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1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s



  • First buildings are constructed, commissioned by Doctor Walter Burleigh. The town is named Edwinton after Edwin Johnson of the Northern Pacific Railroad
  • Camp Greeley, later called Camp Hancock, is established, which served as a warehouse and supply depot, in addition to an infantry post, and later the US Weather Bureau
  • John Yegen opens Bismarck’s first business, a bakery and restaurant he operated out of a tent.


  • Edwinton is renamed “Bismarck” after German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (July)
  • Bismarck Tribune publishes first issue (July)
  • Burleigh County is organized and Bismarck named its county seat
  • The first school is opened at the Congressional Church by Linda Slaughter (September)


  • Bismarck is incorporated, electing John McLean as the first mayor


  • Bismarck Tribune staff writer Mark H. Kellogg is first to report on the Battle of Little Bighorn
  • St. Mary’s Church is established


  • The first schoolhouse is opened, a two-room building constructed at the southwest corner of Thayer Avenue and Sixth Street.
  • St. Mary’s Academy and Boarding School is established (April)



  • First National Bank opens at corner of 4th Street and Main Avenue, the second bank in Dakota Territory


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  • Northern Pacific completes construction of the bridge connecting Bismarck & Mandan, it opens on October 21


  • Territorial capital of Dakota Territory is moved from Yankton to Bismarck.
  • Dakota Block is completed, Bismarck’s second oldest building (October)



  • Saint Alexius Hospital opens, the first hospital in Dakota Territory
  • Territorial prison is opened, now known as the North Dakota State Penitentiary


  • A ten-day blizzard buries the region (January)
  • First graduating class consists of two students


  • Bismarck assumes role as capital of North Dakota upon officially entering statehood


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s




1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s



  • Northern Pacific Train Depot is completed at a cost of $33,601, replacing the original depot destroyed in the 1898 Fire


  • Doctors Quain and Ramstad open a clinic
  • Partnership between Arthur Lucas and William O’Hara is dissolved, leaving Lucas sole owner of A.W. Lucas & Company (June 30)
  • Soo Railroad reaches Bismarck (August)


  • State-owned streetcar line is completed connecting downtown with the State Capitol; it was disestablished in 1931




  • Quain & Ramstad’s clinic is reorganized to become Bismarck Evangelical Hospital, the precursor to Medcenter One


  • New Bismarck Evangelical Hospital officially opens
  • Custer Park opens, the first municipal park in Bismarck


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s



  • McKenzie Hotel opens on January 1
  • New fire hall constructed on Thayer Avenue, building would also house city hall and police headquarters for several decades.


  • First high school building is completed (replaced in 1935)


  • Federal Building opens (replaced in 1964)



  • New facility for Saint Alexius Hospital opens




  • The Yegen Family expands into the dairy business
  • Bank of North Dakota is established (June)


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • The original Richholt School is constructed, named for F.H. Richholt



  • The original Roosevelt School is constructed



  • KFYR Radio signs on the air; first public broadcast in February 1926


  • Will School adds three additional rooms


  • Montgomery Ward arrives in Bismarck
  • Riverside Park opens (now Sertoma Park)


  • J.C. Penney opens its Bismarck location, upon purchasing store and liquidation inventory from local retailer McCracken. The company previously had a location in Mandan (opened in 1920).


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • Wachter School expands, adding three rooms and a gymnasium
  • Pioneer Park opens
  • State capitol is consumed by fire on December 28, started by spontaneous combustion from a collection of rags covered with turpentine and varnish
  • J.C. Penney builds a new store


  • First commercial airplane lands in Bismarck
  • State-owned streetcar line is disestablished
  • Buttrey’s opens Bismarck store


  • Ground is broken for new state capitol on August 13
  • Elk’s Swimming Pool is constructed, Bismarck’s first swimming pool




  • New State Capitol is occupied (January)
  • New facility to house Bismarck High School opens on September 10, and the junior high is moved into the former high school building.
  • Vantine Paint & Glass opens at 313 E Main Avenue



  • Bismarck Tribune wins Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles called “Self-Help in the Dustbowl”


  • Bismarck Junior College opens, occupying the top floor of Bismarck High School
  • Piggly Wiggly opens in Bismarck (becomes SuperValu in 1949)
  • Speed limits implemented for first time in Bismarck, but only on certain streets – Main Avenue listed at 25 MPH between 9th & Washington Streets and range between 30 & 40 MPH between 12th & 26th Streets
  • First traffic signal is installed at 9th Street & Main Avenue


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • Underpass completed at 9th Street and Northern Pacific Railroad


  • Buttrey’s relocates Bismarck store to southwest corner of 4th Street and Broadway Avenue (February)
  • Fort Lincoln Internment Camp is established (April); first prisoners arrive on June 2
  • Logan’s Grocery closes


