Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring Sioux Nation Forts

Bonanzaville Pioneer Village & Museum
1351 West Main Avenue
West Fargo, ND 58078
Phone: 701-282-2822

Bonanzaville USA is named after the Bonanza Farms that dotted this region in the late nineteenth century as a result of Northern Pacific Railroad's marketing efforts. The NPRR lobbied for large-scale, showcase farms of 1,000 acres or more to advertise the economic potential of the land on either side of the Northern Pacific's route, in particular the land along the Minnesota, Dakota Territory border known as the Red River Valley. They believed these enormous farms would attract people to the Midwest and in return ensure financial support for the railroad. They were right.

The Cass County Historical Society was started in 1954 by the Daughters of the Dakota Pioneers in a basement room at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota. Later the museum was moved to Minard Hall at NDSU and began to grow with the help of its volunteers.

In 1967 when the Red River Valley Fair moved its headquarters and site to West Fargo, it requested the Cass County Historical Society build its historic village nearby to enhance the fair, believing the village would be an added attraction. The Society accepted the offer of five acres of land and has since been growing and thriving in this location.

Bonanzaville USA recreates the magnificent history of this area's past using more then 400,000 documented and treasured artifacts indigenous to the upper Midwest arranged throughout 40 buildings and spread over 15 acres. Many of the houses and shops are historically significant and were laboriously moved to Bonanzaville from surrounding cities.

Strolling around our site, or the museum itself, is like reliving the years we enjoyed most, those simpler times.

The mission of the Cass County Historical Society is to collect, restore and display artifacts relevant to the history and cultural heritage of the region for the education and enjoyment of the public so that all can gain a better appreciation of those things from the past that serve as the foundation for today and tomorrow.

Village and Museum

May - October
(2 weeks only)


Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

June - September

Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sundays Noon to 5 p.m.

October, two weeks only

Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

This Summer's Events

Pioneer Days

Our Biggest Annual Event

Saturday, August 16 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday, August 17 Noon - 5 p.m.
(with a 11 a.m. church service)

$7 adults / $4 children

The region's longest running festival of our heritage features pioneer demonstrations and food, costumed interpreters, steam thrashing, live musical entertainment, children's activities and a fantastic parade of vintage automobiles and antique tractors.

Harvest Days
First Year For This Event

Saturday, September 20 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday, September 21 Noon - 5 p.m.
(with a 11 a.m. church service)
$7 adults / $4 children
Reap the harvest with an old-fashioned family get-together with pie contests, games, carnival rides, demonstrations, farmers market, stage coach rides, food, music, movies and more.

Christmas on the Prairie

Saturday, December 6 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Free Admission

Annual Event

Our costumed interpreters invite you to join us as our prairie village is lighted and ready to honor the season with horse-drawn rides, carol singing, story-telling, kids' carnival, a chance to visit with old St. Nick and much more.

Festive food and fun for the whole family in a beautiful winter's evening atmosphere.


General Admission: $12
Seniors/College: $10
6 - 16 years: $6
5 and under: Free

Groups of 25 or more: $6 per person

Motor Coach Parking Available

Communities and Related Links
Bonanzaville Web Site

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