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Timeline: 1880s

By | Last Modified: January 11, 2018
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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 remaining building (October)



  • Saint Alexius Hospital opens, the first hospital in Dakota Territory
  • Territorial prison is opened, now known as the North Dakota State Penitentiary
  • Fire destroys the Bismarck Tribune building on the 200 block of Main Avenue The paper moves to the original Webb Building.
  • Original Morton County Courthouse is completed. The brick building is destroyed by fire in 1941.


  • Alexander McKenzie establishes the city’s first water system, pumping unfiltered river water through a system of pipes. It remained a privately-owned system until 1923, when residents passed a bond measure to acquire the water department and fund a filtration plant.


  • 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

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