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Bowbells, North Dakota
Business district of Bowbells
Business district of Bowbells
Location of Bowbells, North Dakota
Location of Bowbells, North Dakota
Bowbells, North Dakota is located in the United States
Bowbells, North Dakota
Bowbells, North Dakota
Location in the United States
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Burke
 • Total 0.84 sq mi (2.18 km2)
 • Land 0.83 sq mi (2.16 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
1,962 ft (598 m)
 • Total 336
 • Estimate 
 • Density 403.36/sq mi (155.65/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-08500
GNIS feature ID 1028092

Bowbells is a city in and the county seat of Burke County, North Dakota, United States. The population was 336 at the 2010 census.


The city of Bowbells was founded in 1898 along the main line of the Soo Line Railroad and incorporated in 1906. The city was named by railroad officials after the famed Bow bells at St Mary-le-Bow in London, England.

The city's centennial celebration was held in the third week in July, 2006. Several hundred people from all over the country registered and attended. Burke County celebrated its centennial in the summer of 2010.


The town is home to a Lutheran, a Methodist, and a Roman Catholic church.

A municipal golf course is located 4 miles east of the city, and a community swimming pool, park and campground are available as well for visitors and residents.


Bowbells is located at 48°48′N 102°15′W / 48.800°N 102.250°W / 48.800; -102.250 (48.8038, -102.2462), a few miles west of Upper Des Lacs Lake and the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge. The Des Lacs valley was formed as meltwater flowed out of Glacial Lake Regina thousands of years ago.

Bowbells is about 20 km (12 mi) south of the Canada–US border, just off a 90-degree bend in U.S. Highway 52 and along the Canadian Pacific Railway, a railway serving the SunPrairie Grain grain terminal there. It is located approximately 52 miles northwest of Minot, North Dakota, the nearest city with an international airport (MOT) and 30 miles north of Stanley, North Dakota, the nearest passenger train station.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.81 square miles (2.10 km2), of which 0.80 square miles (2.07 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 651
1920 643 −1.2%
1930 695 8.1%
1940 787 13.2%
1950 806 2.4%
1960 687 −14.8%
1970 584 −15.0%
1980 587 0.5%
1990 498 −15.2%
2000 406 −18.5%
2010 336 −17.2%
2019 (est.) 336 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 336 people, 161 households, and 93 families residing in the city. The population density was 420.0 inhabitants per square mile (162.2/km2). There were 223 housing units at an average density of 278.8 per square mile (107.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.4% White, 0.6% Native American, 2.7% Asian, and 0.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6% of the population.

There were 161 households, of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.2% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.70.

The median age in the city was 47.7 years. 21.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.3% were from 25 to 44; 34.7% were from 45 to 64; and 19% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 52.4% male and 47.6% female.

In popular culture

The town of Bowbells was referenced in an episode of the television series Royal Pains as the hometown of a married couple who wins a large sum of money in an undisclosed lottery and move to The Hamptons to renew their wedding vows.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bowbells has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.


Farmers in the area produce crops such as barley, canola, flax, oats, peas, sunflowers, durum and Hard Red Spring Wheat. There have been substantial oil wells in the area and thus oil-related businesses, including drilling, service and distribution businesses.

Some of the businesses in the town include an implement dealership, SunPrairie Grain (a division of CHS Incorporated), Savage Industries, and government-related buildings and businesses. The town's main street includes a gas station, a service station, a handful of crop and property insurance agencies, Dacotah Bank, The Newly Remodeled Historic Bowbells Hotel and North Dakota Wine Kitchen. Since Bowbells is the county seat of Burke County, the county courthouse is located here. It's on the southwest side of town. The official county newspaper, The Burke County Tribune newspaper, is located in the city as well.

Montana-Dakota Utilities provides electrical service to the town. There is no municipal natural gas service.

Notable people

  • Les Jepsen, former NBA and University of Iowa basketball player, born and raised in Bowbells
  • Francis D. Lyon, Hollywood director and Academy Award-winning film editor, born in Bowbells

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bowbells (Dakota del Norte) para niños

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