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Timeline: 1960s

By | Last Modified: January 28, 2018


  • New governor’s mansion is completed (replaced in 2017)
  • Arrowhead Plaza completes major northward expansion, including a larger Dan’s Supervalu
  • JCPenney renovates the second floor of its store at the northwest corner of 5th and Broadway Avenue. The project converts former warehouse space into selling space and also adds Bismarck’s first escalator.


  • Dakota Zoo opens
  • Hillside Park Junior High opens (Now Simle Middle School)
  • Former junior high building, which had been built in 1912 to house the high school, is torn down
  • Schafer Hall is completed at Bismarck Junior College
  • The Drumstick Cafe changes ownership, expands and changes formats from fast food into a traditional family restaurant.
  • Dakota Malting & Brewing Company, best known for its Dakota Beer product, is established. The company folds in 1965.


  • Hillside Park Junior High is renamed Simle Junior High after Bismarck school superintendent T.E. Simle
  • Holiday Inn opens on Memorial Highway near the Liberty Memorial Bridge (demolished in 2006)
  • Northbrook Mall opens with Tempo and Red Owl Grocer anchoring. It is North Dakota’s first fully enclosed shopping center.
  • Rosa Young Park is dedicated on June 22. In October, a U.S. Navy F9F Panther aircraft is put on display at the park, where it remains until 1981, citing safety reasons due to its deteriorating condition.
  • Burleigh County Armory is constructed adjacent to Bismarck Junior College.


  • Veterans Memorial Library (aka Bismarck Public Library) opens, replacing Carnegie Library opened in 1918
  • First Federal Savings & Loan completed construction of its new headquarters (now American Bank Center)


  • Tom O’leary Golf Course opens
  • A second JCPenney store opens at the northwest corner of Main & 6th, in a building formerly used by Universal Motors (later McCarney Ford). The location emphasizes auto service, appliances, and hardware merchandise.
  • William Guy Federal Building opens, supplementing the original Federal Building built in 1913 (September)
  • Scotty’s Drive-In opens (September)
  • Grimsrud Elementary opens, named for educator T.S. Grimsrud.


  • Grant Marsh Bridge opens, completing Interstate 94 through Bismarck
  • Dakota Malting & Brewing Company, best known for its Dakota Beer product, closes after only four years.
  • Former St. George’s Episcopal Church (Bread of Life Church) relocates to Camp Hancock. It is North Dakota’s oldest remaining church.


  • Bismarck is hit by its largest and most memorable blizzard, which lasted three days and buried the city (March)
  • MDU announces intentions to relocate its headquarters from Minneapolis to Bismarck.


  • Wachter Junior High opens, named for the Wachter family who donated 10 acres of land for construction of the namesake junior high and Dorothy Moses Elementary.
  • Bismarck Civic Center is approved, and construction begins
  • General Sibley Park opens
  • A new First Presbyterian Church opens on 3rd Street, and its iconic 1885-built church is demolished.


  • MDU completes construction of its new downtown Bismarck headquarters on Rosser Avenue.
  • Department of Transportation Building is completed on the State Capitol Grounds


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