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North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
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Picture of Old Capitol with John Burke and his men

Old Capitol Built 1883 - Burned December 28, 1930. The man standing on the ground is Governor John Burke. John Burke was the 10th governor of North Dakota. He was born in Sigourney, Iowa 2-25-1859. He came to Dakota Territory in 1888, and worked as a farm hand. He then moved to Rolette COunty, where he taught school,edited the local paper and practiced law. He served as a Rolette County Judge from 1889 to 1891 and practiced law. In 1902 he moved to Devils Lake, North Dakota, and practiced law until he was elected Governor, John Burke was 47 years old at inauguration, he served from 1907 until 1913. He became a North Dakota Supreme Court Justice at the age of 65, he served from 1925 until 1937. He died in Rochester, MN on 5-14-1937, at the age of 78.

Picture of old Capitol and trolly car

Old Capitol with the trolley car beside it. In 1903 Bismarck contracted for a street car line to run from the business district to the State Capitol. The state-owned trolly line ran from Ninth Street along Main Avenue to Fourth Street and then North on Fourth to the old Capitol Building. The trolley continued to operate without a franchise until 1931. Micky O'Connor, its one and only motorman, went to work as an elevator operator at the present Capitol when funds finally ran out.

In the Board of Administration Report they showed an estimated cost of operating the State Trolley Line from July 1, 1920 to June 30, 1921.

Motorman's Salary 1,620.00
Trackmen and other wages 2,914.16
Firemen (7 months extra) Wages 875.00
Coal, (Estimated 312 tons at $5.00) 1560.00
Oil and Grease 60.00
Repairs, Replacement and Upkeep 948.01
Depreciation 400.00


Trolley Car Fares:

July 1920 325.65
August 289.35
September 238.30
October --
November 345.65
December 342.25
January 1921 654.35
February 748.00
March 248.00
April 36.00
May 131.95
June 251.05


This report showed a loss of $4,666.62. The relaying of new ties on the track during the year which cost $4,935.47, was considered an extraordinary expense and is not included in the loss report because it was taken care of by the depreciation. The car was not operated from September 25th to October 25, 1920, while the track was torn up and new ties were laid, and again from March 5th to May 15th, 1921, while the engine was out of repair - the car line lost about one-fourth of the annual income from fares during the year.

Picture of trolley car on Main Street 1906

The state owned Trolley Line began in 1906 and was discontinued in 1931.