NODAKinfo

North Dakota Eclectics

Historic Sites
Although this section of the NODAKinfo site pertains to the North Dakota Indian people, up through the Early Historic Period, I will include other historic sites here as well.
Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail
From 1877 to 1880, the Bismarck-Deadwood Stage ran between Bismarck, the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Black Hills gold town of Deadwood in Dakota Territory.

After the Custer expedition discovered gold in the Black Hills in 1874, a route for shipping supplies and transporting gold seekers to the Black Hills became necessary. In late 1876, a treaty opened the Black Hills to white Americans, the territorial legislature authorized the construction of a road connecting Bismarck with Deadwood and, in 1877, the Northern Pacific Railway Company formed the Northwest Express and Transportation Company to open a 240-mile trail to Deadwood.

The first stagecoaches left Bismarck on April 11, 1877, carrying sixty-eight passengers. Regular stages began running three times a week, beginning May 2, 1877, and before long they were running daily. The company operated twenty-six coaches and freight wagons, and was also awarded a mail contract. A large headquarters building was built in Bismarck, employing one hundred and seventy-five people.

The stagecoach boom ended suddenly when the railroad reached Pierre, South Dakota. In 1880, the company moved most of its equipment to Pierre, and opened an alternate line, cutting service on the Bismarck line back to three stagecoaches a week, then abandoning it altogether. All that remains are a few wagon ruts that have been preserved, and the ruins of several stage stations.

The Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail historic marker can be found at a roadside stop on the north side of Highway 21, half a mile east of Flasher, North Dakota.
Brenner Crossing State Historic Site
Brenner Crossing State Historic Site is located near the military trail linking Fort Totten, near Devils Lake, to Fort Seward, near Jamestown, although the actual river crossing was several miles away, on the Sheyenne River. The actual site is northeast of New Rockford, in Eddy County, but it is unmarked, with no visible remnants of the trail or any other archaeological features.

Brenner Crossing was named for Ernest William Brenner, who came to the United States from Germany with his parents in 1848, settling in Boston, Massachusetts. He served as a page for two Massachusetts governors, and later became a scout for General Banks, and a clerk for the adjutant general. In 1868, he became the post trader at Fort Totten, remaining at the fort until 1882, when he began farming on the south bank of the Sheyenne River, along the Fort Totten-Fort Seward Trail.

In addition to farming, Brenner ran a river crossing, established a post office, and served as postmaster. His enterprise was not a financial success and, in April of 1887, he was appointed government agent at the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. The Brenner post office was discontinued on April 23, 1887.
Camp Hancock State Historic Site
The Camp Hancock State Historic Site is located at 101 East Main Avenue in Bismarck. The site preserves a portion of the military installation that was established as Camp Greeley in 1872 to provide protection for the work crews that were building the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1873, its name was changed to Camp Hancock.

Today, a log headquarters site stands on the site, although it has been enlarged and remodeled several times, and the logs have been concealed by clapboard siding. The building serves as an interpretive museum for artifacts and information about local history.
Cannonball Stage Station State Historic Site
The Cannonball Stage Station was the fifth stop, after Bismarck, on the Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail, which linked the westernmost stop of the Northern Pacific Railroad at Bismarck to the gold fields of the Black Hills. Built in 1877 by the Northwest Express and Transportation Company, the stage station overlooked the Cannonball River fifteen miles southeast of Carson, in Grant County, North Dakota.

When the Northern Pacific Railway ended its tracks at Bismarck in 1873, the town became the collecting point for travelers heading west or south. In 1877, one of the commercial transportation modes was a stagecoach line. Because it ran directly to the gold fields of the Black Hills, the Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Line became a huge success, but only for three years.

By early summer in 1877, the stages were running daily. Whenever a stage arrived at the Cannonball Station, spent horses were replaced with fresh teams, and passengers were able to stretch and get something to eat. Although this station was not as well equipped as the overnight stop at Cedar Creek, there was a barn and a log building. It also served as home for one employee.

