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Timeline: 1920s

By | Last Modified: December 31, 2019


  • Bismarck’s oldest brick building, the Gussner Block, is destroyed by fire. The Bismarck Tribune had just relocated into the building the month before.
  • The original Richholt School is constructed, named for F.H. Richholt
  • The Bismarck Tribune completes its new headquarters on the northwest block of 4th & Thayer, where it remains until 1980.


  • Northwest Hotel is destroyed by fire on October 27. The Nonpartisan League then moves its headquarters to the McKenzie/Patterson Hotel.
  • Fleck Motors establishes Bismarck location. The long-time dealership was founded in Richardton in 1915, before moving to Mandan in 1918.


  • Bismarck High School introduces the Demon mascot
  • The Liberty Memorial Bridge completes construction and holds a 3-day dedication ceremony beginning September 18 with over 12,000 attendees
  • Alexander McKenzie passes away (June 22). McKenzie was the influential political boss behind the “McKenzie Machine,” who is often credited with moving the Dakota Territory capital from Yankton to Bismarck.
  • The Municipal Ball Park is established.
  • Hoskins is renamed Hoskins-Meyer when Philip Meyer partners with wife Etta and her brother Brooks – children of R.D. Hoskins.
  • F.W. Woolworth opens at 406 E Main inside a new addition to the City National Bank building. It later expands its footprint within the building before opening a second store at Kirkwood Mall in 1970. The downtown store closes in 1981.


  • The original Roosevelt School is constructed
  • Bismarck’s water system ends private ownership and a bond passes public vote to fund a new filtration plant.



  • Hoskins-Meyer establishes KFYR AM Radio; first public broadcast on February 8th, 1926. The resulting Meyer Broadcasting Company eventually evolves into one of North Dakota’s largest privately-owned businesses.
  • Old Red Trail is designated U.S. Highway 10. Today, the former highway includes much of Bismarck’s Main Avenue and The Strip.


  • City National Bank fails in October, in business since 1909.


  • Will School adds three additional rooms
  • Bismarck Park Board (now Parks & Rec) officially organized


  • Montgomery Ward opens its first Bismarck store. It eventually relocates as one of the original anchors of Kirkwood Mall, opening there on September 23, 1970. The store shutters in 1999, shortly before nationwide liquidation.
  • Riverside Park opens (now Sertoma Park)
  • Hughes Electric is sold. Its remnants are now part of MDU.


  • 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).
  • The first “talkies” – motion pictures with audio – debut at the Paramount Theater on 3rd Street near Broadway Avenue.
  • First National Bank is sold to First Bank Stock Corporation of Minneapolis (now U.S. Bank).
  • The First Guaranty Bank is sold to Northwest Bankcorp, also of Minneapolis (now Wells Fargo).
  • “MaNDan” letter billboard is placed atop Crying Hill facing south. It involved 12 gallons of paint and 47 truckloads of stone, mostly broken pavement taken from the widening of 6th Avenue NW. The sign was relocated to the hill’s northeast side facing Interstate 94 in 1987, replacing the original stone with enforced concrete taken from roof beams of the former Mandan Pioneer building.

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