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Bismarck: History

Bismarck: History

Crossing on the Missouri Exploited by Indians, Whites

Long before white settlement of the Northern Plains began, a natural ford on the site of present-day Bismarck was known to Plains Indian tribes as one of the narrowest and least dangerous crossings on the Missouri River. Stone tools and weapons found in the vicinity indicate that the area was used thousands of years ago by prehistoric big-game hunting tribes. By the time white explorers arrived in the 1700s, those tribes had been displaced by the Mandan and Hidatsa peoples. Unlike nomadic Plains tribes, the Mandan and Hidatsa built fortified towns, raised cultivated plants in settled communities in and around present-day Bismarck, and developed a thriving Northern Plains trading hub.

The Mandan were among the first people on the Plains to be contacted by whites, and relations between them were generally friendly. The first recorded visitor was French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Lord de La Verendrye, who discovered Mandan earthen lodges in present-day Bismarck in 1738 while searching for a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Most subsequent contact was with Canadian fur traders, until Lewis and Clark camped with the Mandan in 1804-1805. In the 1820s and 1830s, American traders out of St. Louis, Missouri, began to ply the Missouri River in steamboats and an outpost of the American Fur Company was established near Bismarck. Contact with white traders and white diseases proved nearly fatal to the Mandan; in 1837, the tribe was virtually destroyed by smallpox. By that time, a small white settlement had been established at present-day Bismarck called Crossing on the Missouri, and it thrived in a small way as a port for steamboats carrying military troops and supplies to forts and Indian agencies in the Missouri River basin.

Dakota Territory Opened; Railroad and Gold Spur Settlement

The U.S. Congress organized the Dakota Territory in 1861 (originally consisting of the two present-day Dakotas plus parts of Montana and Wyoming), but white settlement did not begin in earnest until the indigenous tribes had been expelled. In 1871-1872, squatters who anticipated the arrival of Northern Pacific Railway tracks settled at the Crossing on the Missouri. In 1872, Camp Greeley (later Camp Hancock), a military post, was established nearby to protect the railroad crews, and in June 1873, the railroad reached the crossing. It carried printing presses for the Bismarck Tribune, which published its first edition in July 1873; today it is North Dakota's oldest newspaper still publishing. The paper scored its greatest scoop when it was first to publish the story of Custer's last stand at the Little Big Horn in Montana in 1876. Bismarck mourned the loss of Custer and his men, who often left their post at nearby Fort Abraham Lincoln to join in the social life of the town. (In 1881 Mandan, Bismarck's sister city, was established across the Missouri River just north of Fort Lincoln.)

In 1873, the settlement was renamed Bismarck in honor of the first chancellor of the German Empire. Germans had previously invested in American railroads, and it was hoped that Germany would invest in the financially ailing Northern Pacific. Bismarck's first church service was organized in 1873 by distinguished citizen, author, and suffragette Mrs. Linda Warfel Slaughter, who also started the first school, became the first county school superintendent, and organized the Ladies Historical Society. In her book The New Northwest, Mrs. Slaughter estimated the 1874 population of Bismarck at 1,200 people. Bismarck was incorporated in 1875 and began to grow as a steamboat port and, until 1879, as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway. The town attracted rivermen and wood choppers, who supplied personnel and fuel needs for riverboats.

Life in the little town was rugged. River traffic closed in the winter because of low water, and the railroad discontinued operating out of Fargo, North Dakota, into Bismarck until spring, when Bismarck residents might look forward to the flooding of the river. Fires were frequent, thanks to poorly constructed, flimsy homes, tents, and rough wooden buildings lit by kerosene lamps.

In 1874, gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Bismarck experienced its first boom as gold seekers poured in to outfit themselves for the 200-mile trip to Deadwood, South Dakota. Some stayed to take advantage of new business opportunities.

As railroad tracks were laid across America, word spread to the East and to Europe of the rich land of the Plains, suitable for growing wheat and grazing livestock. Men and women came to break the virgin soil and to build sod houses, barns, frame houses, and windmills. Those who settled around Bismarck suffered considerably when the Missouri River flooded in 1881; livestock drowned, homes were destroyed, and wildlife were carried down the river on ice floes. Bismarck residents who lived on higher ground were more fortunate. In 1882, Northern Pacific built a bridge across the Missouri River at Bismarck. While the trains would no longer have to cross the river on barges in the summer and on tracks laid over the ice in the winter, the event marked the end of Bismarck's prominent position as a center for railroad freight transfers.

