Mondak carries a grizzly history
It didn’t start out to become a legend. Built on the state line, Mondak, the legendary wild town of 100 years ago served alcohol on the Montana side of town. The North Dakota side was dry.
The town played an important role as a trade center. Plus it housed hundreds of men working on the Great Northern Railroad, the Montana Eastern Railway and its bridge to the south. People named the bridge for the towns nearby — on one end, it was called the Snowden Bridge, on the other end it was called the Nohly Bridge. Both Snowden and Nohly are gone. But unlike Mondak, the two towns don’t even have foundations to show for where they once stood.
Click here to read about a gruesome Friday night in April 1913. You’ll see why these remaining buildings and the bridge in the distance are significant.
Find out more
Joe Stundal adds a bit more history on why this bridge is here and why the Great Northern was built in this area, Elbowoods and Watford City:
I believe both Snowden and Fairview lift bridges were built by Great Northern as part of their efforts to build a shorter, faster route from Chicago to Seattle and beat their main competitor, the Northern Pacific and Milwaukee Road railroads. The plan was to bypass Grand Forks, Minot and Williston. Instead go NW from Fargo to New Rockford area, then west to along the north bank of the Missouri River in the now flooded Elbowoods area. Bridge across the Missouri west of Elbowoods and follow the Little Missouri and a creek bed up to Watford City. Then west through Alexander and Cartwright to Fairview. Then north through the Snowden bridge to rejoin the existing main line at Snowden siding west of MonDak. This plan was started and the line built from Snowden to Watford City. However, World War I happened and there was a large steel shortage in the US, and it was never finished.
Sunday Snapshot (and also Saturday Snapshot)
We write quick weekend posts to help you stay in touch with what’s happening in the Beautiful Badlands of North Dakota.
Subscribe to get a note in your inbox when the story is posted. Or search the categories to find a snapshot where you can plan a trip.
Here’s more from our research and explorations of the Snowden Bridge.
Follow us on Facebook.
We tell stories. Book a Speaker
We love to share insight and ideas for exploring the Beautiful Badlands. We’ll speak to your group. Just ask!