The Geographical Center of North America is in North Dakota
The first of our series of interesting North Dakota facts relates to its geography. The town of Rugby, situated within the state, is where you will find the geographical center of North America. The location is marked by a rock obelisk, which is 15 feet tall. Either side of this are the flags of the United States and Canada.
Officials Tried to Drop the Word “North” From the State Name in 1947
The bill to do this was roundly defeated by the Legislative Assembly of the state. It took another 42 years for the same bill to change the state’s name to be heard again, in 1989. Two resolutions were heard to alter the name of the state to simply Dakota but both were turned down once more.
Dakota Is a Sioux Name Which Translates as “Friends”
Dakota Territory was created in 1861, with its North and South counterparts. However, not many people know that the name itself comes from the Dakota Indian tribe who were native to the territory. The name Dakota translates from the Sioux language as friends or allies.
Devil’s Lake is the Largest Natural Body of Water in North Dakota
This next in our series of North Dakota facts tells us about the largest natural body of water in the state. It’s called Devil’s Lake, and the name comes from the Native American translation of the word Miniwaukan. Despite its name, it is a particularly fertile body of water which is home to large numbers of fish, including bass and pike. In the 1990s, unseasonably high rainfall over a number of years caused the water level to rise to an unmanageable level, and 400 people had to be evacuated from their homes in the local city, also called Devil’s Lake.
Lake Sakakawea Is 200 Miles Long
This, the fifth of our North Dakota facts, tells us a little about the huge lakes the state is home to. Lake Sakakawea, found in the Missouri basin within North Dakota, has a shoreline with bays and inlets that total some 1,600 miles! It also has the huge Garrison Dam, which is 2 miles long. It is the largest man-made lake in North Dakota, and the third largest in the entire United States!
North Dakota Is the 17th Largest State
Our North Dakota facts take another geographical turn here. The state is the 17th largest in the United States. It covers 70,700 square miles in area, and measures 212 miles north to south and 360 miles east to west.
Turtle Lake City Celebrates its Namesake in a Special Way
As you’d expect, a town called Turtle Lake does indeed celebrate the hard-shelled reptiles that it’s named after. At the entrance to the city, you’ll find a two-ton sculpture of a turtle. The city is also home to the annual United States Turtle Racing Championship!
Theodore Roosevelt Loved North Dakota and Is Key to its Tourism Trade
This is one of our fascinating historical North Dakota facts. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was someone who famously loved the state. He first visited in 1883 in order to hunt bison. He developed a lifelong interest in cattle after this experience and, before he returned to his home in New York, he established two ranches in North Dakota: the Elkhorn and the Maltese Cross. There is now a National Park named after him in Medora. The park covers 70,446 acres and attracts as many as half a million visitors every year.
Lawrence Welk Is One of the Many Famous People from North Dakota
When he left his home in Strasburg in 1924, Lawrence Welk was aiming to try and start a career in music. Some 27 years later, he made his national debut on television with a series which went on to run for 26 years! Even now, reruns of this popular show are still watched by many people – not just in the United States but across the world, too. Welk died in 1992 after a career as not only a television presenter, but as a band leader and accordion player too.
North Dakota’s Highest Point Has Some Unusual Stone Monuments
White Butte, which is the highest point in the state, is home to some unusual piles of rocks, that either go by the name of Rock Johnnies or Sheepherders Monuments. These monuments were allegedly created by sheepherders who had to find ways to pass the time while they tended their flocks, so piled up rocks to form these interesting edifices!
North Dakota Is Home to a Special Type of Squirrel
Known as the Flickertail, or Richardson Ground squirrel, it can be identified by the distinctive jerking or twitching movement it makes with its tail as it moves and particularly just before it enters its burrow. These squirrels were originally only found in farmland and forests, but have made inroads into urban areas, with some people now seeing them as pests. They have actually been known to dig holes in sidewalks and patios!
Kenmare Is the Goose Capital of North Dakota
The next in our series of North Dakota facts tells us a little about the special wildlife the state has. The town of Kenmare in the state is recognized as being the Goose Capital. It is home to some 400,000 snow geese at any one time of the year. It is also, sadly, the hunting capital for the same birds too.
Tribal Chief Sitting Bull Is Buried in Fort Yates
This next of our North Dakota facts takes us on an important historical journey. Sitting Bull (1831-1890) was a tribal chief who lived in the Dakota Territory and led his people to believe they should resist the incursion of the United States government policies. In 1890, during a period of time in which state chiefs believed Sitting Bull was about to flee Dakota with a religious movement called the Ghost Dancers, an attempted arrest was made, which failed. However, he was killed in a shootout and his body was taken to Fort Yates. His remains were moved to South Dakota eventually, but there is still a memorial plaque in the North to let people know this was where he originally lay.
Writing Rock, Grenora Gets Its Name from a Special Site of Historical Interest
The site has two solid granite boulders which have petroglyphs carved into them. These petroglyphs are of thunderbirds, and are believed to have been carved into the stone by the native Plains Indians tribes. It is difficult to determine exactly how old the carvings are, with local historians claiming they could have been put there as early as the year 1000, but as late as 1700 AD. The site is still considered sacred, purely for these petroglyphs.
North Dakota Has the Highest Oil Can Structure in the World
The last in our series of North Dakota facts is a strange but true one. The state holds the record for having the highest structure built of oil cans in the entire world! Max G Taubert began construction of this slightly weird monument in 1933. He worked as a gas station operator in Sinclair and also ran a snack counter on Highway 10. He simply began stacking empty cans in a cone shape, possibly because he had nowhere else to put them and nothing could be done with them. After a while, the construction gained notoriety and it was left in place as a metal monument!
North Dakota Facts – Facts about North Dakota Summary
Facts about North Dakota tell us that the state is the 17th largest in the USA and that is was one of President Roosevelt’s favorite places. It is the place where you will find the geographical center of North America, and it is also home to the highest oil can structure in the world!