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Provident Life Insurance Building / Weather Beacon

By | Last Modified: May 5, 2017
Provident Life Insurance Building / Weather Beacon

The Provident Building is a building located in downtown Bismarck best known for the 60-foot tall weather beacon attached to the roof, which uses a simple color-coding system to represent the weather forecast of the upcoming twelve hours.

The building opened in 1954 to serve as the headquarters of Provident Life Insurance Company, which was the largest privately owned institution in North Dakota at the time. In 1982, Provident Life merged with United Services Life Insurance Company (USLICO). USLICO continued to operate out of the building until 1995, at which time the building was purchased by Burleigh County.

The landmark weather beacon was original to the building, and operated continuously until 1999, when the aging beacon was in desperate need of repair. The beacon took on more damage from a 2001 hail storm. In 2002, the Burleigh County Commission authorized funds to restore the weather beacon, at a total cost of $61,000. Cook Sign Company, the original manufacturer of the beacon, supervised its restoration. Throughout the beacon’s entire history, the beacon has been operated by KFYR.

Even today, most area residents remember the catchy poem created to educate the codes of the weather beacon:

Weather Beacon white as snow, down the temperature will go.
Weather Beacon red as fire, temperature is going higher.
Weather Beacon emerald green, forecast says no change foreseen.
When colors blink in agitation, there’s going to be precipitation.

Provident Building At Night Provident Building At Night Provident Building & Weather Beacon

CODES OF THE WEATHER BEACON

GREEN No Change Foreseen
WHITE Colder Temperature
RED Warmer Temperature
Blinking: Precipitation Forecasted

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