City Becomes Center for Dakota Government

In 1882 Bismarck replaced Yankton, South Dakota, as the capital of the Dakota Territory, and a second boom began. The price of land skyrocketed, and everyone believed that Bismarck was on its way to becoming a major population center. It was with high hopes that the cornerstone of the capitol building was laid in 1883 in a gala ceremony that included many prominent figures of the day. Some, such as ex-President U.S. Grant, were members of the Golden Spike Excursion, on their way west to mark the completion of the Northern Pacific Railway. Others present at the ceremony included U.S. congressmen, foreign noblemen, and the Sioux chief Sitting Bull. The high hopes did not pan out; Bismarck grew steadily but slowly as federal and state government offices located there and it became a center for shipping wheat to Minneapolis. Other businesses flourished, including flour mills, creameries, grain elevators, and the innovative Oscar H. Will Company, specialists in seed corn like that used by the Mandan Indians, as well as several varieties of hardy, drought-resistant plants.

When the Dakota Territory was divided and North and South Dakota entered the Union in 1889, Bismarck became the capitol of North Dakota. As the town developed politically, new buildings went up, including schools, churches, and frame houses to replace sod shanties. By 1890, 43 percent of the population was foreign-born, and mostly comprised of Russians, Germans, Norwegians, Canadians, English, Irish, and Swedes. In 1898 the Northern Pacific freight depot caught fire; the fire spread and destroyed most of downtown Bismarck. However, citizens rallied and the town was quickly rebuilt.

The population around Bismarck swelled in 1903 when thousands of German farmers moved from Wisconsin and began producing dairy products, wool, honey, and corn, all of which were shipped out of Bismarck. In 1909 the Bureau of Indian Affairs opened an Indian boarding school in Bismarck. By 1910 the population had risen to 4,913 people; by 1920 the population was 7,122; and by 1930 it reached 11,090. The population increase was mostly due to farmers moving into town to retire or because they were looking for an education for their children. A drought and an invasion of hordes of grasshoppers in the 1930s destroyed wheat crops and brought home the need to diversify farming in the region.

In December 1930, with the Great Depression and the drought under way, the old capitol building burned down and talk turned to moving the capitol elsewhere. By a popular statewide vote in 1932, it was decided to keep Bismarck as the capitol. On October 8, 1932, the cornerstone was laid for a new statehouse.

Manmade Changes Usher in the Modern Era

Bismarck farmers and ranchers benefited from the 1947 construction of the Garrison Dam, 75 miles up the Missouri River, as spring flood danger was lessened, but the project remains controversial. Local Indian tribes claim that land was taken from them for the massive project, and environmentalists decry the loss of the natural shortgrass land and the flooding of countless acres of bottomland. The project was headquartered at Fort Lincoln, and attracted new residents to Bismarck. Sister projects the Heart Butte Dam and the Dickinson Dam opened up new recreational opportunities to Bismarckers. By 1950, 18,541 people called Bismarck home.

In 1951, oil was discovered near Tioga, North Dakota. Although it was flowing from wells 200 miles away, it led to the formation of state agencies and oil company offices in Bismarck, and the city became a center for oil leasing activities. Bismarck continued to cope with floods and droughts, but farms thrived because of improved farming methods. Bismarck's population soared to 27,670 people in 1960. During that decade, attention turned to soil and wildlife preservation and water conservation, and new office buildings, a junior college, a conservatory of music, and highways were constructed. Construction continued into the 1970s, when shopping centers and homes were built, and prospects for Bismarck's growth and prosperity looked bright.

Today Bismarck is the center of North Dakota state government and home to an impressive historical museum as well as several colleges, including a unique intertribal college owned and operated by five Native American tribes. A thriving medical, transportation and trade center, Bismarck boasts amenities typically found in much larger cities.

Famous or notorious former residents of Bismarck include poet James W. Foley, author of the official state song and several books including Prairie Breezes ; Alexander McKenzie, politician, friend of the railroads, and the man credited with moving the Dakota Territory capital to Bismarck; the French-born Marquis de Mores, who hoped to establish a huge meat packing industry in the Badlands, was tried three times in a sensational murder case and found not guilty, and who founded the town of Medora, North Dakota, named in honor of his wife; former President Theodore Roosevelt, who owned a cabin in town from 1883 to 1885 when he was a rancher in the Badlands; and General E.A. Williams, first representative from Burleigh County to the Territorial Assembly.

