Devils Lake, North Dakota
Downtown Devils Lake
Downtown Devils Lake
Location of Devils Lake, North Dakota
Location of Devils Lake, North Dakota
Coordinates: 48°7′N 98°52′W / 48.117°N 98.867°W / 48.117; -98.867Coordinates: 48°7′N 98°52′W / 48.117°N 98.867°W / 48.117; -98.867
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Dakota
CountyRamsey
Founded1882
Incorporated (village)1884
Incorporated (city)1887
Government
 • MayorRichard Johnson
Area
 • Total6.93 sq mi (17.94 km2)
 • Land6.92 sq mi (17.93 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
Elevation
1,447 ft (441 m)
Population
 • Total7,192
 • Density1,057.50/sq mi (408.32/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
58301
Area code(s)701
FIPS code38-19420
GNIS feature ID1028672[4]
HighwaysUS 2, ND 19, ND 20
Websitedevilslakend.com

Devils Lake is a city in Ramsey County, North Dakota, United States. It is the county seat of Ramsey County.[5] The population was 7,192 at the 2020 census.[3] It is named after the nearby body of water called Devils Lake. The first house in Devils Lake was built in 1882. It was surveyed in 1883 and named Creelsburg and later Creel City, after the surveyor, Heber M. Creel. In 1884 it was renamed Devils Lake.[6]

The local paper is the Devils Lake Journal. Devils Lake Municipal Airport serves the city. Devils Lake is home to Lake Region State College and the North Dakota School for the Deaf.

History

The present site of Devils Lake was, historically, a territory of the Dakota people. However, the Sisseton, Wahpeton, and Cut-Head bands of the Dakotas were relocated to the Spirit Lake Reservation as a result of the 1867 treaty between the United States and the Dakota that established a reservation for those who had not been forcibly relocated to Crow Creek Reservation in what is now South Dakota.[7][8] The name "Devils Lake" is a calque of the Dakota phrase mni wak’áŋ (literally translating to spirit water),[9] which is also reflected in the names of the Spirit Lake Tribe and the nearby town of Minnewaukan.

Portrait of Heber M. Creel, circa 1898
Portrait of Heber M. Creel, circa 1898

The Dakota called the lake mni wak’áŋ, which separately translates as mni (water) and wak’áŋ (literally meaning "pure source" but often translated as "spirit" or "sacred"). The European-American settlers misconstrued this name to mean "Bad Spirit Lake" or "Devils Lake." The "bad" referred to the high salinity of the lake, making it unfit to drink, and "spirit" referenced the mirages often seen across the water. The Christian concept of the devil was not present in the Dakota philosophy and religious practices.[10]

The Hidatsa name for the lake is mirixubaash ( meaning "sacred water").[11]

The first post office was founded November 15, 1882, and was originally named Creelsburg.[6] It was founded by Lieutenant Heber M. Creel, a West Point graduate and topographical engineer stationed at nearby Fort Totten. After resigning from the U.S. Army, he surveyed the land and established the townsite.

The surrounding Creel Township is named for Mr. Creel. The name was later changed to Creel City and expanded by the Great Northern Railway. When the village was incorporated in 1884, the name was changed to City of Devils Lake and then shortened to Devils Lake.[1][10]

During a period of increased rainfall, beginning in the 1990s and unprecedented in the history of North Dakota, caused the nearby lake, which has no natural outlet, to rise. The surface area has quadrupled, and the higher water has resulted in the moving or destruction of over 400 houses.[12]

Weather Bureau building c. 1900
Weather Bureau building c. 1900

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.51 square miles (16.86 km2), of which 6.50 square miles (16.83 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.[13]

Like all of North Dakota, Devils Lake has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with very cold winters with frequent light snowfall, and warm to very warm, wetter summers with most rain from convective thunderstorms. During the 1936 North American cold wave, the town was one of the coldest places south of the Canada–US border, averaging −21 °F or −29.4 °C for the five weeks ending February 21, 1936[14] (though at a different site from that now in use). On average 53.4 nights fall to or below 0 °F or −17.8 °C, 104.1 days fail to top freezing, and 184.5 nights fall below 32 °F or 0 °C. In the winter, only 17.5 days on average top freezing, and in severe winters months can pass without even a minor thaw. Extreme heat is rare in summer, with only one day in three years topping 100 °F or 37.8 °C, and only 9.3 topping 90 °F or 32.2 °C.

