FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2015
Contact: For more information about the upcoming meeting, contact Camp Hancock Site Supervisor Johnathan Campbell at 701.328.9664. For additional State Historical Society of North Dakota events, go to www.history.nd.gov
BISMARCK - The State Historical Society of North Dakota is seeking community involvement to organize a friends group for Camp Hancock State Historic Site. A preliminary meeting will be held on Thursday, May 28, at 6:30 p.m. at Camp Hancock State Historic Site, 101 East Main Ave, Bismarck. This meeting is open to all who are interested in organizing a group to assist with preservation, fund raising, and promotion of Camp Hancock State Historic Site.
The camp was established in 1872 and named Camp Greeley in honor of Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Times and author of the saying, “Go west, young man.” In 1873 it was renamed Camp Hancock in honor of the Department of Dakota commander, General George Winfield Hancock. The camp housed soldiers protecting the supplies and workers laying tracks for the Northern Pacific Railroad.
From 1877 to 1894, Camp Hancock served as supply depot for the western forts of Dakota Territory and the northwest British Territories. In 1894 the military withdrew from the camp, and it served as headquarters for the U.S. Weather Bureau in North Dakota until 1940. The U.S. Soil Conservation Service was housed at the site until 1949.
In 1951 Camp Hancock was turned over to the State Historical Society of North Dakota for preservation and opened in 1955 as a state historic site. The oldest building in Bismarck, the officer’s quarters, still stands on its original spot at the site. Though heavily remodeled in 1901 by the Weather Bureau, the original 1872 log structure can still be seen.
A 1909 Northern Pacific Steam Engine, placed at the site in 1955 to commemorate the role of the railroad in the creation of Camp Hancock and Bismarck, is displayed at the site. In 1965 the oldest church in Bismarck, the 1880 Bread of Life Church, was moved to the site for preservation.
The State Historical Society of North Dakota currently has partnerships with seven friends groups across the state that help with the preservation of North Dakotas historic sites.
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