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5 Fun Facts About July 13 In North Dakota History

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1. In 1861, North Dakota was still part of the Dakota Territory. On July 13, President Abraham Lincoln appointed William Jayne as the first territorial governor of Dakota Territory, which included present-day North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming.

2. On July 13, 1881, a devastating fire swept through the town of Dickinson, North Dakota, destroying most of the buildings in the downtown area. The fire was reportedly caused by a careless smoker who threw a lit match into a pile of hay near a livery stable. Despite the destruction, the town quickly rebuilt and continued to thrive.

3. In 1924, the North Dakota state fair opened in Grand Forks on July 13. The fair has been held annually ever since, with thousands of visitors coming from all over the state and beyond to enjoy the food, entertainment, and agricultural exhibits.

4. On July 13, 1950, Fargo-based Northern States Power Company (now known as Xcel Energy) completed construction of a major hydroelectric dam on the Missouri River near Garrison, North Dakota. The Garrison Dam created Lake Sakakawea, which is now one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States.

5. In 1988, North Dakota native and Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter passed away on July 13 at the age of 52. Oerter was a four-time gold medalist in the discus throw and also set a world record in the event four times. He remains one of the most successful American track and field athletes of all time.
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