Devils Lake, North Dakota facts for kids

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Devils Lake, North Dakota
City
Downtown Devils Lake
Downtown Devils Lake
Location of Devils Lake, North Dakota
Location of Devils Lake, North Dakota
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Ramsey
Founded 1882
Incorporated (village) 1884
Incorporated (city) 1887
Area
 • Total 6.51 sq mi (16.86 km2)
 • Land 6.50 sq mi (16.83 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 1,447 ft (441 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,141
 • Estimate (2015) 7,351
 • Density 1,098.6/sq mi (424.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 58301
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-19420
GNIS feature ID 1028672
Highways US 2, ND 19, ND 20
Website City of Devils Lake website

Devils Lake is a city in Ramsey County, North Dakota, United States. It is the county seat of Ramsey County. The population was 7,141 at the 2010 census. It is named after the nearby body of water, 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.

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 territory of the Sioux or Lakota. The Sioux were relocated to the Spirit Lake Reservation. The name "Devils Lake" is a calque of the Sioux phrase mni wak’áŋ (literally: spirit water), which is also reflected in the names of the Spirit Lake Tribe and the nearby town of Minnewaukan.

The Sioux called the lake mni wak’áŋ chante, which separately translate as mni (water), wak’áŋ (spirit), and chante (bad). Early European-American settlers thought this meant "Bad Spirit Lake", or "Devils Lake." The "bad" referred to the high salinity of the lake, making it unfit to drink, and "spirit" meant the mirages often seen across the water. The Christian concept of the devil was not present in the Sioux religion.

The Hidatsa name is mirixubaash ("sacred water").

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

The surrounding Creel Township is named for him. Its 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.

A period of increased rainfall, beginning in the 1990s and unprecedented in the history of the state, 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.

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.

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 (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.

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
(11.7)
60
(15.6)
72
(22.2)
97
(36.1)
96
(35.6)
103
(39.4)
103
(39.4)
103
(39.4)
100
(37.8)
94
(34.4)
77
(25)
59
(15)
103
(39.4)
Average high °F (°C) 14.7
(-9.61)
22.3
(-5.39)
33.6
(0.89)
52.1
(11.17)
67.5
(19.72)
75.3
(24.06)
80.1
(26.72)
79.1
(26.17)
67.7
(19.83)
53.9
(12.17)
33.1
(0.61)
19.4
(-7)
49.9
(9.94)
Average low °F (°C) −2.5
(-19.17)
5.2
(-14.89)
17.3
(-8.17)
32.2
(0.11)
44.9
(7.17)
54.3
(12.39)
58.6
(14.78)
56.2
(13.44)
46.5
(8.06)
34.6
(1.44)
18.4
(-7.56)
3.6
(-15.78)
30.8
(-0.67)
Record low °F (°C) −36
(-37.8)
−37
(-38.3)
−28
(-33.3)
−12
(-24.4)
1
(-17.2)
29
(-1.7)
39
(3.9)
33
(0.6)
20
(-6.7)
−2
(-18.9)
−25
(-31.7)
−37
(-38.3)
−37
(-38.3)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.58
(14.7)
0.51
(13)
0.80
(20.3)
0.90
(22.9)
2.14
(54.4)
3.83
(97.3)
3.29
(83.6)
2.21
(56.1)
1.80
(45.7)
1.47
(37.3)
0.83
(21.1)
0.57
(14.5)
18.93
(480.8)
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.3
(16)
4.7
(11.9)
6.3
(16)
2.2
(5.6)
0.3
(0.8)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
1.9
(4.8)
5.4
(13.7)
7.2
(18.3)
34.3
(87.1)
Avg. 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
Avg. 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

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 846
1900 1,729 104.4%
1910 5,157 198.3%
1920 5,140 −0.3%
1930 5,451 6.1%
1940 6,204 13.8%
1950 6,427 3.6%
1960 6,299 −2.0%
1970 7,078 12.4%
1980 7,442 5.1%
1990 7,782 4.6%
2000 7,222 −7.2%
2010 7,141 −1.1%
Est. 2015 7,351 2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,141 people, 3,229 households, and 1,712 families residing 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 2000 Census, there were 7,222 people, 3,127 households, and 1,773 families residing 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.

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

In popular culture

  • Devils Lake was a featured location in a fourth-season episode of the popular Syfy series Warehouse 13 titled "Personal Effects," though its establishing shot had little in common with town's actual topography and more closely resembled the North Dakota badlands.
  • Devils Lake is the site of a youth camp for Evangelical Christians in the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp.

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