Historical Information: State Historical Society of North Dakota, State Archives & Historical Research Library, Heritage Center, Capitol Grounds, 612 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND, 58505-0830; telephone(701)328-2666, fax (701)328-3710

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Bismarck: Recreation

Bismarck: Recreation

Sightseeing

Visitors to the grounds of the North Dakota State Capitol, also known as the "Skyscraper on the Prairie," can tour the building and also enjoy the arboretum trail that winds among various state buildings, and features 75 species of trees, shrubs, and blooming flowers. Also on site is a statue of Sacajawea, the Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition through Bismarck. The statue of the guide was erected by the North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs in 1910. Nearby, the North Dakota Heritage Center, the most comprehensive of the state's museums, houses one of the largest collections of Plains Indian artifacts in the United States. Also open for tours is the Historic Governor's Mansion that served as the governor's residence from 1893 to 1960.

Docked at the historic Port of Bismarck, the Lewis & Clark riverboat offers paddlewheel cruises of the Missouri River. Open daily from April through September (and only weekends in the winter season), the Dakota Zoo is home to more than 125 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Camp Hancock State Historic Site includes an interpretive museum of military life and local history in its original log building, an early Northern Pacific Railroad locomotive, and Bismarck's first Episcopal church. Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site displays the ruins of a Mandan Indian earthlodge village inhabited from years A.D. 1500-1781. The restored Fort Lincoln Trolley offers a unique scenic rail trip from Bismarck to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

Fort Abraham Lincoln houses the reconstructed home of General George Custer. Visitors can view a staff performance set in Custer's time, visit the soldiers' central barracks, and shop at the commissary store. The hill above the fort provides panoramic views of the Missouri Valley. On-a-Slant Indian Village displays replicas of Indian earth lodges on the site of an ancient Mandan village. An on-site museum contains Native American and military artifacts. Visitors to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park can experience the Custer Trail Ride and explore the panoramic views from bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, 35 miles north of Bismarck in Washburn, provides a view of what life was like on the trail for the explorers, and features the world-famous artwork of Karl Bodmer, who chronicled Plains Indian life and local river landscapes.

North Bismarck's Gateway to Science offers hands-on exhibits that provide learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. The Railroad Museum, north of nearby Mandan, has on view handmade models, photographs, and uniforms, and offers miniature train rides. Located just a few miles east of Bismarck, Buckstop Junction contains reconstructed buildings that date back to the 1800s and early 1990s. Visitors can tour a mining camp complete with a coal mine, gas shovel, scale house, and mine buildings.

Bismarck is about 130 miles east of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and is a stopping-off point for visitors to that monument to the 26th President of the United States.

Arts and Culture

A primary venue for the performing arts in Bismarck is the Belle Mehus Auditorium, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1914, the auditorium hosts performances of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Plains Ballet, one of the state's newest and fastest growing performing arts organizations.

Sleepy Hollow Summer Theatre offers live performances and classes. The Shade Tree Players is a children's theater group offering summer productions. The Bismarck/Mandan area is also home to the North Dakota Association of Dance and Drill and to the Dakota West Arts Council, the area's arts umbrella agency.

Arts and Culture Information: Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 2031, Bismarck, ND 58502; telephone (701)258-8345

Festivals and Holidays

September is a festive month in Bismarck. The city hosts one of the nation's largest Native American cultural eventsthe annual United Tribes International Pow Wow. More than 70 tribes are represented at this award-winning festival, which features 1,500 dancers and drummers and draws 30,000 spectators. Also in September is the Annual International Indian Art Expo, which highlights Native American artists and provides traditional song, music, dance, and storytelling. The Folkfest Celebration takes place over four days in September, with a parade, carnival, street fair, book festival, tractor pull, walking and running events, and plenty of food. Bismarck Marathon, North Dakota's only major marathon, is also held in September and attracts runners from around North America.

The highlight of October is the Edge of the West PRCA Rodeo, featuring the nation's toughest rough stock and champion cowboys. Month's end brings the Children's All-City Halloween Party. December begins with the annual Fantasy of Lights Parade, featuring lighted holiday floats. Sertoma Park is the site of the Christmas In The Park display of lighted trees. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park hosts Custer Christmas; guests can tour General Custer's home decorated for the holidays and celebrate the season with sleigh rides and a buffalo burger buffet.

