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Timeline: 1870s

By | Last Modified: January 26, 2018


  • 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
  • Linda Slaughter establishes the first school at Camp Hancock – Sabbath School, a Presbyterian Sunday school. She later establishes the city’s first public school the following year.
  • 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. While there are reports of the town being renamed Bismarck as early as May, it was not officially recognized as such until July 17.
  • Bismarck Tribune publishes first issue (July 11)
  • Burleigh County is organized and Bismarck named its county seat
  • Linda Slaughter is appointed school superintendent and establishes the first public school, Bismarck Academy, at the Congressional Church by September. Slaughter had previously established a Presbyterian Sunday school from a tent at Camp Hancock in August 1872.


  • Bismarck is incorporated, electing John McLean as its 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.
  • Camp Hancock is re-purposed from an infantry post to the Quartermaster’s Office and Signal Station. It remains as such until 1894.
  • 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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