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13 Famous Historical Landmarks in North Dakota

13 Famous Historical Landmarks in North Dakota

North Dakota is a hidden gem in the history of the United States. These landmarks tell stories about exploration, war, immigration, and more as they stand proudly as landmarks of our country’s past.

If visiting North Dakota has been your plan for a while and you are also interested in history, then this article will help a bunch. Most places with rich historical backgrounds in North Dakota have immense historical significance, are famous landmarks, or both.

There are plenty of things to do in North Dakota; if history is your agenda, we’ve got you covered.

Most Famous Landmarks in North Dakota

Let’s check out these famous time-honored landmarks of North Dakota:

1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Address: North Dakota, United States

The most famous historical site in North Dakota is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which lies within the Badlands of Billings County. Established to honor U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, it is the only national park named after a single person in the United States.

The park covers 70,446 acres (or 110.072 sq mi) of land and is divided into three sections: the North Unit, the South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. The Maah Daah Hey Trail passes through all three units of the park. The two main areas of the park have scenic drives, 100 miles of trails for both foot and horses, wildlife viewing opportunities, and backcountry hiking and camping spots.

Approximately 750,000 recreational visitors come to the park each year. It has many animal habitats and can be easily reached from the famous cities of Dickinson and Bismarck. This famous national park is known for its rampant wildlife, wildflowers, and fossil sites.

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2. Fort Totten State Historic Site

Address: 417 Calvary Cir, Fort Totten, ND 58335, United States

This is one of the most important landmarks in North Dakota and lies in Totten County. It is famous for its historical significance throughout the centuries.

The famous Lakota and Hidatsa tribes initially used it as a refuge during the horrific Indian Wars. Still, during the 20th century, it served as a manual labor camp for prisoners during World War II and a POW camp once again during the Korean War.

This site is excellent for history enthusiasts, offering great opportunities and facilities for residents and tourists. The fort also has a visitor’s center with displays of artifacts found in the area, as well as information about famous historical battles fought in the area.

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3. State Capitol Building

North Dakota State Capitol Building

Address: 600 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505, United

The famous landmark in North Dakota, seen as the state’s symbol of independence pride, lies in Bismarck, a beautiful town to book a trip to and book a hotel in advance.

It was built in 1906 at the cost of (then) $1.7 million and would replace Fort Lincoln State Park as the capital of North Dakota after a devastating fire on December 28, 1930.

This historical building has a variety of materials used to give it the distinctive look it has today. The renowned state capitol building is on a hill overlooking the Missouri River Valley. The structure is 90 feet (27 m) high and features the well-known golden statue of Ceres atop it, representing progress on her crown.

In front of the famous historical building are two war memorials: one sculpture by Giuseppe Moretti, which honors North Dakota’s soldiers who fought in World War I, and one by Bruce McLaren, which honors North Dakota’s soldiers who fought in World War II.

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4. World’s Largest Buffalo

Statue of The World's Largest Buffalo
Daniel M. Silva / Shutterstock.com

Address: 404 Louis Lamour Ln, Jamestown, ND 58401, United

The “World’s Largest Buffalo Monument” is a sculpture of an American bison (yup, there are NO buffalo in the Americas, none, Google it) located in Jamestown, North Dakota. The statue overlooks Jamestown from Interstate 94 and has earned the city the nickname; “The Buffalo City.”

Officially, “World’s Largest Buffalo” is not considered one of the best landmarks in North Dakota by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byways Program because it is in a rest area, which seems quite petty.

Therefore, it does not appear on any national map or highway sign. REALLY petty.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

5. The Enchanted Highway

Sculptures Along the Enchanted Highway, North Dakota
JWCohen / Shutterstock.com

Address: 3689 100 1/2 Ave, Dickinson, ND 58601, United States

The Enchanted Highway is a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures constructed at intervals along a 32-mile stretch of two-lane highway in the southwestern part of North Dakota.

It spans the route between Regent and Wyndmere and is famous for its unique art. This celebrated highway opened in 1991 and has since become famous because of the many tourists who travel through the region yearly to view the sculptures.

Some sculptures along the highway include a woman with a watering can, an old-fashioned sled, a giant catfish, and a man holding an umbrella that rains down coins!

See Related: Reasons to Visit Franconia Sculpture Park

6. Fort Buford State Historic Site

Fort Buford in North Dakota

Address: 15349 39th Ln NW, Williston, ND 58801, United States

Fort Buford is an old United States Army post at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers in Dakota Territory, North Dakota. It was here where Sitting Bull’s surrender took place in 1881.

Company C, 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, set up camp on June 15, 1866, and was ordered to build a fort. Most of the defense was made of adobe and cottonwood covered by fences.

