Posts Tagged ‘Bismarck’


Hit The Trail

Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Sacagawea was the original backpacker. She just slapped that little baby Pomp onto her back and struck out across the hills. The only female in the (likely) crude and smelly crew of Men on a Mission for the President, she trekked westward with skill and patience, all the while nursing a baby and nurturing them all. Reckon she ever thought she’d be famous? With a statue of herself and her baby in Statuary Hall in our national capitol? And that she and Pomp would be portrayed on a US Treasury gold dollar? (The only baby featured on a coin, by the way.) I love the story of this woman, who has more schools and creeks and monuments named to her honor than any other woman in the United States. That’s why I am particularly honored myself to have my picture of her statue featured on a US National Park poster. No fooling! Ryan Cooper, a geographer for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, asked my permission to use a photo from my August 27, 2012 blog, He Called Her Janey, written while I was in Bismarck, North Dakota. “I want to use it on a poster celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016,” he explained. I was pleased to grant him that permission. And I am pleased to share with you the poster he created. Isn’t it great?

Ryan’s 2016 Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail campaign is available for you to follow on Facebook and other social media. And to learn more about this 3,700-mile trail that passes through 11 states and includes more than 100 sites, go to the NPS website, How close is the site nearest you? » read more


What a Country!

My Pierre Friends Mel and Jason

Linda Burton posting from Denver, Colorado – It’s my last day in Denver, a day I’ll use to summarize. The Journey Across America is now thirty percent complete! That’s right; fifteen capital cities visited, enjoyed, and lived in. I’ve encountered some surprises that didn’t match my plan, such as temperatures over a hundred degrees – I thought I’d be far enough north to avoid that in August! But the Dakotas did me in: Bismarck 105, Pierre 103. And I didn’t plan for Alex Cat to nearly die on me, or to get sick myself, but hey, our bodies falter, every now and then; we’re better now. I had an interesting thought as I came east across the Continental Divide into Helena, Montana, capital city number eleven. It occurred to me that only nine capital cities lie west of the Divide, and I’ve now been to all of them. I’ve lived in Phoenix, Sacramento, Carson City, Salt Lake City, Boise, Salem, Honolulu, Olympia, and Juneau. And I’m amazed that so much of the land, and the resources, that make up our country is found in a rather small number of states. Think of it. » read more


Bismarck’s Big Block

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – If it’s Sunday you take a picnic and the family, or meet your friends for a game of touch football. If it’s a workday, you join your coworkers for a brisk hike around the grounds, your choice of trails; walk a mile or two during lunch. If it’s the dead of winter with snow on the ground, you might join 8,962 townspeople to make angels in the snow as you set a new Guinness World Record. You can do those things when you have large tree-lined open spaces that are designated for public use. And that’s what they have in Bismarck. They started out with 160 acres back in 1883, deeded to North Dakota Territory by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Today the property is still ample – 132 acres – and on it sits the North Dakota state capitol, along with the North Dakota Heritage Center, the State Office Building, the Department of Transportation, and the Governor’s Residence. With lots of space left over for parks, and trails, and fresh-cut grass. » read more


He Called Her Janey

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – Is it Sacajawea? Or Sacagawea? I’ve seen it spelled both ways as I have been bumping into Lewis and Clark of late. And now, here in Bismarck, the statue near the capitol honoring the “Bird Woman” has a spelling of “Sakakawea.”(pronounced Sa KAH- kah-we-a.) I was told at the Heritage Center that North Dakota chose this spelling and pronunciation because it more closely matches the Shoshone sound of her name. Yet, when I traveled north to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, North Dakota, I found exhibits there use the spelling of “Sacagawea.” The Bismarck statue, erected in 1910 by the Federated Clubwomen and the Schoolchildren of North Dakota, bestows great honor on the young woman; the plaque reads: The Shoshone Indian “Bird Woman” who in 1805 guided the Lewis and Clark Expedition from the Missouri River to the Yellowstone. The exhibit in Washburn, just completed this year, grants her a smaller role; presented in terms of “Legend” and “Fact,” it states she was not a guide, but an interpreter; and that William Clark, though fond of her, was not a romantic relationship. But, it is acknowledged, he called her Janey. » read more



Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – I got a mouthful of information from City Portrait on Bismarck’s official website. It says “On July 17, 1873, Bismarck was named in honor of Germany’s “Iron Chancellor” Prince Baron Otto Eduard Leopold Von Bismarck-Schoenhausen, a famous German statesman from Prussia, credited with the creation of the German Empire and serving as her first chancellor.” I wanted to make the connection between Bismarck’s name and the area around Bismarck known as “the German-Russian Triangle.” It’s also called the “Sauerkraut Triangle,” and is one of the most homogeneous ethnic German-Russian enclaves in existence today; in six North Dakota counties at least 75 percent of the people claim German ancestry. So, why was Bismarck named Bismarck? It’s a story of enticement, and railroads. » read more


Lay of the Land

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – I vaguely remember crossing the Missouri River coming into town on Friday; the GPS was on the blink so I was paying more attention to road signs than anything else. I also vaguely remember crossing a Time Zone advisory; it happened just a few miles before I got to town. For a reason I don’t know yet, half of North Dakota is on Mountain Time; the other half on Central. So, to orient myself, I’m on Central Time now, I’m east of the Missouri River; and I’m in the prairie. It is flat here. From the top of the freeway overpass I can see a hundred miles in every direction. Flat. Today I’m studying the map I got from the front desk. The weather report I hear on TV refers to Bismarck-Mandan; studying the map I can see why. Bismarck is in Burleigh County; Mandan is just across the river in Morton County to the west. But for purposes of weather, and entertainment, they seem to function as one and the same. The State Capitol (in Bismarck) is only blocks from I-94, take State Street south, turn right. It’s the first high-rise capitol on the Journey, 19 stories rising up above the plains. The Heritage Center, North Dakota’s state museum, is right beside. I see that the Bismarck Expressway circles south below the main part of town and over into Mandan; another bridge across the Missouri. » read more


Sky High

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – “Everything’s high in Bismarck,” was the answer I got. “Just wait till you see the price of orange juice when you go to the store.” I’d anticipated summer tourist room rates in Honolulu and Juneau, but Bismarck rates were a surprise. I was too tired last night to look elsewhere; I only removed from the car the items that would get us through the night. My room was sparkling clean and modern, tastefully furnished, overlooking a pretty rock garden and a row of trees between the building and the street. But it was not much bigger than its double bed; there was no work space for my computer; how could I live in such a tight space for two weeks? The manager brought a table and a chair and an extension cord; I thanked him yet began an online search for a bigger place, at a better rate. I found no better deal, but I found the answer to my question “Why so high?” It’s Williston, North Dakota, some 200 miles northwest of here. Williston is called Kuwait on the Prairie now, where 100 new oil wells are drilled every day by some 150 oil companies that have come here since 2006. Sister, there’s an oil boom going on. » read more


She’s Here!

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “I ate at my first Applebee’s on that trip,” Matthew reminisced during Tuesday’s final goodbyes before I headed for Helena. Grandson Matt was referring to our trip of 2001, when he was almost 10 and we went to three capital cities and three national parks in a three-week period. Helena, Bismarck, and Pierre were the capitals; Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Badlands were the parks. I chuckled that he remembered the Helena Applebee’s stop; he didn’t want to go to an unfamiliar place but I promised an oreo shake. He tried something new, and he loved it; the next day we visited the capitol. He loved that too. Little did we know that day just how it would affect our lives. Matt is 20 now; he’s studying Japanese with plans to head for Japan next year for more study; he plans to live there, and teach. Matt’s vision expanded under the wide-open skies of Montana; my vision expanded by watching a kid in a capitol. That’s why I’m here today. » read more