September 17, 2021 — In this week in 1907, the Northern Pacific railroad held an auction in Fargo to get rid of some unclaimed baggage that had accumulated over the last two years.

The boxes and parcels were sold unopened, so there was a touch of mystery to the proceedings. Many fine discoveries were made, such as a box of books sold for $1, and fifty cents paid for what turned out to be a good carving set.

Not everything was worthwhile, though; one package turned out to be somebody’s lost lunch from about a year and a half previous, while another contained stale bon bons. And in a bizarre occurrence, one man bought a box that actually contained a wooden leg!

Which raises the did the owner get off the train without it?

“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, subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast, or buy the Dakota Datebook book at

Load comments