Historically, Minot has had a colorful history as something of a wide open town where Prohibition-era bootlegging and crime were not uncommon. Minot came into existence in 1887 as a stop on the Great Northern (GN) Railway that was being built through the Dakota Territory. It acquired the name “Magic City” because of its population explosion to five thousand in its first year. Today, Minot is an important center, meeting the health care, service, and shopping needs of a trade area extending west into eastern Montana and north into Canada. Volatile drainage basins and recurrent flooding from the Souris River have impacted Minot and the Souris Basin. In 2011, several historic residential neighborhoods near downtown Minot were inundated by a disastrous, record-setting flood. Since 2011, Minot has begun to implement a flood recovery master plan that encourages restoration of historic or potentially historic public sites such as the Eastwood Park Bridge and Roosevelt Park Zoo. Immediate rehabilitation of historic houses and restoration of commercial buildings have been remarkable. Community leaders and preservationists from Grand Forks who managed their city’s rehabilitation following the 1997 flood have shared their knowledge and expertise. But flood recovery challenges in Minot are compounded by the competition for resources from the unfettered oil production economy at its doorstep. With a shortfall of financial resources and absence of a secure watershed management plan, the future remains less than certain.
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