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North Dakota Place Names

A Tale of Three Thousand Cities: From Abercrombie to Zeeland...from Absaraka to Zap...North Dakota's history is written across the face of the map!

By Douglas A. Wick

Sweetgrass Publications, Bismarck, North Dakota, 1999, 237 pages, softcover

(Book out of print - not available)


Douglas A. Wick's North Dakota Place Names chronicles the stories of more than 3,000 "cities" that have existed in the state. Some of these places never developed beyond a railroad siding or a single farm house, while a precious few have continued to thrive and grow. An unusually large number of places have had more than one name. The current official state roadmap shows about 500 locales, many of which have been in decline almost from their founding as railroad boom towns.

The author spent much of 1978 to 1988 researching original records, reviewing existing jubilee books, interviewing local residents for local anecdotes and folklore, and visiting countless sites of abandoned settlements to create a unique history of the state. While books of this type can neither be complete or completely accurate, North Dakota Place Names is widely acclaimed as one of the best books of its type, and has stood the test of time.

Douglas Wick writes the following in the Introduction: "A large percentage of the place names in this book are rural post offices. A few of these facilities had their own buildings, and many were housed in country stores, but most were located in the home of the postmasters and move about as different people assumed the duties of the position."

The book also includes a detailed County Index, extensive bibliography, and photographs.

Bismarck about 1925
Goodrich about 1908
McClusky on January 8, 1910
Steele about 1910


North Dakota Place Names

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