Welcome to Digital Minot: An On-Line Museum of Local History!


What is Digital Minot and why was the project established?

Digital Minot was created and proposed by Dr. Bethany Andreasen, Professor of History at Minot State University.  In an effort to engage student research more wholly with Minot State University’s surrounding communities, Professor Andreasen proposed that student historical projects and materials should be digitized and made accessible to the public at large rather than stored in closets and boxes.  The Great Plains Center for Community Research & Service stepped up to support Andreasen’s idea and funded the project.


University students engage in professional practice of their historical research and writing skills through an interactive project with individuals from the region in which they live, thus increasing their awareness and understanding of the distinctiveness and development of the region.  Student researchers have collected many of the materials found on this site and created distinct exhibits on individual topics.


We welcome you to explore Digital Minot's materials and records including: historical photos, postcards, newspaper articles, advertisements, scholarly journals, legal documents, oral histories, and biographies.


A Brief Synopsis of Minot's History:

The network of rivers that run across the Great Plains were formed by massive glaciers and their movements following the meltdown of the Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago.  Since then, the area has been traversed by man.  Naturally, it is easier and more productive to farm, trade and transport goods near waterways.  Thus, first (prior to westward expansion), Native Americans settled along the Souris River.  Dr. Gerard Baker, “former superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and full-blood member of the Mandan-Hidatsa Tribe of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Mandaree, North Dakota,” stated that his ancestors always warned not to live near the river.  However, when hemispheres collided, explorers, homesteaders, and pioneers thrust upon the midwest inevitably settling near main waterways.  The railroad also connected east to west and helped to bring about small settlements.  One such area was settled along the soutside of the Mouse River by an immigrant from Norway: Erik Ramstad.  Ramstad was the first to welcome rail pioneers and sold a parcel of 40 acres to Solomon Comstock and Almond White (lead team members of Empire Builder James Hill) in 1886. The rest is history.


The area now known as Minot, the “Magic City,” is set in a hidden valley just sixty miles south of the Canadian border, and 145 miles east of Montana.  As part of the “Western Frontier” and homestead expansion, Empire Builder James J. Hill, owner of the St. Paul Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad, and New Englander and financier Henry D. Minot, teamed up to build a stretch of tracks across the flat plains around 1886.  Within one year, “St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway established a depot (future Soo Line Depot) in Minot opening the door to the future arrival of coach and baggage cars.” (Gavett) Minot was the last stop on the steel tracks and at first, a pit-stop to refuel workers, travelers and their animals.  Hotels, saloons, eateries and a watering fountain, would be the first of many accommodations and businesses set-up as the backbone of a soon-to-be thriving city. 


How do I navigate Digital Minot?

When navigating this site, the very first item posted is actually the very last or most recent item uploaded.  Therefore, when viewing items within the "Browse Items" or "Browse Collections" tabs, to explore the next item, click on "Previous Item," instead of "Next."  While previewing exhibits, click on any image to reveal a more detailed description.


How can I determine the location of an historical image or event?

Many of the items have a viewable Geolocation link for further exploration.  For those items that are mapped, click on the map found in the bottom left corner of the page.  The viewable red bubble pinpoints the general location of an address and/or building within a specific area.


How can I contribute historical materials or information to Digital Minot?

The “Contribute an Item” tab is an area that allows for further community engagement by permitting you to contribute items and/or information to the project.  Items delivered through this system will be monitored by the project coordinator, and those found to be historically authentic will be posted on the site.  We also invite you to contribute information relevant to the history of any item currently on display.


To contribute an item, click on the "Contribute an Item" tab, and select from the "Select Below" box.  You can either select a "Document, Photo, or Other Than Photo," then click twice for the next set of boxes to open.  You will then fill in the item's: Subject, Title, Creator, and Date of Origination.


Who can I contact about Digital Minot?

To contact the Digital Minot Team, click on the "Contact Us" tab on the top of the screen. Fill in the displayed blocks which include your name, e-mail address, and message.  For added security, you might also have to type in words found in the CAPTCHA box.  Finally, click "Send Message."  You will receive a response to your message during normal business hours which are Monday through Friday, 08:00 to 17:00 Central Standard Time.