September 5, 2019 — Former President Ulysses S. Grant laid the cornerstone for the Dakota Territory capitol at Bismarck on this date in 1883. Grant was on his way to Montana for the driving of the gold spike that marked the completion of the main line of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Other dignitaries who attended the capitol cornerstone laying included railroad magnates James J. Hill of the Great Northern and President Henry Villard of the Northern Pacific; newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer; Generals H. H. Sibley and W. D. Washburn; Chief Sitting Bull; and Chicago merchant Marshall Field.
A cornerstone for the present North Dakota Capitol at Bismarck was laid exactly 50 years later, during the administration of William Langer. The building was replacing the territorial capitol building, which burned to the ground in December 1930.
“Dakota Datebook” is a radio series from Prairie Public in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council. See all the Dakota Datebooks at prairiepublic.org, or subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast.