In all that is good, North Dakota affords the best, and Dickinson is the Queen City. This statement breathes the faith of the people who have made Dickinson the metropolis of the western part of the state. There can only be one future for this city of the prairies – that of unlimited prosperity as the most productive agricultural and manufacturing center in the Missouri Slope country.
In preparing this brief outline of Dickinson, the writer will set forth, as far as space will permit, figures and facts absolutely authentic and free from the influence of commercialized boosting. It is the aim and intention of the author to enumerate, as far as is within his ability, the resources and advantages of Dickinson and Stark county, so that the outside world and the opportunity seeking individual may have a clear and concise conception of the good things to be had in the “Queen City of the Prairies.” And there is another objective. It is to aid and abet the good citizens of Dickinson in setting forth a conclusive argument why Dickinson should be selected as the site for the proposed Normal School, which proposition will be placed before the voters of North Dakota in the election of 1916.
Going back twenty-five years when the seed of development was first inoculated in the soil of fertile Stark county, Dickinson had a population of 800 people. For miles about stretched an unbroken and unfenced cattle country, with land values at from $1.25 to $1.75 an acre. The town boasted of a single mixed passenger and freight train each way daily. Four general stores and a hotel, all wooden structures, represented the business enterprises of the hamlet, Kerosene lamps lighted the one street. A bank, the only institution of its kind between Mandan, N.D., and Glendive, Mont., at that time stoutly professed the faith of its depositors in the future of Dickinson and Stark county, and gave financial aid in the development of the country’s natural resources.
Today, Dickinson is the county seat of Stark county, and has a population of 4,160 people. It is one of the biggest wheat, coal, brick and pottery clay producing centers in the world. It is a freight terminal of the Northern Pacific railroad. Its banks are among the strongest financial institutions in the northwest. Its business enterprises are supplying a territory that is unlimited. The finest parks, streets, public institutions and residents in the state are to be found in Dickinson. Diversified farming has become a fixed policy in Stark county and the territory adjacent to Dickinson, where land is now worth from $25 to $50 per acre. With hearty co-operation and “buy at home” spirit of farmer and merchant, prosperity is mutual.
The city of Dickinson never knew a boom, but enjoyed a healthy, substantial growth that has ever been the history of a country of abundant resources, developed as a certainty and not as a speculation. It has three national banks, with deposits aggregating over two and one-half million dollars. A fourth bank is being erected at this writing. Dickinson has six elevators with a capacity of 300,000 bushels of wheat. It has two flour mills with a capacity of 800 barrels daily. The coal and brick industries have been developed until there has been created a nation-wide demand for Dickinson fuel and building material. A first grade high school and two public schools attest to the splendid educational facilities. Six Protestant and Catholic churches bespeak the religious tendencies of its people. Its White Way and oiled streets are unexcelled in the state and represent the enterprise and progressiveness of its boosters. According to the statement of a leading banker, the wealth per capita in the Queen City is upwards of $1,000.00.
The City of Dickinson has assets of $78,000 above its liabilities. Its warrants are always cashed in the banks at par, and individuals are investing in this collateral as fast as it is issued. Thousands of dollars are annually expended in improvements. The city owns its own waterworks. Its $72,000 pumping station is capable of producing five million gallons of water per day, and could furnish water for a city four times its size. The water is obtained from seven deep artesian wells, three quarters of a mile north of the city limits. All water is lifted with air. Since the city owned its own waterworks, not a single case of typhoid fever has been reported, and statistics show the death rate to be less than seven per cent per 1,000 inhabitants.
Dickinson is the natural trade center for western North Dakota. Situated on a gentle slope, giving natural drainage into the Heart river, it has an elevation of 2,430 feet above sea level. It is the metropolis of eleven fertile agricultural counties representing the Missouri Slope – the Inland Empire of the State. Centrally located on the main line of the Northern Pacific railroad, it is the heart of the finest wheat growing country in the world. Good roads afford an excellent market for the city, at the best prices for everything. Dickinson is a thriving, substantial municipality that is going to play an important part in the manufacturing industries of the state, with its rare combination of fuel and raw material.
Its wholesale and retail business enterprises meet every demand where quality of goods and service is the first consideration. The Consolidated Coal and Dakota Lignite Mines, two of the largest coal companies in the northwest, are located in Dickinson. The Dickinson Fire & Pressed Brick and North Dakota Fire & Pressed Brick Companies have investments that aggregate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and are spreading the fame of Dickinson brick and tile throughout the country. The Heaton lumber yards and Mandan Mercantile company supply a broad territory with building material and farm implements. The J. I. Case Threshing Machine company have established a branch at Dickinson. The city boasts of a broom factory, one of the few in the northwest, a bottling works shipping all kinds of soft drinks throughout the state and eastern Montana, and a cigar factory marketing some of the finest and most popular brands of smoking tobacco in this territory. These are only a few of the many business enterprises which thrive in the community, and are of the few of their kind in the state.