  • 700 additional Japanese detainees arrive at Fort Lincoln Internment Camp, bringing total to 1,500 prisoners (February)
  • Gold Seal Company is founded by Harold Schafer



  • Last detainees leave Fort Lincoln Internment Camp (March 6)
  • Webb Building renovation is complete, and Sears occupies building (September)



  • Major construction is completed on Main Avenue from Washington Street to 9th Street, and also on 6th Street between Rosser and Main Avenues – both streets in turn widened by 8 feet to allow parking on both sides. A new lighting system was also installed with 264 new lamp posts.
  • Traffic signals installed at six intersections, including one at 4th Street & Broadway Avenue; intersections listed included those at 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Streets at Main Avenue; and 4th & 6th Streets at Broadway Avenue. Another location considered was 6th & Avenue C, however this was never done.


  • Roy Rockstad & Eugene Leary purchase local Piggly Wiggly and rename it Bismarck SuperValu
  • Fleck’s Garage is constructed on corner of 3rd Street & Main Avenue (destroyed by fire in 1977)
  • A.W. Lucas begins remodeling project, which adds nearly half an acre of additional space.
  • KFYR completes a major remodel of its building
  • Dairy Queen opens first Bismarck location, at 230 W Broadway Avenue. Second location to open was along State Street in 1961. Today, there are 4 Dairy Queens in Bismarck.


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • Ground is broken for St. Mary’s Central High School (opens February 1952)


  • Will School closes, in service since 1905 (December). The building went onto serve as office space until demolished in 1954.
  • Construction begins on Cathedral Grade School


  • Will-Moore Elementary opens (January)
  • St. Mary’s Central High School opens (February)
  • Widespread flooding seen when Missouri River crested at 27.9 feet. The Flood of 1952 was the worst flood ever in Bismarck, topping the previous record set in March 1881. (April)
  • Fleck Motors opens new showroom at Broadway Avenue & 1st Street, replacing old structure destroyed by fire on same site (April)
  • 1953
  • Bismarck was the sight one of the most significant recorded UFO sightings, witnessed by at least 45 people and Air Defense System personnel. (August 5)
  • KFYR begins testing television broadcasts. The station’s first network broadcast was the World Series on September 28, 1956.
  • Mandan Oil Refinery is constructed by Standard Oil Company (now Tesoro)
  • Arrowhead Shopping Plaza opens as Bismarck’s first shopping center (November)
  • Rockstad and Leary open first Dan’s SuperValu at Arrowhead Plaza (November)


  • Garrison Dam completed, forming Lake Sakakawea (Dam closure occurred in April 1953)
  • Big Boy opens, Bismarck’s first drive-in (July)
  • Provident Building opens (October)



  • Bismarck’s telephone system converted to the traditional dial system (February)
  • KXMB TV begins broadcasting (November)




1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • Current governor’s mansion is completed




  • Veterans Memorial Library (aka Bismarck Public Library) opens, replacing Carnegie Library opened in 1918
  • First Federal Savings & Loan completed construction of its new headquarters (now American Bank Center headquarters)


  • Tom O’leary Golf Course opens
  • William Guy Federal Building opens, replacing original Federal Building built in 1913 (September)



  • Bismarck is hit by its largest and most memorable blizzard, which lasted three days and buried the city (March)


  • Wachter Junior High opens
  • Bismarck Civic Center is approved, and construction begins
  • General Sibley Park opens


  • Department of Transportation Building is completed



1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • Dan’s Supervalu opens south location near Kirkwood Mall
  • Town House Hotel opens (now Kelly Inn)


  • Kirkwood Mall opens in April with anchors Woolworth’s, Herbergers, and Montgomery Ward. A grand opening celebration is then held on May 14. (Note: Anchor store Woolworth opened in November 1970)
  • Kmart is first modern-day discount department store to open in Bismarck, and one of the first businesses to open along the State Street Corridor (October)
  • YMCA building opens


  • Village Inn Restaurant opens (now Denny’s)


  • Set of one-ways is established in downtown Bismarck on Broadway Avenue and Thayer Avenue
  • First annual Downtowner’s Street Fair is held





  • Major winter fire destroys several buildings in downtown Bismarck


  • Downtown U.S. Bank Building completed
  • Fiesta Villa opens in Mandan (relocated to Bismarck in 1983)



1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s



  • State Heritage Center is completed




  • Woolworths closes, and is replaced with Daytons
  • Former Q&R Clinic is converted to house joined City & Burleigh County offices




