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International Peace Garden

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1931–1942; 1960–2001 enhancements. U.S. 281 at the Canadian border
  • (Dennis Colliton, FASLA)

The International Peace Garden (IPG) was conceived in 1928 by Dr. Henry J. Moore as a garden commemorating world peace along the international boundary line where, according to the U.S. bicentennial book project Entres Amis/Between Friends (edited by Lorraine Monk, 1976), “the people of the two countries could share the glories found in a lovely garden and the pleasures found in warm friendships.” To realize the Peace Garden, the State of North Dakota donated 888 acres of land, and the Province of Manitoba donated 1,450 acres, all within the coniferous forested area of the Turtle Mountains. The garden is located on the border itself, the “longest unguarded border in the world,” although aerial surveillance by drone aircraft may occasionally make one wonder. The Peace Garden is a kind of stateless area. Visitors from the United States pass U.S. customs when arriving and leaving the park, but are not required to go through Canadian customs. An interpretive center depicts the history and development of the park.

Much of the work of developing the park was sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota and accomplished by CCC construction crews between 1931 and 1942. In addition to natural landscape features, the IPG plants more than 150,000 flowers each year—for a frustratingly short growing season. Principal commemorative elements include water features and fountains, a floral clock display, carillon chimes, and 120-foot-tall concrete towers straddling the border, with a Chapel of Peace at their base. One of the more recently added elements is a display of ten twisted steel structural pieces salvaged from the World Trade Center, as a reminder of September 11, 2001. The IPG is also the site of an International Music Camp. From the entrance gateway, a clear-cut area can be seen that indicates where the U.S./Canadian border runs straight for many miles. A cairn of native stone was constructed in 1932 with the inscription, “To God and His Glory, we two nations dedicate this garden and pledge ourselves that as long as men shall live, we will not take up arms against one another.”

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "International Peace Garden", [Dunseith, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 119-120.

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