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"Vi Skal Vinne. (We Shall Overcome)" -- Stutson town motto

Stutson is a city in Willamette County, North Dakota, United States. It is not a county seat nor is it even the biggest of the handful of settlements in the county. The population is 3,741 at the 2010 census. It is named after Lewis Stutson, the town's original surveyor in 1884.

The town is built along the Spirit River and lies only a short distance from Great Spirit Lake (which technically serves the county for recreation and is connected to the Little Devil Resevoir).

The local paper is the Stutson Journal. The nearest airport is located in Fargo and contains no colleges or universities, though the local high school, Lewis High School, is a satellite school to North Dakota State University in Fargo.

History Edit

The present site of Stutson was historically Sioux territory. The Sioux were relocated to the Spirit Plains Reservation in 1877. The natives referred to the land as wak'an (spirit) and chante (bad), after their legends that held the land was home to cruel and malevolent nature spirits. Local legends hold that mirages and other strange hallucinations could be seen and they believed the land to be cursed. When the natives attacked the original settlers of the region, it was allegedly to "protect them" from "what lie in the earth".

The first post office was founded here November 15, 1882 and was originally named Spirit River, after the nearby river that today splits the town in two. It was founded by Lieutenant Lewis Stutson, a West Point graduate and topographical engineer. After resigning from the army, he surveyed and established the townsite, which was officially incorporated in 1884.

He had a well-known feud with Randolph Willemette, a rival land surveyor who founded the town of Willemette, which is located about 12 miles away, and is also the namesake of the county. The two were quite bitter at one another, an animosity that has lasted between the residents until this day.

Geography and Climate Edit

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.51 square miles. Like all of North Dakota, Stutson has a humid continental climate with very cold winters with frequent light snowfall, and warm to very warm, wet 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 Canadian border, averaging -21 F for five weeks, ending February 21, 1936.

On average, 53.4 nights fall to or below 0 F, 104.1 F days fail to top freezing and 184.5 nights fall below 32 F. 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 and only 9.3 topping 90 F.

Stutson experiences about 99.9 inches of precipitation per year.

Demographics Edit

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,741 people reside in the city.

The racial makeup of the city is 82.9% White, 12.5% Native American, 3.4% from two or more races, 1.3% Hispanic or Latino, 0.5% African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% from other races.

26% of households have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36% are married couples living together, 12.7% are female with no husband present, 4.3% are male with no wife present and 47% are non-families (things like roommates, single residents, etc). The median age in the city is 40.4 years old with 21.6% of the residents being under the age of 18.

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

Education Edit

K-12 Edit

The city of Stutson is served by Stutson Public Schools. This system operates Sweetwater Elementary School, Prairie View Middle School and Lewis High School. A private school, St. Joseph's Catholic School, is also located in Stutson.

Lewis High School Edit

A public high school located in Stutson, about a mile from downtown. It is part of the Stutson Public School system. The athletic teams is known as the Thunderbirds. The principal is named Bart Jefferson.

In 2014, the school dress code was adjusted, prohibiting skinny jeans, leggings and jeggings.

The high school has a football team but it's never been very good. They have a bitter rivalry with the Spirit High Plains Wolves, the high school team in Willemette.

Media Edit

Despite its small size, Stutson is home to a number of media outlets:

Print Edit

  • Stutson Journal

Television Edit

  • 8 WZMT - "Praire Public Television" - A free public access channel

Radio Edit

  • 89.8 KDZI - American Family Radio (Christian Station)
  • 97.1 KDPP - Prairie Public Radio (Public/Classical/Jazz)
  • 104.1 - Pirate Radio Station (Electronica, Rap)

Transportation Edit

Amtrak, the US National Passenger Rail system, has a track that passes through Stutson but the station is in Willemette. The city has campaigned for some time to also receive a station, but Amtrak doesn't see the point, considering the Willemette station is only 12 miles away. Stutson argues that's beside the point and it's about the principal of the thing.

There is a guy who drives a van that is, ostensibly, a taxi.

A public shuttle, which people call The Pinkermobile or The Pepto Busmol, can operate if you call them. The bus charges $2.50 per ride. It's mostly old people and residents who live a few miles outside of town who use it, though it's available for everybody.

Sites of Interest Edit

  • 7-11: A 24/7 convenience store.
  • AM/PM - Krispy Kreme: One of the two gas stations in town, this one is way popular because of the Krispy Kreme. The gas station proper is only open until 10pm but the latter is open from 5am to 12am. It basically only closes to clean up.
  • Anne's Bouquet: A flower shop and nursery.
  • Buchannon's Department Store: A store that sells hardware/sporting goods/outdoor equipment. It's been open since 1947.
  • Early Bird Bakery: A bakery that specializes in artisan bread and cakes.
  • Frank's Auto Repair: An automobile repair shop, run by the semi-reputable Frank Smith.
  • JJ's Diner: A small diner that is open 24 hours. A common place for night owls.
  • Gaffney's: A (kind of expensive) clothing shop. Most high school girls get their dresses for prom here.
  • The Last Drop: A coffee shop and bakery located downtown. Popular with high schoolers.
  • Lewis High School: Located about a mile from downtown.
  • Lewis T. Stutson Statue: Located downtown, vandalized more often than the town admits.
  • The Lyric: Local movie theater. Has one screen and usually shows two movies at a time.
  • Maestro's: A music supply store downtown.
  • McDonald's
  • Napa Auto Parts
  • North Cemetery: Inter-faith cemetery located about two miles from downtown.
  • Out to Lunch: A restaurant next door to the Lyric. It closes at 3pm, so mostly old people eat here.
  • Spirit Laundromat: A laundromat, open 9am - 7pm.
  • Stan's Supervalu: A hardware/farm supply store.
  • Stutson Body and Fender: Another auto repair shop. They will usually work with most farm equipment, as well.
  • Stutson Savings and Loan: The local bank.
  • Webo's Restaurant & Lounge: A small, "family eatery". Small, usually empty. Carpets are worn almost to the ground. It's still in business because it's relatively popular as a drinking venue during sports events, because they have several large televisions situated around the bar.
  • Wild Coyote: A bar at the edge of town. The watering hole for Harry Wheeler.
  • Yankee Attic: A resale shop.