North Dakota was the birthplace of several famous figures, including author Louis L'Amour, entrepreneur Harold Hamm, and actress Angie Dickinson.
Benson County, ND has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by Native Americans, particularly the Dakota Sioux tribes, who relied on hunting, fishing, and farming for sustenance. European settlers began to arrive in the mid-19th century, with the establishment of military forts and trading posts.

In 1884, Benson County was officially established, named after B.W. Benson, a territorial legislator. The county saw a significant influx of settlers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, attracted by the promise of free land through the Homestead Act. The agriculture industry boomed, with farmers cultivating wheat, barley, and oats. Towns and villages sprang up, including Maddock, the county seat, and Minnewaukan, the largest community.

However, the county faced several challenges over the years. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, many farmers suffered from drought and financial difficulties. The Dust Bowl also had a severe impact on the region, leading to soil erosion and crop failures. The construction of the Garrison Dam in the 1940s further disrupted the county, as it resulted in the loss of fertile farmland and the relocation of communities.

Despite these challenges, Benson County has adapted and thrived over time. The agriculture industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, although it has diversified to include livestock, dairy farming, and the production of biofuels. The county also boasts beautiful landscapes, with several recreational opportunities in the area, such as fishing, hunting, and boating on nearby lakes.

Today, Benson County continues to honor its history while looking towards the future. Its resilient community and dedication to preserving its agricultural heritage make it a unique and thriving part of North Dakota.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Benson County, North Dakota.

  • 1883 - Benson County was established on March 9.
  • 1888 - The county seat was established in Minnewaukan.
  • 1911 - The Butte St. Paul Catholic Church was constructed in Maddock.
  • 1930 - The Minnewaukan Public School, known as the "Castle on the Hill," was built.
  • 1948 - The North Dakota State Highway Department built a bridge connecting the mainland and Pelican Island.
  • 1969 - The Spirit Lake Tribe established a reservation within the boundaries of Benson County.
  • 1990 - The White Horse Hill National Game Preserve was established on lands adjacent to Devils Lake.