Today, visitors to the site will find the remains of two dugouts, thought to be of the station building and another unknown building, as well as the rectangular outline of the barn.
Chateau de Mores State Historic Site
The Chateau de Mores is a 26-room, two-story frame building built in 1883 as a summer residence for the family of Antoine de Vallombrosa, the Marquis de Mores, who arrived in 1883, building a beef packing plant, a stagecoach line, a freight company, refrigerated railway cars, a cattle and sheep operation, and a new town that he named for his wife, Medora.

The Marquis de Mores was a French aristocrat who came to make his fortune in the cattle industry. His plan was to slaughter range cattle at Medora, and ship the dressed meat east in refrigerated rail cars. Although his meat-packing scheme, along with his empire, collapsed in 1886, the town that he created remains.

The Chateau now serves as a house museum, holding many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the de Mores family. Tours of the house are available during the summer months. There is a fee for admission. On Saturdays and Sundays, from June to August, free twenty-minute monologues are presented on the porch of the Chateau.

Other related attractions include a site, on the western edge of Medora, that once contained the plant, slaughterhouse, three icehouses, several outbuildings, a railroad spur track, and a corral. The building burned in 1907, leaving the tall, native clay brick chimney standing.

The old Billings County Courthouse building, also in Medora, was originally a residence, with two apartments and a common storage area between them. When it became a courthouse, the original central unit was enlarged, and the south wing served as a jail. In 1913, a second floor was added. The building served as the county courthouse until 1983, when a new one was built. It currently serves as a museum. On Saturdays and Sundays, from June through August, professional actors present a museum drama that takes place in the old courtroom of the museum.

From early June through early September, a scenic half-hour stage coach tour along the river bottomland of the Little Missouri River is available. The historic Medora to Deadwood stagecoach line was in operation in the early 1880s.
Crowley Flint Quarry State Historic Site
Located in Mercer County, the Crowley Flint Quarry State Historic Site preserves a part of a large area from which the Indians quarried Knife River Flint that was used to make stone tools, or for trade. For more than 11,000 years, the Indians dug into gravel deposits in western North Dakota seeing the flint, which is a coffee-colored, translucent stone. Several of these quarry pits are preserved at this site, located near Golden Valley, North Dakota.

Knife River Flint was prized for its color and its ability to hold an edge, but the only source for it was along Knife River and Spring Creek, in North Dakota. That the material was used in trade is evident in the fact that artifacts made from Knife River Flint have been found in archaeological sites as far away as Pennsylvania.

At Crowley Flint Quarry, rounded holes mark the locations where flint was removed by prehistoric stone quarriers. Several depressions, nine feet across and up to three feet deep, show the industry of these people. The first Ice Age inhabitants of the area dug shallow pits in the glacial gravel in order to remove cobbles of the stone, and later Indians had to dig deeper in order to find suitable flint cobbles.

Unfortunately, the site is not clearly marked, and most of the quarry is on private land, including the access road, it is closed to the public.
David Thompson State Historic Site
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, sapien platea morbi dolor lacus nunc, nunc ullamcorper. Felis aliquet egestas vitae, nibh ante quis quis dolor sed mauris. Erat lectus sem ut lobortis, adipiscing ligula eleifend, sodales fringilla mattis dui nullam. Ac massa aliquet.
Insert Title Here
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, sapien platea morbi dolor lacus nunc, nunc ullamcorper. Felis aliquet egestas vitae, nibh ante quis quis dolor sed mauris. Erat lectus sem ut lobortis, adipiscing ligula eleifend, sodales fringilla mattis dui nullam. Ac massa aliquet.
Insert Title Here
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, sapien platea morbi dolor lacus nunc, nunc ullamcorper. Felis aliquet egestas vitae, nibh ante quis quis dolor sed mauris. Erat lectus sem ut lobortis, adipiscing ligula eleifend, sodales fringilla mattis dui nullam. Ac massa aliquet.
Insert Title Here
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, sapien platea morbi dolor lacus nunc, nunc ullamcorper. Felis aliquet egestas vitae, nibh ante quis quis dolor sed mauris. Erat lectus sem ut lobortis, adipiscing ligula eleifend, sodales fringilla mattis dui nullam. Ac massa aliquet.

Of Interest