Gene Jarvis: Bismarck, North Dakota
North Dakota was named for the Sioux Indians who called themselves the Dakota, meaning allies or friends. Despite this name, few settlers came to North Dakota before the 1870s because they feared Indian attacks and because transportation was poor. However, in the 1870s the Northern Pacific Railroad opened the Dakota plains and soon families swallowed their fears and came West to farm. The huge farms set down in the rich Dakota soil were so successful they became known across America as "Bonanza Farms." North Dakota's population quickly grew as word of these farms spread and in 1889 the state joined the Union. North Dakota's first Capitol Building was built in 1883. However, on December 28, 1930, this Capitol was destroyed by fire and the state immediately set out to erect a new Capitol. The magnificent Capitol they constructed is unique among state capitols for its simplicity and practicality. Yet, it is also an elegant creation displaying materials gathered from around the world. The interior of the building is elaborately finished with beautiful Belgian black marble and expensive woods. Bronze chandeliers symbolizing a heat of wheat, North Dakota's chief agricultural product, extend from the ceiling. Called the "Skyscraper Capitol of the Plains" this towering structure juts nineteen stories into the North Dakota sky and is a beautiful symbol of the state known as the Flickertail State.
This artwork was originally published on the Fleetwood® Commemorative Proofcard for the Capitols of the 50 States Collection. Each proofcard features that state's capital building and the State flag stamp from the Bicentennial Era 1776-1976 stamp issue, and each is postmarked on the anniversary of that state.
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