Dickinson can well be termed the “City Beautiful.” Its parks, public institutions, substantial business structures, and splendid residences, combine to make it a place fair to look upon. The civic and home pride of its citizens is evidenced on all sides in the beauty of the trees, flowers, and shrubbery that lend invitingness to the boulevards and homes.
The public institutions of Dickinson are especially noteworthy. The Elks building, representing an investment of $100,000, is easily the finest of its kind in the state. The interior is finished in dark marble and mahogany, and the furnishes are luxurious. Dickinson lodge, B.P.O.E. has a membership of nearly 600.
The Masonic Temple, representing and investment of $60,000 is another pride of Dickinson. Twenty-three thousand dollars was raised by public subscription to give the city one of the finest Armory buildings in the state. The Carnegie public library, is one of the few institutions of its kind in North Dakota, and cost $25,000. Dickinson also has two first class hotels, the St. Charles and the Villard. Both are managed on the European plan, and provide accommodations for hundreds of guests.
The educational and religious adjuncts of Dickinson bespeak in a high moral sense of duty of its citizens. The total enrollment of pupils in the public and parochial schools of the city in 1915 was close to 2,000. All of the school buildings are modern in every respect, with a high standard and able instructors. Dickinson’s Catholic and Protestant churches are supported by large congregations, and the religious spirit of the people has established an enviable reputation of moral cleanliness for the city. Society affiliation is a paramount feature, and tow large halls, St. Anthony’s on the South Side, and Bohemian hall, in the west end of town, are well suited for large gatherings. Dickinson supports three excellent weekly papers, which are constantly working for the best interests of the city and county. To them, as much as tow any influence, is due the dissemination of the knowledge that here lies one of the fastest growing cities and richest agricultural regions in the west.
The Commercial Club of Dickinson was organized in 1906. With efficient officers at the helm, the organization boasts of a membership that includes practically every representative businessman in town.
The organization is taking an important part in the development of the Red Trail, which will be the means of bringing, as the importance of the trail grows and the popularity of touring increases, hundreds of tourist guests to Dickinson each year. The club has also been a real benefit to the community in the matter of establishing attractive driveways in and about the city. Each year, the aim of the organization is to make Dickinson a convention city, and the hospitality of the “Queen City of the Prairies” was evidenced on all sides in the big gatherings held here in 1915.
South of the Northern Pacific railroad tracks is what is know as the “South Side” of Dickinson. Here is a settlement of energetic and thrifty people, the greater number of whom have emigrated to the is country and waxed prosperous by sharing the opportunities and advantages od Dickinson. The “South Side” has a population of 1,275.
The United States Land Office is located in Dickinson, and the record of this year’s business to date, tells plainly the story of the country’s settlement. Since the last report, the records show 2,200 homestead entries, 1,575 final proofs, 450,000 acres taken, upon 300,00 of which, final proof has been offered. Stark county land lies rolling, free from stone, gravel, and alkali. Numerous streams of fresh water cross almost every section. Dairy, poultry raising, and diversified farming offer unlimited possibilities to the farmer. Corn, wheat, oats, rye, clover, alfalfa, timothy, fruits and other crops grown in the central states grow abundantly here. The magnitude of the dairy and stock raising interests about Dickinson is derived from the business o f the Dickinson Creamery company, where the farmers from miles around market their cream. This company is making 1,500 pounds of butter a month at this writing. Over 1,000 gallons of ice cream manufactured every month of the summer season of 1915. About 400 gallons of cream are delivered to the creamery each day.
Within the borders of Stark county, several billion tons of coal await the manufacturer. One section alone contains thirty million to forty million tons of lignite. Government experts claim experiments with the gas producing qualities of this coal show it superior to the bituminous coal of the eastern fields. The facilities here for mining and the low price of fuel appeals to the manufacturer. The value of lignite coal as a domestic fuel is that it can be burned in any stove, or furnace that has a draught. A charge of $1.50 a ton is made where the coal is hauled by the purchaser, and $2.25 a ton when placed in the bin by the dealer.
Large bodies of the finest clay lie side by side with the coal. Thus in the same bank can be found the combination of fuel and clay for manufacturing the finest of brick, tile, and chinaware. An analysis of the pottery clay when taken from the banks at Dickinson, shows it to register as fine a quality as that used by New Jersey manufacturers, after that clay has been treated, washed, and scrubbed.
Dickinson and Stark county spell prosperity for both the investor and homeseeker. James Carleton Young, president of the Empire Real Estate company of Minneapolis, this year gave evidence of his faith in the future of the city and county by an investment of $75,000 in improvements on his farm one mile northeast of Dickinson. Mr. Young is one of the most successful men in the northwest, with foresight as to his land investments. He has made his farm here a model and one of the finest in the country from a standpoint of buildings and equipment. W.J. Mozley, one of the best known farmers in the state, is a type of the men who found opportunity awaiting them in Stark county. Mozley’s original investment represented a few hundred dollars. Today he is harvesting one of the biggest crops in the state and is one of the foremost exponents of diversified farming. North Dakota offers nothing better than Stark county, and Dickinson is its “Queen City.”