July events include Frontier Army Days at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, featuring a look at the lives of the ladies of the frontier army, as re-enactors cook and launder and hold cavalry and artillery drills. The annual Mandan Rodeo Days celebration also takes place in July, with more than 100 artist booths, ethnic food, music, a carnival, and a petting zoo.

August is the month for the Bismarck Art & Galleries Association annual art fair on the State Capitol Grounds. Also in August, the Fur Trader Rendezvous at Fort Abraham Lincoln features demonstrations of fire starting, toolmaking, rifle marksmanship, and dancing.

The Bismarck Civic Center hosts a number of annual events, including the Bismarck Tribune Sport Show in February, the Spring Blossoms Craft Fair in May, the Missouri River Festival in June, and the Monaco International Motorcoach Event in August.

The Bismarck-Mandan Symphony League, a volunteer organization, schedules festive fundraisers throughout the year, such as a Holiday Home Walk and a spring Wild n' Wooly Wing Ding. This fun activity has received two national awards from the American Symphony Orchestra League as one of the six most unique and effective fundraisers in the nation.

Sports for the Spectator

The Bismarck Bobcats bring exciting North American Hockey League action to the VFW Sports Center. The Dakota Wizards play professional basketball at the Bismarck Civic Center.

Sports for the Participant

Bismarck has an outstanding parks and recreations system that includes bicycle and skate parks, an archery range, baseball diamonds, boat ramps, jogging and exercise tracks, hockey and figure skating rinks, all-season arenas, racquet-ball courts, swimming pools, tennis courts, and soccer fields. There are seven golf courses in the area; Bismarck's Hawk Tree Golf Course placed second on Golf Digest's 2000 list of the top new courses in the United States.

With its location on the Missouri River in the North Central Flyway, the Bismarck-Mandan area offers some of the best fishing and hunting opportunities available in North America. Nineteen of North Dakota's 23 game fish species are found in the Missouri River. Some of the best natural areas of the relatively unaltered habitat left on the Missouri River system are just upstream and downstream from Bismarck-Mandan. The habitat is home to abundant upland and big game. Pheasant, grouse, partridge, dove white-tailed deer and many other non-game species of birds and animals are available for picture taking, observing, and hunting. Other activities enjoyed in the Bismarck area include camping, curling, gymnastics, horseshoes, cross-country skiing, go-cart racing, and downhill skiing.

Shopping and Dining

Bismarck-Mandan is the retail hub for south-central North Dakota, a retail trade area that includes nearly 170,000 people. Downtown Bismarck offers more than 70 stores of all sorts, as well as art galleries and antique shops. Kirkwood Mall features more than 100 specialty stores and five major department stores. Other malls include Arrowhead Plaza, Northbrook Shopping Center, Gateway Mall, and Upfront Plaza.

The historic Burlington Northern Railroad Depot on Main Street in Mandan is home to Native American arts and crafts. Works of more than 200 North Dakota American Indian artists are available for purchase.

A variety of dining establishments can be found in Bismarck, from the Captains Table Restaurant, boasting one of the largest menus in the upper Midwest, to Space Aliens restaurant, which promises "out of this world food," to the Fiesta Villa, where south-of-the-border food is served in Bismarck's historic Spanish mission-style depot. Other restaurants feature hot buffets, Italian food, regional beef and prime rib, and seafood.

Visitor Information: Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1600 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, ND, 58503; toll-free (800)767-3555

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Bismarck: Economy

Bismarck: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Bismarck has a strong, diversified economy that has been continually expanding since the 1980s. As the capital city of North Dakota, it serves as a major hub for government, business and finance; it is also a major distribution center for the agricultural industry. Services and retail trade continue to dominate the local market, together employing more than 50 percent of the non-agricultural workforce.

The state government is Bismarck's largest employer with more than 4,300 workers. The health care industry is second; MedCenter One and St. Alexius hospitals and their related clinics employ more than 4,100. Bismarck Public Schools and the federal government each employ more than 1,000 people.

