Skip to main navigation.

September 2019: Reader Reply

What’s your favorite piece of North Dakota history?

My favorite part of North Dakota’s history is set in the 1940s, with North Dakota’s impact during and after World War II. In 1943, our state led the nation for war bond purchases per capita, and our universities adapted to provide training for machinists, officers, pilots, medics and radio operators! We trained patriotic citizens to build ships, serve on the battlefield, and heal the wounded.

Even after the war, North Dakota made an impact by growing surplus crops to feed the hungry families of Europe, whose own crops were destroyed during the war. Our little state made a big difference. Our fertile croplands and eager citizens boosted the war effort, and the recovery rate of the war-torn world.

My favorite part of North Dakota’s history is when my home state pushed back against the enemy, and nursed a world crushed by war back to health.

Michaela Gessele, parent is a member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative

I have three favorite pieces of North Dakota history.

The first is the fact that North Dakota people started the North Dakota Mill and Elevator. They felt that they were being cheated, because their farm products were not given a fair price.

The second is the Bank of North Dakota. Again, the early pioneers were in command of their future by establishing a state-owned bank.

The third and most visual to me is the land reclamation of the coal mines. Gov. Art Link guided the Legislature to have the land reclaimed after the coal was removed. That was a new idea, because the land had previously been strip mined and left in spoils.

I am proud of those hardy pioneers who called themselves North Dakota residents.

Claudia Schneider, member of Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative

My favorite part of North Dakota history is the Chateau de Mores, in Medora. Our history teacher told us about it and I was amazed. A couple months later, when we went to Medora, I begged Mom to take me to the Chateau, and she agreed.

While I was there, a woman acted like the marquise and told us about the life in the Badlands, hunting and the cattle business. I love horses, so my favorite thing in the house was the marquise’s sidesaddle. History has always been my favorite subject in school, and I am always fascinated!

Katherine Devney, age 10
Daughter of Carmen and John Devney, members of Capital Electric Cooperative


A special part of North Dakota history is the American Legion, celebrating 100 years of existence this year. Throughout these many years, thousands of veterans have returned to their home and they continue to honor comrades who gave their lives for our freedom.

Betty Steinberger, member of Verendrye Electric Cooperative

The history of our state’s three-legged stool approach of teaching, research and Extension to support its citizens’ pursuit of a quality of life for themselves, their families, farms, businesses and communities fascinates me.

Our land grant institution, North Dakota State University (NDSU), was made possible by the Morrill Act of 1862. The act granted 30,000 acres of federal land to each state. With it, they were to establish colleges that would integrate liberal arts and sciences with practical, mechanical and industrial sciences to support several pursuits and professions in life.

The Hatch Act of 1887 established research centers to advance the development and improvement of the rural home and rural life, and maximize agriculture for the welfare of consumers.

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 paved the way for federal, state and local/county entities to work together to reach all the people in the state with useful and practical education, information and resources.

That “reaching out” created an “extension” of the land grant university and research centers, and its connection with the people. Today, these colleges remain true to their mission in serving the people of our state and helping them reach and maintain a good quality of life by addressing problems and issues through academic, research and Extension programs.

Cindy Klapperich, member of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative

OCTOBER: As we celebrate Cooperative Month in
October, tell us about your favorite thing about your electric cooperative.
Submission deadline: Sept. 9

NOVEMBER:  What technology being innovated in North Dakota impresses you the most?
Submission deadline: Oct. 10

We want to hear from you: Submissions should be no more than 250 words, typewritten or in legible handwriting. Include your name, complete address, daytime phone number and the name of the rural electric cooperative to which you belong. Note: Magazine staff reserves the right to make editing changes and cuts. We pay $25 for each letter we print. Email to or mail to READER REPLY, North Dakota Living, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727.