  • Town House Motor Inn (now Kelly Inn) foreclosed on (March)
  • Eagle Statue dedicated at Custer Park (October 1)
  • 30,000-acre Wachter Ranch is foreclosed on


  • Bismarck and Mandan host Women’s International Bowling Congress Tournament, drawing 44,000 bowlers from around the country
  • Centennial Elementary opens
  • Veteran’s Memorial Library undergoes major expansion and renovation


1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • Wal-Mart opens in Bismarck (relocated in 2005)


  • Wachter becomes first school in North Dakota to convert to the middle school format
  • Simle Junior High begins construction of south wing



  • Herbergers expands Kirkwood Mall location and closes Gateway location
  • Gateway to Science Center opens at Gateway Mall


  • Dan’s Supervalu relocates its south location (July)
  • Rex TV & Appliance and TJMaxx open inside former Kirkwood Dan’s Supervalu building; TJMaxx relocated to Pinehurst Square in 2006, Rex closed in 2008
  • The Walrus Restaurant opens at Arrowhead Plaza



  • Best Products closes and is replaced with Office Depot and Big Lots!
  • Biggest snow storm since 1966 hits Bismarck (April)
  • Staples opens
  • Space Aliens Grill & Bar is established by Mort Bank
  • A&W Restaurant/Long John Silver’s opens at Front & 3rd (now “The Pitch”)


  • Montgomery Ward closes, leaving an empty anchor spot at Kirkwood Mall not filled until 2002



1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


  • A string of tornadoes touch down on November 2, the latest recorded tornadoes ever in North Dakota


  • Horizon Middle School opens for classes, replacing Hughes (January)
  • Bismarck is hit with a major hail storm on June 9, causing millions of dollars in damage – the most insurance claims ever filed in the state of North Dakota


  • I. Keating Furniture fills former Montgomery Ward anchor, left empty since 1998


  • Dan’s Supervalu relocates is north location (March)
  • Bismarck’s largest public graduating class to date consists of 826 students
  • Aakers College (now Rasmussen College) opens satellite campus in Bismarck
  • Bismarck approves a busing system, known as Capital Area Transit, with service beginning in May 2004.
  • Corwin Churchill’s downtown location destroyed by fire (November)
  • Highway 83 Diner closes (December)



  • Bismarck experiences massive retail growth, with the construction of Pinehurst Square, two Wal-Mart Supercenters, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, and a relocated Target.
  • Home Depot opens in June (closed in 2008)
  • Marshall Fields (formerly Dayton’s) closes, and the space is immediately torn down to house a new, larger Target store that opens in early 2006
  • Palace Arms Hotel (opened in 1962 as Holiday Inn) is demolished to make way for construction of the new Bank of North Dakota headquarters.
  • Former Highway 83 Diner building destroyed by fire (November)


  • Eckroth Music relocates into new building
  • Johnny Carinos opens. (December)
  • MDU relocates is corporate headquarters
  • Miracle Mart (formerly Econofoods) sells to Grand Central, in turn becoming Central Market


  • Furniture Row opens (January)
  • Bismarck breaks world record for most snow angels made in a single place, with 8,962 participants on the grounds of the state capitol.
  • Green Mill closes its Bismarck location – the second restaurant at this location to close (Houlihan’s being the other).
  • Wilhelm Buick-Olds-Cadillac officially closes
  • Scheels Sporting Goods relocates into the adjacent former Target location at Kirkwood Mall, after Target relocated its store in 2006.
  • Golden Corral opens (May)
  • Cash Wise undergoes minor expansion, including the installation of its Little Dukes Convenience Store
  • Washington Street construction project is completed, with the widening of the stretch between Rosser Avenue and Avenue D, and the addition of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Avenue C.
  • Ruby Tuesday opens


  • Hooters opens
  • Home Depot closes its Bismarck location, less than four years after opening
  • The State Street McDonald’s is demolished, to be later replaced with a new, larger McDonald’s
  • The new Bank of North Dakota facility opens on the site of the former Palace Arms Hotel
  • The Hillside Park Waterslide is demolished due to safety concerns
  • Gold’s Gym opens inside former TJMaxx location
  • Scotty’s Drive-in changes ownership and sees several major changes, including the opening of a drive-though, and renovation. The restaurant also began to serve breakfast for the first time.
  • Classic Yard closes after eleven years
  • Cedric Theel relocates its showroom
  • Little Caesar’s Pizza returns to Bismarck, years after its former locations were converted into Papa John’s (June)
  • Ground is broken on BSC Aquatic and Wellness Center (June)
  • The first annual Rip-Roaring Rib Fest is held
  • Los Amigos Restaurant & Kirkwood Tesoro close, and are quickly demolished to make room for a new CVS/pharmacy store (August)
  • The New Liberty Memorial Bridge opens (August), and demolition on the original bridge begins immediately thereafter. On October 6, the first section of the old bridge was imploded, followed on October 29 with the remaining section.
  • American Bank Center Headquarters at corner of Rosser Avenue & 5th Street completes extensive remodel
  • Hoskins-Meyer Floral closes, after more than 100 years
  • Olive Garden opens after years of anticipation (November 24)
  • The former Bank of North Dakota facility undergoes demolition (December)
  • Bismarck receives the most snow ever in a single month, with a total of 33.3 inches, beating the former record set in March 1975. Prior to this achievement, Bismarck had already broken the record for the most snow received in December, beating out the former record set in 1916. At the time, Bismarck was also on track to beat the all-time season record. (December)