Items and goods produced: energy (coal, natural gas), food and food products, heavy equipment

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Interest buydowns, reduced interest loans, grants, exemptions, and other financial incentives are available through the Bismarck Vision Fund. Other local sources of funding include micro-loan programs that provide short-term loans of $15,000 to $25,000 with a bank turndown at standard bank rates; the Bismarck Loan Pool, a group of local lending institutions and utilities; Bismarck Industries, Inc., which offers supporting participation in construction or leasing of buildings and equipment purchase; and the Small Business Investment Company, a private investment firm that uses its own funds plus money backed by federal Small Business Administration guarantees to make capital investments in small businesses. The Bismarck-Mandan Development Association can help new and expanding companies negotiate preferred terms or grants from local service providers.

State programs

North Dakota is the only state in the nation to control its own development bank. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) arranges financing for the MATCH program, aimed at attracting financially strong companies to North Dakota via loans and low interest rates. The BND also administers the Business Development Loan Program, for new and existing business with higher risk levels; and the PACE fund, which targets community job development. The North Dakota Development Fund provides "gap financing" to primary sector businesses. The SBA 504 Loan Program offers long-term, fixed asset financing in partnership with private lenders; the borrower provides 10 percent in cash equity. The SBA 7(a) Loan Program is available to small businesses unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace.

Job training programs

Job Service North Dakota administers state- and federally-funded workforce training programs including customized training, on-the-job training, occupational upgrading and Workforce 2000 employee training. The North Dakota New Jobs Training Program provides incentives to businesses that create new employment opportunities in the state. Bismarck State College and the University of Mary are both recognized for meeting the needs of Bismarck-area business and industry; both institutions also offer scholarships and grants for expanding businesses requiring employee training.

Development Projects

The new $25 million Bismarck Airport Terminal opened as scheduled in May 2005; the state-of-the-art facility incorporates high ceilings and glass walls in an "open spaces" concept designed to complement its prairie setting. Gateway to Science recently moved to a new location in the High Prairie Arts and Science Complex, the first phase of a planned expansion project that will include a larger gallery, laboratory, classrooms, exhibit space and a community meeting facility. The Capital Area Transit fixed-route public bus system was launched in May 2004.

Economic Development Information: Bismarck/Mandan Chamber of Commerce, 2000 Schafer Street, Bismarck, ND, 58501; telephone (701)223-5660; fax (701)255-6125

Commercial Shipping

The city of Bismarck lies at the intersection of Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 83. Bismarck is served by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Company and Dakota, Missouri Valley, and Western Rail. Air freight service is available at the Bismarck Airport.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Employment in Bismarck is provided by state and federal government, energy companies, trade, transportation, and health services. Growing fields include data processing and customer service. Statewide, agriculture and tourism are top industries.

The 2003 Bismarck-Mandan Labor Study reports high workforce productivity and credits a well-educated population combined with a Midwest work ethic. The local work-force is also considered loyal and dependable; 85.2 percent of employers report daily absenteeism below 6 percent and the average length of employment at the current job is more than 8 years.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Bismarck metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 55,200

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 3,100

manufacturing: 2,900

trade, transportation and utilities: 11,400

information: 1,500

financial activities: 3,000

professional and business services: 4,700

educational and health services: 9,400

leisure and hospitality: 5,000

other services: 2,900

government: 2,700

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.35 (statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 3.9% (February 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
State of North Dakota 4,309
MedCenter One Health Systems 2,250
St. Alexius Medical Center 1,900
Bismarck Public Schools 1,506
Federal Government 1,198
Bobcat/Ingersoll Rand 867
City of Bismarck 444
University of Mary 400
Basin Electric Power Cooperative 399
Wal Mart 380

Cost of Living

Bismarck-Mandan ranks consistently high in quality of life surveys. In 2003 Expansion Management magazine listed the Bismarck MSA among its "Five Star Communities;" Bismarck also ranked second in a Harvard University study of "community attitudes and civic engagement." North Dakota was recognized as the safest state in the nation in seven of the past eight years.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Bismarck area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $220,000

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 93.1 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.1% to 5.54%

State sales tax rate: 5%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1%

Property tax rate: 483.72 mills per $1,000 (2003)

Economic Information: Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce, 2000 Schafer Street, PO Box 1675, Bismarck, ND, 58502-1675; telephone (701)223-5660; fax (701)255-6125

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Bismarck: Education and Research

Bismarck: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Bismarck Public School system is the second-largest school district in the state. The drop-out rate in 2002-2003 was only 1.5 percent. Special education and early learning opportunities are offered in both private and public schools. Several local schools have earned the national honor of being designated "Blue Ribbon Schools.". Bismarck Public School District has been recognized year after year for meeting the needs of families in a national "What Parents Want" competition; the annual survey honored just 16 percent of public school districts in the country in 2005.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Bismarck public school system as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 10,400

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 15

junior high/middle schools: 3

senior high schools: 2

other: 3

Student/teacher ratio: 13.35:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $26,000

maximum: $53,964

Funding per pupil: $7,034 (State of North Dakota)

In 2002, Bismarck/Mandan had 1,789 students in 9 private elementary schools, 9 private middle schools, and 2 private high schools.

