Fort Abe Lincoln and Jamestown

August 24, 2017 Trip Day 20 & 21

We stayed put yesterday in order to visit Mandan and Bismarck and the rest of Ft. Abe Lincoln State Park. Why travel when we are parked in one of the most beautiful campgrounds ever!

Mandan (21,000 souls) lies on the west bank of the Missouri River across from the state capital of Bismarck. She is the seat of Morton County. The city was founded in 1879, named for the indigenous Mandans who lived on the banks of Missouri River. The town is not unlike most we have traveled through- the Catholic influence is very noticeable. Mandan has multiple Catholic churches.

Touching Tribute To Dad From His Kids/ Mandan Church

We drive across the Missouri to the state capital of Bismarck. The original capitol building burned in 1930. In it’s place the “High Rise Of The Prairie” was built- all 21 stories of it. The grounds are large and nicely landscaped. We cruise around the town admiring how clean it is and how nice the houses are kept. We also visit the Cathedral District- the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is what the district is named for.

For you history buffs: “From 1872 to 1887 Bismarck was an important transportation center and Missouri River port. Freight was hauled to Bismarck from the East by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Until a railroad bridge across the Missouri was completed October 21, 1882, the railroad terminated at the east side of the river and resumed on the west side. During the winter, trains crossed the ice on specially built track and during the summer, they were ferried across. A line called the River Landing Spur ran down to the steamboat warehouse so that freight from the railroad could be transferred to steamboats for shipping via the Missouri River. The river connected St. Louis, Missouri, Fort Benton, Montana, and ports in between.”

Back at the Fort- the Mandan lived in villages that consisted of many round earthen lodges. They were considered a very friendly people. The Slant Indian Village here in the park was abandoned due to the outbreak of of white man’s disease- smallpox. William Clark visited this location on his way back to Missouri in 1805.


Fort Lincoln was Lieutenant George Armstrong Custer’s home base. This is where he and the 7th Calvary began their ill- fated expedition to round up the Sioux Indians. The visitors center has the largest collection of Mandan Indian relics in existence. Many artifacts and photos are on display and is a must-see.

Today we packed up and headed to Jamestown, ND. We are staying at the municipal campground of Lakeside by the Jamestown Reservoir. The grounds are nice, the park is great, catering not only to campers but picnickers and boaters. We arrive at St. James Cathedral just in time for Mass followed by Adoration.

St. James Basilica/ County Courthouse

We next drive through town and are pleased that this town is like all the others we’ve visited in North Dakota. The locals show a lot of civic pride- the homes are well maintained, the streets are clean and free of debris. This town is also heavily influence by the Catholic ethic.

The last place we visit is the Pioneer Village. It consists of small structures emulating what a pioneer town would look like. The Village also is home to the National Buffalo Museum. A genuine real live white buffalo lives there- and so does the world’s largest buffalo!

Tomorrow we travel to Buffalo River State Park. See you there!





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