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Timeline: 1950s

By | Last Modified: November 16, 2017
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  • 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)


  • 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, supplementing Bismarck Supervalu (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)


  • Hughes Junior High is constructed.
  • The Drumstick Cafe is first established. The long-time restaurant originally opened as a fast food format before evolving into a traditional family restaurant in 1961. It closed in 2002.


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