Home is where the heart it is. So I guess that means home for me is North Dakota. I love this state. I always have. My sentiment runs so deep; I can even truthfully say this as I sit through the fifth blizzard of the season. To me the weather is just one more thing to love.
As a teen, I had a special spot near my home that I liked to go to at night and star gaze. It was a little used highway overpass. It actually was so little used that I would go lie in the middle of the road and stare at the sky. (do NOT try this at home….) The stars seemed so bright I imagined I could touch them. North Dakota is full of beautiful little spots, like mine, to escape to and yet it is still bursting full of growth and innovation. You’ll be impressed with North Dakota whether you choose to spend your time enjoying the modern cities or the beautiful country side.
Our state is on the right track. Our economy is bursting. We have a low 3.2% unemployment, rich crop land, rich oil fields and some of the best people you’ll ever meet. North Dakota has so much to offer that I want to tell you about a few of my favorite things and a few amazing facts.
1. When Dakota Territory was created in 1861 it was named for the Dakota Indian tribe. We became a state on November 2nd, 1889.
2. On your way from one side of the state to the other, you can stop and take your picture at the geographic center point of North America which is by the town of Rugby. A rock obelisk about 15 feet tall marks the location.
3. Milk is the official state beverage, although the unofficial beverage is probably beer. North Dakota holds the dubious honor of drinking the most beer per person.
4. German is by far the largest ancestry group in North Dakota, with nearly 44% of the population citing majority heritage in 2000. (This is may be part of the unofficial beverage in #4.)
5. North Dakota has a large number of ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) silos. If North Dakota seceded from the Union, it would be the world's third strongest nuclear power.
6. We like our landmarks big. We have the Magic Highway, a road flanked by huge metal structures. We have the world’s largest cow in New Salem and the world’s largest buffalo in Jamestown. We even have a 50 foot high pyramid of empty oil cans in Casselton.
7. Only one word is needed to describe Lake Sakakawea – big. Lake Sakakawea is nearly 200 miles long with a shoreline of countless bays and inlets that cover 1,600 miles. This gives us more shoreline then California.
8. Of the 50 states, North Dakota is 17th in size. North Dakota is 212 miles long north to south and 360 miles wide east to west.
9. We have had our share of famous people: Lawrence Welk, a band leader and entertainer; Josh Dummal, an actor; Louis L'Amour, an author;
Peggy Lee, a singer; Angie Dickinson an actress; and more.
10. North Dakota is the most rural of all states, with farms covering more than 90% of the state. We rank first in the nation’s production of spring and durum wheat (used in pasta) and sunflowers.
11. The parking meter was invented in North Dakota. This is a good thing because we have more registered vehicles than we have residents. This however is not true for my house.
12. North Dakota is the only state to never have had an earth quake. Phew! One less thing to worry about.
13. We have the highest number of millionaires per capita of any state. This however, is also not true for my house.
14. It is illegal to lay down and fall asleep with your shoes on in the state of North Dakota. Good thing I only like to nap with my shoes off.
I want to give you one more place to visit before you go: be sure to stop by Devils Lake; the Dakota Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson; Sitting Bull Burial State Historic Site located on the western edge of Fort Yates; De Mores State Historic Site; the rock johnnies on Rock Butte; the International Peace Garden, that straddle the international Boundary between North Dakota and Canada; Big Hidatsa Village; Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site; Theodore Roosevelt National Park; the rustic frontier town of Medora... Oh and don’t forget to catch a University of North Dakota hockey game and a North Dakota State Bison Football game. When these great teams play, we practically declare it a state holiday.
So there you have it… that’s a bit about my home. I am ready to take you on a tour anytime you want to stop by. Together, let’s go on a grand adventure!
Janelle Steinberg, Mrs. North Dakota International 2014