A day in North Dakota's Capital city

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
A Prairie Breeze RV park - 30 amp & water for $17 a night

Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Sunday, September 6, 2009

I have just one fun fact to share with you and then I'll let the pictures tell the story of our day.  Bismarck, the city that is now the Capitol of North Dakota was originally settled in 1872 and named Edwinton   With the arrival of the Northern Pacific along the eastern banks of the Missouri River in 1873 the decision was made to change the towns name to Bismarck. 

The reason?  The Northern Pacific railroad chose the name of Germanys "Iron Chancellor", Prince Otto Von Bismarck as an inducement to have German immigrants settle here. A little background is needed to explain why the railroad needed settlers.  In return for each mile of track that the Northern Pacific laid they would receive 'not in excess of 10 sections of land'.  A section of land is 1 square mile or, put another way, 640 acres.  This was prime land, located along the railroad right of way.  

The railroad made money by selling this land.  The land was sold to individuals, developers and land speculators. Brochures, flyers and articles advertising the merits of the various railroad lines and their destinations were sent out all over the world.  In fact, some railroads even went so far as to fund the transportation of immigrants to get them to come to their cities.   So now you see why the naming of a city to something more 'appealingly German' was good marketing.  

You may be asking yourself if the changing of the name worked.  Well, I couldn't find any statistics which related directly to Bismarck.  The last US Census shows that 55% of the population of North Dakota is of German descent.  That's answer enough for me!  
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