Because I have written about many different subjects which caused readers to find my website for different reasons, some new followers of my blog post articles may not know why I am writing about Dickinson, North Dakota.
I had lived in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Utah, Arizona, and Idaho before I travelled to North Dakota when I was in my early 40s to work here during the 2007-2015 oil boom. For people who were not here, they may have no idea what this oil boom was like.
Prior to 2007, the two largest towns in western North Dakota, Dickinson and Williston, each had a population of about 15,000 people. By 2011 both Dickinson and Williston had each added about 10,000 male workers from out-of-state. Rent and housing prices doubled, then quadrupled. Housing was at over 100% capacity, people were paying rent to sleep in tents in people’s backyards.
I had never been around people who were so hostile, unfriendly, uncooperative, not helpful, nasty, un-Christian and usurious as the local people in Dickinson, North Dakota, especially the women. Initially, and continuing for years afterward I have tried to understand why the people in Dickinson were like this.
Some of my early understanding of the people in Dickinson was valid: The local people in Dickinson were descendants of German and Ukrainian immigrant homesteaders who were historically not friendly people; These Catholic immigrants had been indoctrinated by the Catholic Church principles such as the supremacy of the Pope, the importance of Mass and Communion, but not Christian principles such as treating other people with kindness; Due to the very harsh and barren conditions in North Dakota, charity and hospitality was something that the local people could historically not afford to offer.
I probably need to explain to readers who have never been to North Dakota, that the landscape is primarily empty grassland prairie with very few trees, or badlands filled with almost barren sandstone hills. The immigrant homesteaders who arrived in the 1890s and early 1900s had to build their small houses out of stacked grass sod, and burn dried buffalo dung for heating and cooking. Survival was so difficult, food and supplies were so short, that the practice of charity and hospitality was not possible, and not passed down to this day.
Very soon after arriving in Dickinson in 2011, I realized that there were very few attractive women here. During the next several years I began to understand that attractive women had not made the trip to western North Dakota during the homesteading immigration years of the 1890s through early 1900s. Attractive women were able to escape this fate by employing their charms either back in Germany and Ukraine, at the port of entry cities on the east coast, or somewhere else along the way like Minnesota prior to reaching North Dakota.
Still to this day, attractive women will not come to western North Dakota. If an attractive female is born in western North Dakota, they leave this area after high school, because larger cities are more appealing to them and offer them much more opportunities for higher education, employment, dating, socializing, entertainment, and shopping.
After living in Dickinson for more than several years, I began to realize that its makeup was about 10% white-collar, 30% blue-collar, 40% semi-skilled labor, and 20% naer-do-wells. About 25% of the people in Dickinson have had a history of Meth use, and about 25% of the people in Dickinson have been arrested before. With more than half of its population below the blue-collar level, the Police in Dickinson treat everyone within Dickinson like inmates in a prison work camp, subject to being stopped and questioned at any time.
During the oil boom when out-of-state workers were lured here by false claims that everyone was making $100K per year in the oil field, most of these individuals did not stay for more than a year because it was so difficult and unpleasant living here. Housing was very difficult to obtain and it was very expensive, the climate was extremely cold and windy, the local people were unfriendly and hostile, co-workers were uncooperative and undermining, there were no attractive women, there was nothing to do except go drink in a bar, and the Police circled the bars and restaurants waiting for people to leave in order to give them a DUI.
When the oil boom ended in 2015 due to the price of U.S. oil dropping below $60 per barrel, most of the out-of-state workers left western North Dakota. I thought that North Dakotans were very stupid for blowing the chance to have permanent long-term growth and a larger improved economy. Why would you treat people so shitty, that no one would want to live here? If North Dakotans hadn’t tried to rip these people off so bad with quadrupled housing prices, many of these people would have tried to become permanent residents.
In 2018 I began seeing in the news, more and more articles about people leaving California in large numbers in order to relocate to places like Arizona, Texas, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. The people in California were trying to get away from severe traffic congestion and long commutes to work, high housing prices, high property taxes, high state income taxes, crime, drugs, a large homeless population, excessive government over-regulation, and an abandonment of traditional Christian family values. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to leave California, it’s turning into a disaster.