  • Bismarck hits -44oF, the coldest recorded temperature since January 18, 1950; and only one degree away from tying the lowest temperature ever recorded – the high temperature the following day was 80 degrees warmer. (January 15)
  • CVS/pharmacy opens a new north location upon relocating from Gateway Mall, where it had been an original tenant (February 22)
  • Ice jams and excessive snow melt cause widespread flooding and the mandatory evacuation of 1700 residents – the worst flooding since April 1952 (March)
  • Bismarck State College unveils new logo, replacing current logo in use since 1991 (April)
  • Rex TV & Appliance closes its doors. The company was purchased by Appliance Direct, who chose not to convert the Bismarck location. Rex came to Bismarck in 1995, and once had 3 locations in North Dakota. (April)
  • Gateway Fashion Mall completes its renovation
  • Simle Middle School completes its renovation
  • Cedric Theel drops the Dodge line; Corwin Churchill in turn picks it up as part of Chrysler’s reorganization
  • A large section of River Road and the adjacent walking trail closes upon discovering the ground has become unstable and shifting.
  • Construction begins on a Sunrise Elementary in northeast Bismarck, the first grade school built in twenty years.
  • Conlin’s Furniture & Joy’s Hallmark announce that they were vacating Gateway Mall (June)
  • A new ride is added at Superslide Amusement Park called The Runaway Train (June)
  • A half mile stretch of River Road is closed upon discovering the road and trail have become unstable and begun to sink (June)
  • Former Wilhelm Buick building is demolished, business closed in 2007 (July)
  • Renovation begins at Hillside/Lions Park – expected to be completed in 2012
  • Little Caesar’s announces intentions to open a north location, expected to open in October. The national chain made a comeback to the region when it opened a restaurant near Cash Wise Foods in 2009 after a near 10-year absence.
  • Subway relocates its South 3rd Street location into the former Sherwin Williams building, also on 3rd street.
  • Meriwether’s Landing Restaurant closes (September 5)
  • Gateway Mall owner, Raymond Arjmand, is accused of fraud by the owner of former tenant, Joy’s Hallmark. (October)
  • Easter Seals Goodwill Store opens inside former Kirkwood Hardware Hank/Ace Hardware building (October)
  • Hansen’s Menswear relocates from Gateway Fashion Mall to Interstate Avenue. (October)
  • Blarney Stone Pub opens inside the former Golden Dragon Restaurant (October 21)
  • Bill Barth announces its Saturn dealership will become a Kia dealership after Saturn’s discontinuation. (November)
  • Doctor Paul Johnson resigns as Bismarck School Superintendent upon accepting a position in Bulgaria, effective at the end of the school term (December)
  • Fowler Photography closes after 30 years (December)
  • Bobcat Manufacturing closes its Bismarck plant after 35 years, affecting 475 jobs (December 23)
  • Conlin’s Furniture relocates to the corner of Broadway Avenue & 18th Street (December)


  • Vlana Vlee closes (January)
  • Tuesday Morning closes (January)
  • Kia replaces Saturn at Bill Barth’s secondary dealership (January)
  • A&W Restaurant/Long John Silver’s changes format to become “Reza’s Pitch” (January)
  • CVS/pharmacy relocates Kirkwood Mall location, after 38 years at the shopping center (January 24)
  • Minot-based Ryan Chevrolet announces purchase of Corwin-Churchill Motors (February 3)
  • Brides By Maxine closes (February)
  • BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center opens (February)
  • St. Gabriel’s Community opens (May)
  • Mayor John Warford wins third term by a landslide 75% (June)
  • Long-time local representative, Connie Sprynczynatyk, retires from service (June)
  • Jimmy Johns opens (July)
  • Magi-Touch Carpet & Furniture begins 30,000 square-foot expansion (July)
  • Men’s Wearhouse opens (est August)
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites opens (est. Summer)
  • Construction on a new parking ramp between 5th & 6th Streets on Broadway Avenue begins (est. Summer)

1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

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