Bismarck is rich in history…
Did you know — there was a Bismarck, before there was even a North Dakota??
Heidi Werosta took a look back at our Capitol City on this — 146th Birthday.
Bismarck first became a city before the state of North Dakota and that dates back 146 years.
Bismarck became a city in 1872.
And it’s on the map because of railroads.
Walt Bailey, Bismarck Historical Society, says, “It happened because that railroad was coming from essentially Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and wanted to go west from there to Seattle. This seemed like the shortest route.”
Bailey says the railroad immediately drew an interest in settlement.
Plus, there was the Missouri….a liquid highway that attracted the immigrants.
The booming town soon created a name for itself, Edwinton.
Bailey says, “Chancellor Bismarck of Germany was seeking foreign investment for the German entrepreneur. They thought maybe if we change the name of our town from Edwinton to Bismarck maybe the chancellor would send some money our way.”
And from there it became Bismarck in 1873. The chancellor never did accept the offer.
Bailey says, “He did send an interesting letter thanking the people of Bismarck for giving him the honor for naming this community after him.”
The population of Bismarck grew over time — to nearly 70,000 people today.
John Warford, former Bismarck Mayor, says, “We’ve seen a lot of change with regard to our population a very diverse population. It’s kind of a hidden secret that Bismarck is a diverse area, but it appeals to a lot of different people. Bismarck is a fantastic place!”
Maybe that’s because Bismarck is in the middle of the state and geographically in an ideal location for North Dakota.
The name Edwinton — came from the chief engineer from Northern Pacific Railroad.
Bismarck was once also the capitol of the Dakota territory that included — North and South Dakota and parts of Montana and Wyoming.