National Geographic Writer Sees Bright Future for North Dakota
When National Geographic Magazine’s writer, Leo A. Borah, visited North Dakota, he was impressed by the people, the land, and the state’s future. The lead article, “North Dakota Comes into Its Own,” gives readers a panoramic view of our past and present, concluding that the state “looks back proudly upon its victory over handicaps. Truly it is coming into its own.”
Power farm equipment shares the prairie with the state capitol in Bismarck. Courtesy of State Historical Society of North Dakota (0080-box 16-01).
Wherever he traveled, he was amazed by what he saw: the oil activity around Williston and Minot, the skyscraper capitol building and historical artifacts in Bismarck, the expansion of wholesale enterprise and agricultural research in Fargo, lignite research and the university in Grand Forks, the manufacture of briquettes from lignite in Dickinson, Rosemeade pottery creation in Wahpeton, the construction of the Garrison Dam near the new town of Riverdale, the beauty of the Badlands, an unusually fine men’s store in Valley City, the state’s only liberal arts college in Jamestown, rodeo events in Mandan.
A rope-twirling cowboy at the Mandan Rodeo, 1950. Courtesy of State Historical Society of North Dakota (0507-06).
In the countryside he witnessed the “exquisite blue” of flax in bloom and the “ocean expanse of golden wheat.” Writer Borah took special note of the abundance of animal and bird life, “a mecca for wildfowl” and “a huntsman’s paradise.” He views the grain elevator as “North Dakota’s trademark.”
Construction of the Garrison Dam. Courtesy of State Historical Society of North Dakota (B8081).
He admits that “North Dakota is no place for the timid or weak,” but describes North Dakotans in terms such as “never say die” and “ready to take chances.” The state, according to Borah, is “plain as an old shoe” where “‘Putting on airs’ is unheard of.”
The National Geographic observer concludes, “The future of North Dakota holds amazing promise.”
By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton
Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.
Use map scales to locate physical features and estimate distance on a map
Identify similarities and differences between past events and current events in North Dakota (e.g., in the lives of people from different cultures past and present)
Describe the effects of changes in industry, agriculture, and technology in North Dakota (e.g., energy production, transportation, farming methods)
Identify ways that natural resources (e.g., soil, minerals, trees, fish, people) contribute to the economy of the local community and North Dakota
Identify the location and characteristics of significant features of North Dakota (e.g., landforms, river systems, climate, regions, major cities)
Explain how the physical environment (e.g., rainfall, climate, natural hazards) affects human activity in North Dakota
Identify different patterns of land use in North Dakota (e.g., land use in urban, suburban, and rural areas, mining, agriculture, manufacturing)
Describe ways geography has affected the development (e.g., the development of transportation, communication, industry, and land use) of the state over time
Explain how human activity (e.g., settlement patterns, migration) affects the physical environment (e.g., soil uses, economy, pollution, use of energy sources)
Explain the factors (e.g., trade routes, goods available, location) that influenced the growth of cities
Explain how physical systems affect human systems (e.g., Where do people live and why?)
Interpret and evaluate a variety of visual representations (e.g. charts, graphs, time lines, graphic organizers, maps, flow charts) of data
Describe how technological advances (e.g., cotton gin, steel plow, McCormick reaper, steamboat, steam locomotives) and industrialization impacted regions of the United States prior to the Civil War
Compare human characteristics (e.g., population distribution, land use) of places and regions (i.e. North Dakota)
Interpret the relationships between physical environments and society (e.g., humans modify environment, environment modifies society, and use, distribution, and importance of resources)