9 Interesting Facts About North Dakota
North Dakota is home to around 760,000 residents which makes it one of the least-populated states in the entire country. However, North Dakota is a state with a lot of history, culture and flavor that’s worth talking about and sharing with others. With that in mind, here are some facts about the 17th largest state in the union – and one of the Midwest’s most colorful states!
1. North Dakota Has Half a Dozen Nicknames
Whether or not you know North Dakota as the Peace Garden State, you might be surprised that North Dakota also has five other nicknames it’s known by! Aside from the nickname it shares with Manitoba, Canada, thanks to the International Peace Garden, North Dakota is also called the Land of the Dakotas, The Sioux State and The Great Central State.
Thanks to the abundance of Richardson ground squirrels throughout the state, North Dakota has also gained the expressive nickname of the Flickertail State. However, quite the opposite vibe is the no-nonsense nickname of Roughrider State. Don’t be fooled, though, as it didn’t come from anything harmful or illegal activity. Former President Theodore Roosevelt had a cattle ranching business in the state and the nickname is a reference to it. Mr. Roosevelt was also fond of North Dakota and visited it often.
2. The First Mosque in the Country Was Built In North Dakota
North Dakota is home to people that come from many ethnic groups. During the early 1800s and 1900s, Scandinavians and Germans from Russia flocked to the state. However, there were also Syrians who ended up as North Dakotans during this time period. Because of this, an area near Ross in Mountrail County became the birthplace to the first mosque in the United States. Today, it is honored with the name that can never be taken away from it historically – The First Mosque in America.
3. There’s a Pyramid
While most people may associate the Pyramids with Egypt (and rightfully so), North Dakota is actually home to its own Pyramid as well! Located in Nekoma, this pyramid was a radar system that was also home to numerous missile silos. The construction of this pyramid cost around six billion dollars at the time. Nowadays, it is unused due to the closeness of the structure to Canada, but the pyramid is still standing – and viewable for tourists and North Dakotans look alike – as a part of the state’s history. Plans are now in place to transform this relic of the Cold War into a data processing center under the watchful eye of Bitzero Blockchain Inc.
4. North Dakota Has a Solar Calendar
North Dakota is also home to the beautifully-named, mysterious-looking Mystical Horizons, which is a fully functional solar calendar near Botttineau and overlooking the prairie farmlands. It can predict astronomical events quite accurately, and visually, one might see the Horizons’ resemblance to England’s famous Stonehenge.
5. North Dakota Was Either the 39th or 40th State Admitted to the Union
In quite a fun fact, then-President Benjamin Harrison signed the document to admit both North and South Dakota into the US in 1889 and never told anyone which one he signed first. Fortunately, this did not cause any friction between the two Dakotas and as a result, North Dakota is recognized as the thirty-ninth to be admitted to the union, but only on a technicality. This is because N comes before the letter S on the alphabet. However, there’s actually a big possibility it’s actually the fortieth!
6. The Clothes Dryer Was Invented in North Dakota
The clothes dryer has been an ever-important invention in the modern world and we can all thank a North Dakotan for coming up with the efficient appliance! During the cold winter months, it’s no secret that drying clothes by hanging them outside makes for quite an inconvenience. A man named J. Ross Moore had enough of said inconvenience and thus, he dedicated three decades of his life to making the clothes dryer. Eventually, a company in Wisconsin named Hamilton Manufacturing took a gamble on his drum-like invention and it paid off. Now around 80 years removed from the dryer’s first mass-production, it’s become an irreplaceable invention for not just many American homes but for families around the world, too!
7. North Dakota is Home to Many Famous Folks
Some of the biggest celebrities are from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other exciting places. However, you might be surprised to know that North Dakota is home to many famous folks as well, such as:
- Baseball player Roger Maris (grew up in Grand Forks)
- NBA player and coach Phil Jackson (attended school in Williston)
- Author Louis L’Amour (born in Jamestown)
- Singer Bobby Vee (born in Fargo)
- Actress Angie Dickinson (born in Kulm)
- Boxer Virgil Hill (grew up in Grand Forks and Williston)
- Entertainer Lawrence Welk (born in Strasburg)
- Singer Peggy Lee (born in Jamestown)
- Actor Sam Anderson (born in Wahpeton)
- Guitarist Shannon Curfman (born in Fargo)
- Actor Josh Duhamel (born and raised in Minot)
- Baseball player Darin Erstad (born and raised in Jamestown)
- Musician Johnny Lang (grew up in Fargo)
- Poet Larry Woiwode (born in Carrington and lived in Mott)
- NHL player Cliff “Fido” Purpur (born in Grand Forks, where he also coached hockey)
- Quarterback Carson Wentz (raised in Bismarck)
- Actress Leslie Bibb (born in Bismarck)
- Professional poker player Greg Raymer (born in Minot)
- Baseball player Chris Coste (born and raised in Fargo)
- Actor Kellan Lutz (born in Dickinson)
- Astronaut James Buchli (born in New Rockford)
This list of famous North Dakotans would not be complete without mentioning beauty pageant contestant, Cara Mund from Bismarck. In 2018, Mund was the first North Dakotan to be crowned Miss America.
8. North Dakota Is Home to an Enchanted Castle
Don’t let your eyes deceive you! An Enchanted Highway leads to Regent, North Dakota where travelers can stay in a 23-room Enchanted Castle. Once the town’s elementary school, artist Gary Greff transformed it into quite the spectacle. Mr. Greff has had history with North Dakota when it came to construction as back in 1991, Greff began welding giant metal sculptures to line the newly paved road off I-94’s Exit 72. Since then, he’s completed 8 scenes from Gladstone to Regent. The most recent is a Dragon and Knight.
9. North Dakota IS Home to National Day Calendar
The Sioux State is home to the home of National Day Calendar! Your source for all things holiday-themed throughout every day of the year calls North Dakota home, with its headquarters located right in Mandan. If you’re near the area, come on down to the HQ and Celebrate Every Day with Cal and the rest of the team!