Photos of Pioneer North Dakota

Pioneer life out on the open plains was never easy. Many of our ancestors may have been those early homesteaders to the territory and then state of North Dakota. The North Dakota State University Library in Fargo has a great photographic collection of those pioneer days.

Using these images you see better what pioneer life was like, their sod houses, along with all aspects of agriculture in the state, social scenes and views of North Dakota cities and towns. Many of the photos were also taken from the photo postcards which were very popular. There is a search box on the upper right side. Place a surname, a key word, a town’s name or an occupation (such as farmer) to see what is available.

With many of the early settlers being from Germany and the Scandinavian nations of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, if you have any such lineage, this would be a place to start. The German ancestry makes up of about 47% of the population. After making a selection there will appear a thumbnail image with any brief description. Click on the small image to view it enlarged. Many of the images are from the 19th century and early 20th century, but some also are into the 1970s.

After enlarging an image there will more details about the photo on the page. There is also a link listed at the bottom if you wish to order a copy of the photo.

The site has all types of photos, from everyday life, to businesses, schools, churches, recreation and items like the autos and farm equipment used.

North Dakota was part of the original Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and then part of the Dakota Territory within the United States for years. Not until the railroads came into the territory were more settles coming to North Dakota, growing from about 2,000 inhabitants to nearly 37,000 people. It was admitted as a state in November 1889.

So look over the site collection of photos of North Dakota, there is a good deal to discover.

Photo: Aagot Bergagaard (from Norway) with her niece Natalie Nelson in Aagot’s homestead home in 1908.

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