In 1883, Bismarck had only been “Bismarck” for ten years, having existed first as a tiny frontier settlement called Missouri Crossing, then as Edwinton, until 1873. Bismarck assumed an important place in the history of the American west when it supplanted Yankton as the capital of Dakota Territory in 1883. Settlers were soon streaming in.
Here’s a vintage view of Bismarck circa 1883 in the form of a lithograph from the JJ Stoner Company of Madison, Wisconsin. The size of this photo is HUGE, so if you click the photo it may take a moment to load the full-size image.
Note the four landmarks in the corners — the NP Bridge across the Missouri, the Dakota Territory Penitentiary, Bismarck High School, and the original State Capitol. Update: In my original post, I neglected to mention that the Capitol building was not yet complete when this lithograph was done, and the building did not actually look like this when it was complete.
Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy