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Heritage of North Dakota

Exploring Historic Sites in the Peace Garden State



The colorful history of North Dakota far predates its admittance into the United States in 1889.

Many museums, heritage sites, and even the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail take visitors to the days of the Dakota Territory and Scandinavian influence – not to mention the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and General Custer.

Many cities feature – or are adjacent to – a historical site well worth the visit. Whether you’re heading to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota State University, or cities like Minot, Mandan, and Dickinson, there’s always something to explore in North Dakota.


The capital of North Dakota, Bismarck is a historic city first founded in 1872. As the capital city, Bismarck is home to several heritage sites worth visiting.

The tallest building in the state, the North Dakota State Capitol is a 19-story structure set in central Bismarck. Surrounded by government buildings, walking trails, and monuments, the capitol building is the epicenter of this 160-acre campus.

Tours of NDSC are held throughout the year – Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and weekends during the summer.

Found on the NDSC campus, the free North Dakota Heritage Center is the state’s official history museum, and is home to the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Known as the Hub of History, the NDHC was opened in 1967, and features natural history exhibits like Corridor of Time – plus art displays and traveling exhibits.


The largest city in North Dakota, Fargo puts visitors in the footsteps of Dakota pioneers thanks to fascinating museums and historical state parks.

Set near Hector International Airport, the Fargo Air Museum strives to preserve historic aircrafts in eastern North Dakota. The museum features a full replica of the Wright Brothers flyer, plus plenty of aircraft on display each day.

Another Fargo museum showcases the life of famed New York Yankee Roger Maris – a Fargo native. The Roger Maris Museum exhibits memorabilia and film on the man best known for breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record.

For a little outdoor fun in North Dakota, visit Fort Abercrombie State Park – just 35 miles south of Fargo. The Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site is known as the Gateway to the Dakotas, and was the site for the 1862 Dakota Conflict – just after the fort was established in 1857.


Set in western North Dakota, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located just west of Dickinson along Interstate 94. Covering 110-square-miles, TRNP is divided into three parts: North Unit, South Unit, and Elkhorn Ranch Unit.

TRNP features an array of outdoor activity, including backpacking, wildlife viewing, and exploring Roosevelt's Maltese Cross Cabin. Summer recreation includes fishing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and horseback riding, while winter activities involve cross-country skiing and snowshoeing – a favorite pastime of Roosevelt.


North Dakota’s fourth largest city, Minot is home to some unique historic sites for visitors and residents alike.

Set in Minot, the Scandinavian Heritage Park is said to be the only park to represent all five Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Don’t miss the Gol Stave Church replica, the Leif Eirikssen statue, or the Plaza Scandinavia – a large granite map of Scandinavia.

If you’re looking for a day trip, the International Peace Garden is less than two hours northeast of Minot. Set on the border with Canada, the garden features an 18-foot floral clock, the Carillon Tower, and even remains of the World Trade Center. Visitors may also explore the North American Game Warden Museum, or the garden itself – where 150,000 flowers are planted each year.


Set across the Missouri River from Bismarck in central North Dakota, Mandan is part of the Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Statistical Area. Founded in 1879, Mandan features nearby historic sites ideal for history lovers.

Set seven miles south of town, the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park was established in 1907 – with President Theodore Roosevelt’s signature on the deed. This 1,006-acre park is home to the On-A-Slant Indian Village, and a full-scale replica of the General Custer House – hourly tours are available for both.

Set north of Mandan along the Missouri River, Double Ditch Indian Village is an earthlodge village and former home to the Mandan Indians. Visitors may see the remains of this village, and may discover walking paths and interpretive signage.


Best Western Hotels Along the Way:


Best Western Plus Kelly Inn & Suites

1767 44th Street S, Fargo ND 58103-7440
Phone: +1 701-282-2143  |  Fax: +1 701-282-2143  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Kelly Inn

1510 26th Avenue SW, Minot ND 58701-6907
Phone: +1 701-852-4300  |  Fax: +1 701-852-4300  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Williston Hotel & Suites

4201 4th Avenue West, Williston ND 58801
Phone: +1 701-572-8800  |  Fax: (701) 572-8801  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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