Browse Exhibits (11 total)


Sawyer, North Dakota is a small town fifteen miles southeast of Minot.  It is located along the Mouse River and close to a long stretch of railroad tracks; this transportation access provided much of the motivation for the small town's settlement.  Sawyer owes its rapid population growth at the start of the twentieth century to the railroad and the businesses located on Main Street (today's Dakota Avenue).

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Minot State University

Minot State University, located in the heart of the Magic City, began its rich history in 1913.  It started as a Normal School, offering a two-year program for teachers as well as high school level coursework for students coming from rural school districts. Through the years, Minot State University operated under a number of different names becoming Minot State College in 1964 and Minot State University in 1987. Along the way, Minot State University has increased its academic offerings to include masters programs in eight fields while remaining true to its original goal of equipping graduates with the skills needed to succeed in their professional lives.

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Downtown Minot

Minot, the “Magic City,” set in a hidden valley just sixty miles south of the Canadian border and 145 miles east of Montana, began its rich history in the 1880s as part of the western frontier in the homesteading era.  Empire Builder James J. Hill, owner of the St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba Railway (later the Great Northern Railway) and New Englander and financier Henry D. Minot began a stretch of tracks across the flat plains around 1886.  Within one year, the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway established a depot in Minot, opening the door to the future arrival of coach and baggage cars. Today's downtown Minot was the last stop on the steel tracks, until Gasman Coulee was conquered by construction of a trestle bridge, once more allowing the laying of track to the west.  As such, Minot served as a place to refuel workers, travelers and their animals.

Even after the completion of the railway line to Seattle, Minot remained an important stop.  Hotels, saloons, eateries and a watering fountain would be among the many businesses and services established as the backbone of a soon-to-be thriving city.

Please visit one of the sections below to view a historical snapshot of Downtown Minot.

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Minot Public Schools

The Minot Public Schools are operated by the district school board according to the laws of North Dakota, which provide  for free public education for all school-aged children.

The Minot Public School District consists of thirteen elementary schools, three middle schools, and a high school on three campuses. Three of the schools (two elementary schools and one middle school) are located at Minot Air Force Base, fifteen miles north of the "Magic City".

The ten elementary schools (K-5) within the city are Bel Air, Edison, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Longfellow, McKinley, Perkett, Roosevelt, Sunnyside, and Washington. Two more elementary schools (K-6) are on Minot Air Force Base: Dakota and North Plains. Bell School, which is located five miles east of Minot, was added to the district in 2008.

There are three middle schools within the Minot school system. Two are located in the city of Minot and include grades 6-8: Jim Hill in southwest Minot  and Erik Ramstad in north Minot. The third school, Memorial Middle School (grades 7-8), is located on Minot Air Force Base.

The city also has one high school, Minot High School, but it is divided between campuses.  Central Campus (grades 9-10) occupies the original high school building in downtown Minot. On the southwest side of the city is Magic City Campus (grades 11-12), just west of Jim Hill Middle School.  Central Campus PLUS and Souris River Campus both serve as alternative high schools.  The Minot Public School District also operates an Adult Learning Center .

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Minot Park District

The Minot Park District was established on August 28, 1911 by the City of Minot's Ordinance #53.  The first Park Board was elected on September 26, 1911 and held its first meeting on October 3, 1911.  It began purchasing land for parks in the summer of 1912 with funds collected through bonds sold on April 2, 1912 to the bidder with the lowest interest rate: The State of North Dakota at 4% interest.

The Minot Park District currently includes:

Five community parks

Bicentennial Park, Oak Park, Polaris Park, Roosevelt Park, Roosevelt Park Zoo

Eight neighborhood parks

11th and 11th Park, Green Valley, Hammond Park, Leach Park, Moose Park Radio City Park Riverside Park Rosey Rink

Eight open space parks

Bison Plant Property, Centennial Woods, Jefferson Park, Milla Vista Park, Nubbin Park, Overlook Property, Sunnyside Park, Via View Park

It also includes baseball parks and fields, a softball complex, a soccer complex, a dog park, indoor and outdoor ice rinks, two golf courses (one full-size course for adults and a smaller course for youth), and twenty acres of undeveloped land owned by the city, for a combined total of 740 acres.

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A Century at Minot State

1985 pg. 47 hartnett hall.jpg

Minot State’s history is long and rich.  The campus has grown exponentially both academically and structurally.  From a two-year Normal School focused only on educating teachers, MSU has continually evolved and expanded its mission.

This centennial exhibit highlights the history of Minot State by examining historical developments over its century of existence, including snapshots of activities at Minot State during each decade, the changing names and missions of the institution, and the development of the campus and its buildings.

A few exhibit pages are currently under construction.  Please enjoy what is here now, and come back soon to see what has been added.

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Mystery Images

We need your help!  This exhibit showcases a series of black and white photographs that we know very little about.  A letter dated November 17, 1926 was located nearby, and may or may not be connected to the photographs.

The photographs were printed from film negatives found during work on a Minot home after the 2011 flood, and forwarded to the Digital Minot Project by a Minot resident, Mark Hildahl.  The address of the flooded home is 314 9th Street NW. 

The photographs in the collection appear to be of some sort of ceremonial and/or community event that included games and races.  A few images include farming equipment and automobiles.   There are representations of at least three cultures: Native Americans, Norwegians, and Scots.  The photographs were probably taken during the early part of the twentieth century.

The letter is from B.J. Franklin (the end of the surname is missing, but it seems likely that it is indeed Franklin) at the Minot Daily News.  He signed the letter as "Burt".  The letter was sent to Miss Emma Zerahn of St. Paul, who was his girlfriend--perhaps his fiancee, since the letter talks about buying a ring.  The letter wound up back in Minot, so we assume that the two of them did indeed marry and settled in Minot.

If you know anything about the people, place or event in this collection, please feel free to contact us.  We would like to add your contribution to this exhibit.  You can utilize the "Contact Us" tab or email


Minot Symphony Orchestra

A history of the Minot Symphony Orchestra, including some of the people who have been important to its creation, development, and continued existence.

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Women Pioneer Teachers of the Northern Plains, 1880-1930

An exhibit on teaching school on the prairie, especially women teachers in rural schools in North Dakota

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Heritage Singers

An exhibit on the history of the Heritage Singers, a male choral group in Minot, North Dakota

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