Public Schools Information: Bismarck Public Schools, 806 North Washington, Bismarck, ND 58501; telephone (701)355-3000; fax (701)355-3001

Colleges and Universities

Bismarck State College (BSC) is a two-year college offering more than 30 vocational and technical programs. BSC students may also take their first two years towards a bachelor's degree in arts or sciences. Medcenter One College of Nursing accepts students in their junior year for a two-year bachelor's degree focusing on general nursing science, clinical practice and research. Minot State University offers four-year degree programs in criminal justice, social work, management, and psychology; it also offers nine online degrees. The University of North Dakota (UND) Graduate Center offers master's programs in such fields as education, business administration, social work, and public administration; students can enroll in online, evening, and weekend classes. The UND School of Medicine offers a four-year doctor of medicine degree.

The University of Mary is a private Christian school offering four-year degrees in 34 programs, as well as graduate degrees in nursing, management, education, and physical therapy. St. Alexius Medical Center is home of the North Dakota School of Respiratory Care and St. Alexius School of Radiologic Technology. The United Tribes Training College is a unique intertribal college, owned and operated by five Native American tribes. The college offers 10 associate degree programs and certificates in 10 other areas, as well as adult education and on-site daycare.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library has more than 169,000 book titles, 553 magazine subscriptions, 4,320 audiotapes and compact discs, 4,338 videotapes and DVDs, and 945 miscellaneous items ranging from artwork to fishing poles. Its bookmobile collection includes 21,274 items. A U.S. government document depository, the library has special collections on Northern Missouri River history and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The North Dakota State Library on the Capitol grounds specializes in state government publications. Holdings include more than 132,000 books, nearly 15,000 tape cassettes, more than 111,000 state documents dating from 1889 to the present, and nearly 25,000 federal documents. The State Historical Society of North Dakota Library houses the official state archives. It has special collections on anthropology and the history of the Northern Great Plains, as well as archaeological artifacts.

Other major libraries in Bismarck are the Bismarck State College Library, which has 55,000 book titles and specializes in North Dakota history; the University of Mary's Welder Library, which holds 65,000 volumes; and the Q&R MedCenter One Health Sciences Library, which specializes in clinical medicine and nursing.

Public Library Information: Bismarck Public Library, 515 N. Fifth St., Bismarck, ND 58501; telephone (701)222-6410

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Bismarck: Communications

Bismarck: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Bismarck Tribune, North Dakota's oldest newspaper still publishing, appears every morning. Other newspapers published in Bismarck are the biweekly Farm and Ranch Guide, and the monthly Dakota Catholic Action.

Magazines published in Bismarck include the monthlies Enterprise Connection, a business publication; Dakota Country, which promotes hunting and fishing; North Dakota Stockman; and Vintage Guitar, which focuses on the hobby of guitar playing. North Dakota Outdoors, a natural resources magazine, is issued ten times per year. The Sunflower, a magazine for sunflower producers, is issued six times per year. Locally published quarterlies include North Dakota Horizons, a consumer magazine of North Dakota lifestyles and North Dakota History, which focuses on the history and culture of North Dakota and the Great Plains.

Television and Radio

Bismarck has six television stationsfour network stations, one public station, and one community access station. The city is also served by three AM radio stations and six FM stations.

