Bismarck, North Dakota

00 Bismarck Capitol lawn statue.C jpgBismarck, North Dakota

  • North Dakota became a state November 2, 1889, the 39th state admitted to the Union.
  • Bismarck became state capital: 1889
  • Bismarck incorporated: 1872
  • Name Origin: Named for Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), Chancellor of Germany

Mandan tribes settled here in 1575. Lewis and Clark camped near here in 1804. First known as Missouri Crossing, then Edwinton, in 1873 Henry Villard, Secretary of Northern Pacific Railroad, renamed the city Bismarck. He sent a map of the new settlement to Germany’s Chancellor – Prince Baron Otto Eduard Leopold Von Bismarck-Schoenhausen – in hopes of attracting German investment capital for building a transcontinental railroad. That didn’t happen, but throughout the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th, farmers immigrated to the area from Germany. Today the ancestry group in this rich farming region is 47 percent German.

The capitol, called the Skyscraper of the Prairies, was completed in 1934. It is 18 stories high and has an observation tower and exotic wood paneling in its distinctive interior. On the expansive grounds are the North Dakota Heritage Center, showing the settlement of the northern Great Plains, and statues of The Pioneer Family and Sakakawea.

The Lewis & Clark Riverboat offers cruises on the Missouri River; at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, re-creations allow a glimpse of the Mandan settlement that Lewis and Clark came upon in 1805 at On-A-Slant Village. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is to the west on I-94.

Things To Love About Bismarck

The no-nonsense simple way of life, the hearty German style and Knoephla soup, the Indian Village on a Slant, the legends and the truths of Sakakawea and Pomp, the golden sunflowers nodding in the sun, the farming and the growing things.

Blogs To Read About Bismarck

Lay of the Land

Beyond Numbers


Do You Like Spaghetti?

Good Things Come in Threes

Sit Down and Eat!

Whimsy Does It

He Called Her Janey

Bismarck’s Big Block

Capital City Basics

  • Population: 61,272, 35th largest in population of the 50 capital cities
  • Population density: 1,986 persons per square mile
  • Land area of city: 30.85 square miles
  • Elevation: 1,680 feet, 8th highest in elevation of the 50 capital cities
  • Normal high/low temps: January 23/2, July 85/57. Annual rainfall: 18 inches
  • Time Zone: Central
  • Water near: Missouri River
  • Mountains near: Killdeer and Turtle; White Butte, in the southwest corner of the state, is the highest point in North Dakota at 3,506 feet.
  • Miles to three nearest State Capitals: Pierre SD 210; Saint Paul, MN 438; Cheyenne, WY 605
  • Miles to National Capitol in Washington, DC: 1,534

Population Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 61,272           Population
  • 20.8%           Under 18
  • 15.4%            Over 65
  • 0.6%              Asian
  • 0.7%              Black
  • 1.3%              Hispanic/Latino
  • 4.5%              Native Alaskan or American Indian
  • 0.0%             Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 91.6%           White

Education Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 4.8%             English Not Spoken at Home
  • 92.3%           High School Graduate
  • 32.3%           Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Economic Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 10.6%             Below Poverty Level
  • $29,503         Per Capita Income
  • $50,062         Median Household Income
  • $151,400        Median Value of Home
  • 65.5%             Home Ownership

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