In 2019 I was a little surprised to see more and more articles about the quickly rising housing prices and housing shortage in Boise, Idaho due to Californians moving in. At first, Californians were paying cash for the asking price of houses for sale in Boise, but by 2020 Californians were in bidding wars with each other, making competing offers above the asking price for houses in Boise. Local people in Boise could not afford to buy a house anymore, they were outbid by Californians.
Boise is not a spectacular city, the things that it offered were low crime, low cost of living, no serious traffic congestion, no pollution, and normalcy with traditional Christian family values and civility in the people who lived there.
I thought to myself, if only the people in Dickinson had not tried to rip-off the out-of-state workers so bad, been so hostile and unfriendly, arrested them for DUI, practically tried to run them out of town, Dickinson could have had growth like Boise and Bozeman. What a shame.
A couple of months ago I had to return to my home in Idaho after having been gone for a year and a half. The reason why I had to leave Idaho in the first place was because there had been a slow-down in the economy in Idaho following the 2008 housing-crises/mortgage-default nationwide downturn cycle. The economy in the small town where I lived and the larger town close by offered few employment opportunities and very low wages, but the quality of life was very good. It was peaceful, laid-back, with low crime, and simple outdoor activities and recreation.
When I was travelling on the interstate highway to get home in March, there was very little traffic in Idaho, the least amount of traffic that I had ever seen. However, when I entered the rural county where I lived in mid-morning, this was the most traffic that I had ever seen on this rural county highway. There was new development everywhere, I was shocked.
When I got to my house, I saw that the 80-acre farm field directly across the street from me had been developed into 1/2-acre lots with large $500K houses. In this small town, there were hardly any people who could afford houses like this, these houses were for Californians.
For the next several days, when I drove into town to handle business at the county office complex, get things at the hardware store, buy groceries, pick up take-out food, I noticed that everyone was in a hurry, pushy, aggressive, driving fast, equal to how people in Phoenix and Salt Lake City behave where there are over a million people, but this town has less than 5,000 people.
I could read the writing on the wall, this rural small town was changing, it didn’t take much, just a hundred Californians moving in. The area where my house was situated in the county, my neighbors to the west, north, and east had lived on their 5-acre or larger properties for twenty years or more. These were rednecks who were truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, building contractors, and mechanics. In my yard and in their yards were work trucks, hobby cars, equipment, travel trailers, truck campers, even horses, cows, and drag-line cranes. How long would it be before the $500K house Californians to the south of us began complaining to the county that we needed to get rid of everything on our property?
I began to feel that it was pointless for me to plan on returning to my home in Idaho to live, it was quickly changing into something that I never wanted it to be, or expected to happen in my lifetime. Even as fucked up and unpleasant as western North Dakota is, I felt that at least there isn’t any traffic, development, or change happening.
It began to dawn on me, that even though I hardly ever gave North Dakotans any credit for being intelligent, I mostly saw them as backward, ignorant, uneducated, short-sighted, and not seeing the big-picture, maybe North Dakotans had the right idea to treat people like shit and try to run them off.
About five months ago, there was a local man named Schmidt in his 90s who left a couple of mean nasty comments explaining to me that many North Dakotans did not want out-of-state people here, that they were going to mess things up, and that in the long-term the local economy could not sustain very many new people here due to the nature of it being primarily rural and agricultural. That the oil boom brought people here, who could not do well here after the oil boom went away.
I will acknowledge now, that even though people in western North Dakota are not very educated, and they didn’t explain themselves very well, somehow they knew that they had to try to discourage the out-of-state workers from thinking that they were going to move here permanently, because once the oil boom went away and there were too many people living here, it would be impossible for all of these people to survive in a simple small-town rural agricultural economy.
The other thing, that the not very educated, not very articulate North Dakotans didn’t explain very well, but knew, is that they didn’t want their way of life to change. By being mean, usurious, unfriendly, hostile, unhospitable, uncooperative, not helpful, and having ugly women, they kept people from staying here or wanting to come here. No new development here, don’t come here.
I used to write that by me pointing out what was wrong with Dickinson, by writing the truth about Dickinson, that if I could get people to see this, that this would be a step towards change for the better. I have begun to accept the reality that I do not like people, I don’t want to be around people, the fewer people that I have to deal with the better. By the people in Dickinson being so mean, hostile, and unfriendly etcetera, this has caused people to leave this area and not want to come to this area. Previously I thought that this was a mistake, but now I don’t think so anymore.