Media Information: Bismarck Tribune, PO Box 5516, Bismarck, ND 58506; telephone (701)223-2500; fax (701) 223-2063

Bismarck Online

Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce. Available www.chmbr.org

Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.bismarckmandancvb.com

Bismarck-Mandan Development Association. Available www.bmda.org

Bismarck Public Schools. Available www.bismarck.k12.nd.us

The Bismarck Tribune. Available www.bismarcktribune.com

City of Bismarck Home Page. Available www.bismarck.org

North Dakota State Library. Available ndsl.lib.state.nd.us

State Historical Society of North Dakota. Available www.state.nd.us/hist

Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Available www.nps.gov/thro

Selected Bibliography

Bird, George F., and Edwin J. Taylor, Jr., History of the City of Bismarck North Dakota: The First 100 Years 1872-1972, (Bismarck: Bismarck Centennial Association, 1972)

Rogers, Ken, Allison Hawes Bundy, Laura Seibel, eds., Bismarck by the River (Bismarck, North Dakota: The Bismarck Tribune, 1997)

Remele, Larry, ed., The North Dakota State Capitol: Architecture and History (Bismarck, ND: the state Historical Society of North Dakota, 1989)

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Bismarck: Population Profile

Bismarck: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 54,811 (Burleigh County)

1990: 83,831 (MSA)

2000: 94,719 (MSA)

Percent change, 19902000: 13.0%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 260th

City Residents

1980: 44,485

1990: 49,256

2000: 55,532

2003 estimate: 56,344

Percent change, 19902000: 11.1%

U.S. rank in 1990: 527th

U.S. rank in 2000: 620th

Density: 2,065.2 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 52,634

Black or African American: 156

American Indian and Alaska Native: 1,884

Asian: 251

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 15

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 415

Other: 95

Percent of residents born in state: 77.4% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 3,356

Population 5 to 9 years old: 3,431

Population 10 to 14 years old: 3,790

Population 15 to 19 years old: 4,308

Population 20 to 24 years old: 4,380

Population 25 to 34 years old: 7,339

Population 35 to 44 years old: 8,842

Population 45 to 54 years old: 7,815

Population 55 to 59 years old: 2,545

Population 60 to 64 years old: 2,084

Population 65 to 74 years old: 3,888

Population 75 to 84 years old: 2,631

Population 85 years and older: 1,123

Median age: 36.5 years

Births (2001) Total number: 865 (Burleigh County)

Deaths (2001) Total number: 481 (Burleigh County; the infant death rate was 7.8 per 1,000 live births)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $20,789

Median household income: $39,422

Total households: 23,163

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 2,065

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,682

$15,000 to $24,999: 3,255

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,337

$35,000 to $49,999: 4,102

$50,000 to $74,999: 4,910

$75,000 to $99,999: 2,129

$100,000 to $149,999: 1,102

$150,000 to $199,999: 286

$200,000 or more: 295

Percent of families below poverty level: 5.7% (59.1% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 1,698

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Bismarck

Bismarck

Bismarck: Introduction
Bismarck: Geography and Climate
Bismarck: History
Bismarck: Population Profile
Bismarck: Municipal Government
Bismarck: Economy
Bismarck: Education and Research
Bismarck: Health Care
Bismarck: Recreation
Bismarck: Convention Facilities
Bismarck: Transportation
Bismarck: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1871 (incorporated 1875)

Head Official: Mayor John Warford (since 2002)

City Population

1980: 44,485

1990: 49,256

2000: 55,532

2003 estimate: 56,344

Percent change, 19902000: 11.1%

U.S. rank in 1990: 527th

U.S. rank in 2000: 620th

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 54,811 (Burleigh County)

1990: 83,831 (MSA)

2000: 94,719 (MSA)

Percent change, 19902000: 13.0%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 260th

Area: 27.0 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,700 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 53.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 15.47 inches of rain; 44 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, trade, transportation, energy, government

Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $20,789

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 1,698

Major Colleges and Universities: Bismarck State College, University of Mary, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, United Tribes Training College

Daily Newspaper: The Bismarck Tribune

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Bismarck

Bismarck, city (1990 pop. 49,256), state capital and seat of Burleigh co., S central N.Dak., on hills overlooking the Missouri River; inc. 1873. The trade center for a large spring-wheat, livestock, and dairying region, Bismarck is also a financial and telecommunications center, and development of the oil reserves in the nearby Williston Basin is important. Lewis and Clark camped nearby in 1804–5. With the beginning of river traffic in the 1830s, a steamboat port called the "Crossing on the Missouri" emerged here. In 1872, Camp Greeley (later Camp Hancock) was erected to protect workers building the Northern Pacific RR. When the railroad reached the fort the next year, a town was laid out, subsequently named Bismarck in the hope of attracting German investment in the railroad. Bismarck boomed as a river port and railroad center, a gateway for western expansion, and supply point for the Black Hills gold rush (1874). It became the territorial capital in 1883.