It was named after Major General John Buford, who died before the fort was completed. Fort Buford served as a vital military outpost from 1866 until 1886 and serves as a fantastic museum.

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7. Badlands Overlook

Badlands Overlook

Address: Interior, SD 57750, United States

Badlands Overlook is the best place to see and experience a famous national attraction and excellent tourist site, known as “Badlands” – one of the most famous areas in North Dakota.

One widely known aspect offered by North Dakota’s Badlands Overlook is the famous fossil bed, which became the eternal resting place for countless prehistoric creatures millions of years ago.

The fossil bed is the only known place in the northern United States where fossils from the dinosaur era can be found. The Badlands Overlook, which includes the famous Dakota Sandstone, is also a popular spot for spotting wildlife that hasn’t yet been fossilized!

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8. Mystical Horizons

Mystical Horizons in North Dakota

Address: 313 Flanders Rd, East Lyme, CT 06333, United States

Mystical Horizon is a site with an astronomical theme located in Carbury, on Highway 43, near the North Dakota and Manitoba border. The attraction contains instruments to show how astronomical phenomena work, including Jupiter’s moons, stars, and constellations.

The attraction is open year-round and offers to stargaze all year round with the help of a famous planetarium. The North Dakota Council on the Arts originally built Mystical Horizons in 1989, but it was sold to private owners in 2000. Ample parking spots and a fantastic picnic area are available for visitors.

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9. Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center

Address: 15349 39th Ln NW, Williston, ND 58801, United States

The Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center is a museum about the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers in Western North Dakota.

It is famous for housing the famous “moccasin telegraph” and other well-known exhibits. The nearby Interpretive Center of Fort Buford shows the area’s geography, geology, and history.

The center is only half a mile east near historic Fort Buford, Williston, North Dakota. It provides views of the Missouri River and Yellowstone Rivers as well.

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10. Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site

Address: 935 Broadway, Abercrombie, ND 58001, United States

Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site was famous for being a significant military outpost on Nelson Island. The renowned site became famous in 1863 when it became the location of the Battle of Portage la Prairie.

It is known for housing a military hospital during the Battle of Fort Abercrombie. The battle is one of the most well-known battles of the Red River Indian War.

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11. Fort Mandan State Historic Site

Historic Fort Mandan in Mandan, North Dakota
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Address: 838 28th Ave SW, Washburn, ND 58577, United States

Fort Abraham Lincoln Park is a great starting point for exploring North Dakota’s state parks. This interactive park offers a replica of the Mandan Indian village and military structures to examine. The park is located north of Bismarck and north of Highway 83 north on U.S. Route 52.

Fort Lincoln was a famous military outpost in North Dakota, near Mandan, from 1862 to 1877; its replica of the original Fort Mandan stands today as a tourist attraction and is one of the best landmarks in North Dakota, representing the history of the Dakota War.

At one point or another, the fort was garrisoned by many famous and infamous American soldiers, perhaps none more scandalous than the foolhardy General George Armstrong Custer, who led his famous 7th Cavalry Regiment to doom in what Native Americans call the Battle of Greasy Grass, but most know as the famous Battle of Little Bighorn.

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12. Little Missouri National Grassland

Little Missouri National Grassland

Address: North Billings, ND 58645, USA

The Little Missouri National Grassland is a historic landmark established in 1934, with 198,000 acres along the famous Little Missouri River. This national grassland is one of the largest areas in North Dakota.

The U.S. Government established it to prevent overgrazing and preserve land for future generations, especially for wildlife use. This north-central part of North Dakota also protects multiple parks and other historical sites.

13. Mandan Village Historic Site

Huff Indian Village Site
Image by Plazak / CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 4482 Fort Lincoln Rd, Mandan, ND 58554, United States

Mandan is a Native American tribe of the Great Plains who lived in North Dakota for centuries. They now live primarily on the Fort Berthold Reservation, some in the U.S. and others in Canada. The Mandan historically lived along the Upper Missouri River and its two tributaries, the Heart and Knife Rivers, in present-day North Dakota.

Their language is Siouan, and they established permanent villages that featured large round-earth lodges surrounding a central plaza. Matrilineal families lived in these lodges.

The Mandan were a great trading nation, and food was the primary commodity they exported. The Mandan traded their large corn surpluses for horses, guns, and other trade goods with other tribes.

The Mandan Village Historic Site in north-central North Dakota is part of the famous Knife River Indian Villages National Historical Park. Open year-round, the historical landmark consists of a typical Mandan village and a museum.

It features an authentic recreation of a late 17th-century Mandan village. The visitor center has educational exhibits that focus on Mandan history. The park is located north of Stanton off U.S. Route 83, approximately six miles north of Fort Abraham Lincoln.

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