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Herman Nootix in North Dakota

September 20, 2015

Herman: Greetings. This is North Dakota’s Bonanzaville Historical Center. Let’s warm ourselves up with a brisk walk.

This little prairie house is made of sod, blocks of thick dead grass cut from the prairie. Settlers learn to build sod homes from the Dakota Sioux or allied tribes, who lived here for thousands of years before the European showed up.

The Habberstad family moved into this log cabin back in 1874. They were immigrants from Norway. During that decade, about 34,000 people moved here to the North Dakota territory. The government gave away millions of acres in small land parcels to people like the Habberstads. Immigrants with little money, but enough energy to tame a wild place.

Here in Bonanzaville, nearly all the buildings are old, but the town itself is new. The founders took historic buildings from all of North Dakota and moved them here, reconstructing a pioneer village. Of course, real pioneer villages didn’t have tour buses parked just outside of town.

Ah, the Fernberg General Store. Now if you’re a rancher, around the town of Osgood, and you needed 50 pounds of coffee, a barrel of nails, or a bottle of bull medicine, this was where you got it. Oh, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t take credit cards back then.

This house came from Fargo, North Dakota, just up the road. It was the town’s first permanent building. It may not look like much, but this little place was home to a pioneer family and the local jail and the hotel. I think room service was pretty slow back then.

Goodbye then. It’s been a pleasure.

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