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Bismarck: Geography and Climate

Bismarck: Geography and Climate

Bismarck is located on the east bank of the Missouri River in south-central North Dakota. It is situated on butte-like hills overlooking the river, and lies within one of the country's leading wheat-producing areas. North Dakota's climate is continental and fairly uniform throughout; the Bismarck region is temperate with moderate rainfall. Winters are long and severe; summers are short but favorable for agriculture because of the long hours of sunshine.

Area: 27.0 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,700 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 20.0° F; July, 84.4° F; annual average, 53.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 15.47 inches of rain; 44 inches of snow

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Bismarck: Transportation

Bismarck: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Bismarck Airport has daily commercial service via Northwest, United Express, Big Sky, and Allegiant airlines to Minneapolis, Denver, and Las Vegas. The airport is served by three major national auto rental chains. Rimrock Stages provides bus service in the area.

Traveling in the City

The Capital Area Transit System, known as the CAT, serves the Bismarck-Mandan area. The Bis-Man Transit Board offers Greyhound bus service, a Taxi 9000 on-demand service, and an elderly and handicapped transit system. A restored trolley car that once ran in Bismarck now offers a unique trip to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

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Bismarck: Convention Facilities

Bismarck: Convention Facilities

The Bismarck Civic Center features 16 meeting rooms, 84,000 square feet of exhibit space and arena seating for 10,000 in two separate but connected buildings. The Pavilion at Prairie Knights Casino and Resort seats 2,000 and offers 34,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. The Mandan Community Center is a full-service recreation and convention center. Bismarck-Mandan also has more than 2,600 rooms in 30 hotels and motels.

Convention Information: Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1600 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, ND, 58503; telephone (800)767-3555

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Bismarck: Introduction

Bismarck: Introduction

Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, seat of Burleigh County, and part of the metropolitan statistical area that also includes Mandan, is known as the hub city for the Lewis and Clark Trail. Since the time that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark explored the region's rolling plains in 1804-05, the Bismarck region has remained a center for outdoor adventures, from hiking and canoeing to mountain biking and boating, offering some of the finest fishing and hunting opportunities in the country. It is also recognized as the region's business, cultural, and financial center.

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Bismarck: Health Care

Bismarck: Health Care

St. Alexius Medical Center was opened in 1885 by a group of Benedictine Sisters and was the first hospital in Dakota Territory. The 285-bed facility serves the Bismarck area as well as central and western North Dakota, northern South Dakota and eastern Montana. Medcenter One Health Systems offers a range of services, including nine primary care clinics, a home health agency, three long-term care facilities and a 238-bed hospital. The two institutions have combined resources to offer state-of-the-art cancer care at the Bismarck Cancer Center.

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Bismarck: Municipal Government

Bismarck: Municipal Government

The city of Bismarck operates under the commission form of government. Four commissioners and a president (who also serves as mayor) are elected at large to four-year terms. The commission meets regularly on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

Head Official: Mayor John Warford (since 2002; current term expires 2006)

Total Number of City Employees: 471 (full-time; 2003)

City Information: City/County Office Building, 221 N 5th Street, PO Box 5503, Bismarck, ND 58506-5503; telephone (701)222-6471; fax (701)222-6470

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Bismarck

Bismarck State capital of North Dakota, USA, overlooking the Missouri River. It originated in the 1830s, becoming a distribution centre for grain and cattle and was later an important stop on the Northern Pacific Railroad. Industries: livestock raising, dairying, woodworking. Pop. (2000) 55,532.

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Bismarck

Bismarckarc, ark, Bach, bark, barque, Braque, Clark, clerk, dark, embark, hark, impark, Iraq, Ladakh, Lamarck, lark, macaque, marc, mark, marque, narc, nark, Newark, park, quark, sark, shark, snark, spark, stark, Vlach •matriarch, patriarch •tanbark • ringbark • stringy-bark •Offenbach • ironbark • oligarch •salesclerk • titlark • skylark •meadowlark • woodlark • mudlark •landmark • checkmark • Denmark •benchmark • waymark • trademark •seamark • Bismarck • telemark •tidemark • Kitemark • pockmark •Ostmark • hallmark • Goldmark •Deutschmark • bookmark • footmark •earmark • watermark • birthmark •anarch • car park • skatepark •ballpark •Petrarch, tetrarch •hierarch, squirearch •exarch • Pesach • loan shark •Plutarch • aardvark

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