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Bismarck 150th anniversary series: a modern city

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 1:06 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In the early 1900s Bismarck took off.

Bismarck has always been a centralized travel hub. It evolved with the times, from steamboats to the railroad, to a streetcar connecting downtown to the capitol to the automobile, and finally air travel.

Bismarck first paved its streets in 1916, funded by the city’s first special assessment.

The rise of the automobile allowed for expansion from Bismarck’s downtown. This expansion was slow until the 1940s and 1950s with the first planned housing developments: Highland Acres to Bismarck’s northwest, the Casey Additions, Homan Acres, and the Fisher Addition.

Northwest Airways started Bismarck’s first commercial airline service in 1931, the same year that Bismarck Airport started operating at its present-day site. A new airport terminal was completed there in 1966 and replaced in 2005.

The closure of Garrison Dam in April 1953 perhaps changed Bismarck’s cityscape more than any other. It ended rampant flooding and allowed extensive development south of Front Avenue for the first time.

The opening of Interstate-94 in 1965 was also pivotal because it shifted highway traffic two miles north from downtown.

From humble beginnings to a modern city, Bismarck has come a long way in the last 150 years.

And what is store for the next 150? No one knows for sure, but the possibilities are endless.

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