Middle Border History…A Proud Heritage

The Middle Border Region

“The Middle Border” ink drawing by Ben Albert Benson

It was called the Middle Border. It was a place where two halves of a young, expanding country met, a place of promise and opportunity – a place of challenge and hardship. Above all, it was a place where people came, led by their dreams, to carve out a new life.

In one way or another, everything that exists here today stands as a tribute to those people — a testament to their determination not just to survive in this rugged place, but to flourish. Their legacy to us is a proud heritage. The Friends of the Middle Border, Inc. which owns and operates the Dakota Discovery Museum, was founded in 1939.

Hamlin Garland

"A Daughter of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland

“A Daughter of the Middle Border” by Hamlin Garland

Author Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), whose family homesteaded in Dakota Territory, described life and the taming of the prairies in several of his novels including A Daughter of the Middle Border, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

One of the museum’s incorporators in 1939, Garland provided the name that described the museum’s mission – the promotion and preservation of the art, history and culture of the peoples of the Middle Border region.