Hydrograph Illustrating rising waters over the 1900-2015 time period.
Hydrograph Illustrating rising waters over the 1900-2015 time period.
Climate data for Devils Lake, North Dakota (1971-2000, extremes 1948-2001)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 53
(12)
60
(16)
72
(22)
97
(36)
96
(36)
103
(39)
103
(39)
103
(39)
100
(38)
94
(34)
77
(25)
59
(15)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 14.7
(−9.6)
22.3
(−5.4)
33.6
(0.9)
52.1
(11.2)
67.5
(19.7)
75.3
(24.1)
80.1
(26.7)
79.1
(26.2)
67.7
(19.8)
53.9
(12.2)
33.1
(0.6)
19.4
(−7.0)
49.9
(9.9)
Average low °F (°C) −2.5
(−19.2)
5.2
(−14.9)
17.3
(−8.2)
32.2
(0.1)
44.9
(7.2)
54.3
(12.4)
58.6
(14.8)
56.2
(13.4)
46.5
(8.1)
34.6
(1.4)
18.4
(−7.6)
3.6
(−15.8)
30.8
(−0.7)
Record low °F (°C) −36
(−38)
−37
(−38)
−28
(−33)
−12
(−24)
1
(−17)
29
(−2)
39
(4)
33
(1)
20
(−7)
−2
(−19)
−25
(−32)
−37
(−38)
−37
(−38)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.58
(15)
0.51
(13)
0.80
(20)
0.90
(23)
2.14
(54)
3.83
(97)
3.29
(84)
2.21
(56)
1.80
(46)
1.47
(37)
0.83
(21)
0.57
(14)
18.93
(480)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.3
(16)
4.7
(12)
6.3
(16)
2.2
(5.6)
0.3
(0.76)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
1.9
(4.8)
5.4
(14)
7.2
(18)
34.3
(87.16)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 8.4 6.7 7.2 7.1 9.5 12.1 10.1 8.9 8.4 7.3 6.8 7.4 99.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 6.2 3.7 3.8 1.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.7 3.1 4.8 23.6
Source: NOAA[15]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890846
19001,729104.4%
19105,157198.3%
19205,140−0.3%
19305,4516.1%
19406,20413.8%
19506,4273.6%
19606,299−2.0%
19707,07812.4%
19807,4425.1%
19907,7824.6%
20007,222−7.2%
20107,141−1.1%
20207,1920.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
2020 Census[3]

2010 census

As of the census[17] of 2010, there were 7,141 people, 3,229 households, and 1,712 families living in the city. The population density was 1,098.6 inhabitants per square mile (424.2/km2). There were 3,481 housing units at an average density of 535.5 per square mile (206.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.9% White, 0.5% African American, 12.5% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 3,229 households, of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.0% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.0% were non-families. 41.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.80.

The median age in the city was 40.4 years. 21.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.3% were from 25 to 44; 26.1% were from 45 to 64; and 19.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,222 people, 3,127 households, and 1,773 families living in the city. The population density was 1,149.4 inhabitants per square mile (443.8/km2). There were 3,508 housing units at an average density of 558.3 per square mile (215.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.23% White, 0.22% African American, 7.84% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.21% from other races, and 2.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.55% of the population.

The top 6 ancestry groups in the city are German (43.9%), Norwegian (33.4%), Irish (7.6%), French (4.7%), Swedish (4.5%), English (2.7%).

There were 3,127 households, out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 37.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $39,541. Males had a median income of $27,972 versus $18,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,741. About 11.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Public school building in Devils Lake, N.D., 1898
Public school building in Devils Lake, N.D., 1898

K-12

The city of Devils Lake is served by Devils Lake Public Schools.[18] This system operates Sweetwater Elementary School, Prairie View Elementary School, Minnie H Elementary School, Central Middle School, and Devils Lake High School.

A private school, St. Joseph's Catholic School (of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo), is also located in Devils Lake.

Higher education

Sports

Media

Print

Television

Radio

FM

Transportation

Amtrak, the U.S. national passenger rail system, serves Devils Lake, operating its Empire Builder daily in both directions between Chicago and Seattle and Portland, Oregon. SkyWest Air Lines also operates two flights daily to the Devils Lake Municipal Airport from Denver International Airport.

Sites of interest

Notable people

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References

  1. ^ a b Wick, Douglas A. (1988). North Dakota Place Names. Bismarck, N.D.: Hedemarken Collectibles. p. 48. ISBN 0-9620968-0-6. OCLC 191277027.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "2020 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Ramsey County History Archived October 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ http://www.spiritlakenation.com/history/ Spirit Lake Nation 2017, accessed July 5, 2017.
  8. ^ February 19, 1867 "Treaty With the Sioux--Sisseton and Wahpeton Bands, 1867," http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/vol2/treaties/sio0956.htm.
  9. ^ Buechel, Eugene. (1970) Lakota-English Dictionary. Pine Ridge, SD: Red Cloud Indian School.
  10. ^ a b Williams, Mary Ann (Barnes) (1966). Origins of North Dakota place names. Bismarck, North Dakota: Bismarck Tribune, 1966. pp. 20, 236. OCLC 431626.
  11. ^ "Hidatsa Lessons Vocab". Hidatsa Language Program. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  12. ^ Dave Kolpack, "North Dakota lake swallows land and buildings[permanent dead link]", Denver Post, September 22, 2010.
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Kincer, J.B.; ‘Weather Cycle Changing: Present Hard Winter May Be a Foretaste of a Series of Colder and Wetter Years’; The New York Times, February 21, 1936, p. E10
  15. ^ "DEVILS LAKE KDLR (022329) – Climatography of the United States No. 20, 1971-2000" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Retrieved on August 28, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  18. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Ramsey County, ND" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2021.