If you haven’t always lived in North Dakota, before you moved here you probably had no idea these places existed. They’re a little quirky and certainly bring out some of the more strange yet interesting characteristics of our state. Whether you have heard about them or not, they are truly fascinating in their own, sometimes weird, ways!
1. Ringling Circus Monument - Wahpeton
What looks like a broken wooden pole is actually a granite statue based off of a wooden pole that stood here over a century ago. This monument was created to commemorate a rather gruesome, unfortunate story that happened in 1897 when the famous Ringling Brothers Circus came to Wahpeton, ND. As the circus crew was setting up the center pole for the tent, a storm was brewing. Faster than anyone could blink, lightning struck the pole and instantly killed two workers and injured three others, including a foreman who died from his injuries later. The circus went on in spite of this, though the bad weather persisted and ruined other parts of the show. Now only this monument remains in a cemetery near the town.
2. Paul Broste Rock Museum - Parshall
Whether you like rocks and minerals or not, this museum is pretty out of this world. It sits on a hill and looks like a small castle, made entirely from stones found in the area. Inside are rocks of all shapes and sizes, and some that are extremely rare. There are samples of rocks in this museum that cannot be found pretty much anywhere else in the world, yet most people have never even heard of this place!
3. Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex - Nekoma
More commonly dubbed as simply the Pyramid of North Dakota, this unusual site easily confuses anyone who passes by without knowing what it is. This huge concrete pyramid out on the plains sits vacant and empty. Even its story is befuddling: only three days after this rather expensive military project was completed, it was shut down. It still stands decades later and probably will for decades more despite being widely unknown and never used.
4. The Wood Chipper - Fargo
This one is a bit different from the rest. A lot of people do know about the wood chipper - anyone who has seen the movie
Fargo remembers that famous scene - but how many people know the real wood chipper that was used on set is actually at the Visitor Center in the very city the movie got its name from? You can even go and get your picture taken with it while pushing a fake leg prop into it! Even though that part (and a majority) of the movie didn't take place in Fargo, we still managed to get this prop to ourselves.
5. Minuteman Missile Site - Cooperstown
North Dakota has another defunct military site, the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site near Cooperstown. Unlike the pyramid mentioned earlier, you can actually explore this one and take a tour of the facilities. At one point, this site could have possibly changed the course of history. Luckily, it was never utilized but it was in operation over the course of some years.
6. National Buffalo Museum's White Bison - Jamestown
Though the buffalo museum's most famous resident, the albino bison White Cloud, passed away of old age late last year, the herd at the museum is still not without rare white bison. White Cloud passed down her unusual coloring to calves that passed it down to their calves, too. One of these that still resides at the museum is Dakota Miracle.
7. W'eel Turtle - Dunseith
Many North Dakotans know we have a few giant animal statues in various locations across the state, but this guy is a little different from the rest. It is made entirely from tire rims to form the shape of a turtle. The W'eel Turtle greets people who enter Dunseith, which is also the location of the International Peace Garden on the North Dakota-Canadian border. It is way bigger than you'd think and many people don't even know it is there before they visit. It is one of the largest structures made from the material and certainly makes the town it's in unique.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.