorded storm to hit North Dakota because of its long stay across the state, snowfall accumulation, and high wind speeds.

See more blizzard photos from the collections of the State Archives at

Image: Cars parked in the Kirkwood Mall parking lot near Herberger's are covered in snow up to their windows during an April 1997 blizzard.
The Story of Hazel Miner

On March 15, 1920, a blizzard blew into Oliver County.

It was a Monday, and many children were at school when the blizzard struck. At the town of Center, three children of William and Blanche Miner were at school two and one-half miles from their farm home. The oldest of the Miner children was Hazel, age 15. Her younger brother Emmet, 11, and sister Myrdith, 9, were also in school that day.

Hazel had driven her brother and sister to school in a sleigh that day, as she did on most snowy days. When the storm hit, the temperature was about 15 degrees above zero. The wind blew the snow, and very soon blowing snow blinded everyone who was outdoors.

Read the rest of the story at (Scroll  through additional blizzard stories to find Hazel's story about two-thirds down the page.)

Image: Hazel Miner lost her life in a blizzard. She protected her younger brother and sister from the cold and snow until they were found after a search of 24 hours.

Premiere of "Victoria" on Masterpiece

The public can be among the first to see the first episode of Prairie Public Television’s (PPT) new drama, “Victoria,” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, Bismarck. The series will premiere on PPT on Sunday, Jan. 15. Learn more here.

Green Revolution Recycled Art: Creating a Collagraph

In this three-session course participants will use repurposed items to create a textured printing plate, make a print, and complete an original piece of art. $10 course fee. Register at
Jan. 14 -  Design and create printing plate 
Jan. 21 -  Ink the plate and print
Jan. 28 -  Cut and assemble the collagraph

 Learn more at

Remembering Nishu: A Collaborative Oral History Project

If you were to look at a map of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation with Arikara elders living in White Shield (North Dakota) today, they would tell you where they used to live.

They would point to where their houses were, their relatives’ houses, their school, and the berry patches they walked to with their grandmothers. They would point to the churches, roads, and cemeteries, and the gardens they had to weed in the morning before they could play with their friends. They would describe these in astonishing detail.

And this would be all the more astonishing because they would be pointing to the middle of the nearly 200-mile-long Lake Sakakawea. Nishu, the home they describe, has been under water since 1954.

Read the rest of this blog post here.
  Fire destroys ND State Capitol

On December 28, 1930, the original North Dakota State Capitol went up in flames. After the fire, government departments moved to the Liberty Memorial Building on the Capitol Grounds or to various other buildings in Bismarck. The current capitol building was completed in 1934.

Watch film footage of the original State Capitol burning at


The State Historical Society of North Dakota oversees the State Museum, the Pembina State Museum, and 56 historic sites. Our mission is “to preserve, interpret, and promote the heritage of North Dakota and its people.”

Copyright © 2017 State Historical Society of North Dakota, All rights reserved.

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