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Bob Lind, Published March 17 2014

Neighbors: 'Some little-known facts' about North Dakota

Even though Gary Westerholm and his wife, Joyce, of Fargo, are spending the winter in Surprise, Ariz., they keep an eye on things back home. So, with North Dakota celebrating its 125th year of statehood, Gary has dug up what he calls “some little-known facts” about the state, adding “I bet even those of you living there don’t know some of this.”

So, thanks to Gary, here are some North Dakota facts for you:

The world’s largest hamburger was eaten in Rutland in 1982. It weighed 3,591 pounds, and more than 8,000 people were invited to the meal.

Most of the pasta in America is made from North Dakota durum wheat.

It is illegal to go dancing in Fargo with a hat on. It is even illegal to wear a hat at a party where other people are dancing.

It is also illegal in North Dakota to take a nap with your shoes on.

After 11 p.m., it is illegal to set off fireworks in Devils Lake.

The smallest city in North Dakota is Maza, south of Cando, with a population of five.

North Dakota does not have towns or villages. Each place officially is a city, no matter how small it is.

About 25 billion tons of lignite lie in western North Dakota, enough to supply the region’s coal needs for more than 800 years.

Dakota is the Sioux word for “friend” or “ally.”

In 1987, North Dakota passed a bill making English the official state language.

In 1995, the square dance became North Dakota’s official American folk dance.

Lewis and Clark spent more time in North Dakota than in in any other place they visited.

North Dakota holds the Guinness world record for the most snow angels made simultaneously in one place. On Feb. 17, 2007, 8,962 people made snow angels on the state Capitol grounds, beating the record of 3,784 set earlier in Michigan.

North Dakota farmland would cover more than 12 million city blocks. The state’s farmers produce enough wheat each year to make 12.6 billion loaves of bread.

North Dakota ranchers produce enough beef to make 113 million hamburgers each year.

North Dakota produces enough canola oil every year to fill its 19-story state Capitol 19 times.

North Dakota has the highest percentage of churchgoers in the country. It also has more churches per capita than any other state.

The late comedian Red Skelton once quipped that North Dakota is “the only place I’ve been where I didn’t have to look up to see the sky.”

Rhode Island, the smallest state, could fit inside North Dakota 46 times.

In 1887, North Dakotan David Henderson Houston invented a camera he named Kodak by scrambling the first four letters of Dakota. He later sold the rights to the Kodak to George Eastman.

North Dakota produces more honey and grows more sunflowers than any other state.

North Dakota has more national wildlife refuges, 62, than any other state.

Both of the state's temperature extremes occurred in 1936, when it was 60 below in February and 121 in July.

Space limitations prevent Neighbors from listing all the North Dakota facts Gary sent in. But at least here you have some information to discuss with your friends over coffee – the amount of which is consumed in the state each day apparently hasn’t been compiled.

P.S.: Whether you live in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Arizona or wherever, this is the week to wish you a Happy Spring!


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com