Nodaks Take to the Road - Highway System Vastly Improved

Bismarck, N.D.
December 31, 1972

Highway Department officials tell us that North Dakotans drove a total of 4.1 million miles within the state during this year. That is almost double the number of miles for 1955. Motor vehicle registration increased significantly from 276,000 to 476,000, and North Dakota has 331,000 licensed drivers.

I's rather be in ND

All that driving by all those people took place on a vastly improved road system. At the end of World War II, the state had only 1,700 miles of hard-surfaced roads of its more than 6,000 miles of primary highways. The postwar prosperity allowed the legislature to pump millions of dollars into road improvement. By 1955, however, less than half of the primary roads had been surfaced, leaving 3,000 miles of gravel, including some main highways.

Today over 6,000 miles have been paved, leaving only 250 miles in gravel. And, thanks to President Eisenhower, the state is serviced with two interstate four-lane, limited-access highways, I-29 and I-94. No wonder so many people are driving so many miles.

Touring is a natural outgrowth of driving so many miles. The state has organized a department which has as its sole function the promotion of North Dakota as a place people will want to visit. Millionaire Harold Schafer is busy restoring Medora as a frontier town that both NoDaks and out-of-state visitors will appreciate. The State Historical Society of North Dakota has been upgrading its historical sites, and planning for a new museum on the capitol grounds is in the works. North Dakotans are becoming more aware that they have unique things to offer the nation.

Travel has become a great deal easier with the rapid development of motels. Old ones are being upgraded and new ones built. National chains such as Holiday Inn and Ramada Inn are finding great success in North Dakota. North Dakota is on the move.

Queen City Motel, Dickinson.  Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

City Center Motel.  Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

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.

Grade Level

3-4, 6, 9-12

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change

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