North Dakota July 28, 2018
7 Moments Everyone Born In North Dakota Will Always Remember
North Dakota’s history, from its statehood to today, is filled to the brim with stories. Triumphs, heartbreak, accomplishments and failures – and they all have helped shape and form the state and people within it. There are some of these moments that stand out to us, ones that were so impactful or notorious that we’ll never forget them. If you’re a North Dakotan, you’ll probably recognize every one of these seven moments whether you were there for them or not. They will be immortalized in the state’s history!
1. The 1957 Fargo Tornado
This was one of the worst tornados in North Dakota history. It touched down on June 20, 1957 and caused massive destruction of over one thousand homes as well as 12 deaths. It was also the very first tornado to be classified as an F5 on the then-new Fujita scale, the most widely used scale to classify tornados today. The photograph above of the tornado was taken by Mr. Fujita - the man who developed the scale - himself.
2. North Dakota's own Roger Maris breaking Babe Ruth's season home run record in 1961
The "home run king," Roger Maris, grew up in North Dakota's biggest city, Fargo. He played baseball for numerous MLB teams but played for the New York Yankees the longest. In the 1961 season, he beat Babe Ruth's home run record of 60 home runs in a single season with 61. Needless to say, North Dakotans were ecstatic when he did it, and there are still plenty of things commemorating him and his achievements in the state. You can visit the Roger Maris museum in Fargo's West Acres Mall, for example. Truly a legend!
3. The worst blizzard of North Dakota's history in 1966
North Dakota has had its fair share of harsh winters and nasty blizzards, but none surpass the blizzard of 1966. The photo above has become almost iconic and shows just how devastating it was, with a man standing on top of the huge snow drifts that had nearly covered the utility poles in March of that year.
4. The Zip to Zap in 1969
Zap, North Dakota is a quiet small town that became anything but in spring of 1969. During college spring break, what was supposed to be a small gathering of students called "Zip to Zap" for fun ended up gathering thousands instead. What ensued was a lot of alcohol consumption, fights, disgruntlement from the town's residents, and resulted in North Dakota's one and only riot that had to be dismantled by the National Guard.
5. The Medina Standoff and Shootout in 1983
Many remember the tense yet quick shootout that took place in Medina, North Dakota between Gordon Kahl, a tax protestor who had violated his probation, and US Federal marshals. What resulted was the death of two marshals and the escape of Kahl. He stole a police car and was able to get away, only to be killed in a shootout four months later in Arkansas.
6. The 1997 Red River Flood
Some of the most historic flooding in North Dakota occurred in the spring of 1997 in the Red River Valley. Cities like Grand Forks were mass evacuated after dikes failed and flood waters went up to 3 miles inland. It was the worst flooding the Red River had seen for over a century, and one that will never be forgotten.
7. The 2011 Souris River Flood
Though the 1997 flooding of the Red River is still pretty fresh in our memories, there is none more fresh and unfortunate than the 2011 flooding of the Souris River. Thousands of homes were covered in many feet of flood waters and about 11,000 residents of Minot, North Dakota, which lies along the Souris or Mouse River, had to be evacuated that June. This was a record breaking flood that will certainly not soon be forgotten.
What are some moments of North Dakota’s history that you’ll never forget? How many of these do you remember or know about? This state’s history has, luckily, been widely captured by photographs and video. Even though we can’t go back and view these pieces of time ourselves anymore, we can still see them through the lens. Check out
this fascinating video made over half a century ago right here in the Peace Garden State that gives you such a glimpse.