The preservation of places significant to their heritage has been important to North
Dakotans since before establishment of the state. The state's Native American peoples, for
example, had maintained shrines and traditional cultural properties long before the arrival of
Euro-Americans. In December of 1873, within months of the founding of Bismarck, settlers
formed the Burleigh County Pioneer Association and within a year published a pamphlet which
included a history of the city. In the eastern part of the state, the Red River Valley Old Settlers
Association was formed at Grand Forks in 1879. The professed motive of both groups was the
preservation of the early history of their particular regions.
- North Dakotans are continually becoming more aware of their history and ever more
respectful of the places associated with that history.
- North Dakotans derive a great deal of comfort from being among familiar
surroundings and from continued association with their "roots."
- Commemoration of historic events is important to many of the state’s heritage groups.
- Preservation helps foster an appreciation of the state’s varied architectural diversity
and recognition of ethnically significant building styles and decor.
- An increasing awareness of the economic values of preservation is among the
justifications cited for preservation. Whether those associations are based on
something as practical as financial help in preserving "a good, solid, old building"
to something as romantic as attracting a Hollywood movie production to an
authentic setting, motivations to preserve are growing and spreading.
- Interest in the state’s history, its historic, archeological and architectural properties
and preservation of those properties have realized recent spurts of enthusiastic
support with recognition of their value as economic tools, with the increased
importance of statewide heritage tourism and with special legislation offering
economic incentives for preservation through state Renaissance Zones, a tax
incentive program, and a new state sponsored grants program with valuable
potential implications for historic buildings. It is intended that through planning
efforts such as these, still more people will be inspired to discover ever more
reasons to preserve and to become ever more involved in preservation.
Download the Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan.