Immerse Yourself In Local History At The McKenzie Co. Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum
April 26, 2023 | View PDF
Take a step back in time while visiting the McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum located at 904 2nd Ave. SW, Watford City.
The museum sits on six acres and several historical McKenzie County buildings have been relocated to the grounds for public display. These include a barbershop, blacksmithing shop, homestead shack, church, George Shafer's Law Office and the "end of the line" train depot from the Great Northern Railroad.
The McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum proudly houses a wooly mammoth femur bone, tusk and tooth from the Ice Age era, and while walking the grounds, visitors will see antique cars and farming equipment. The museum houses several exhibits, many of which have been donated by local families.
In November 2022, the former Pioneer Museum relocated their exhibits and artifacts to McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum. Formerly located in the Long X Trading Post Visitor Center, the decision was made to transfer items from the Pioneer Museum as the Long X Trading Post Visitor Center is transitioning to the Long X Arts Foundation building and they needed the extra room.
Musical instruments, clothing and dishes are some of the items that were relocated. However, one of the most exciting additions from the Pioneer Museum is the Charles Bannon exhibit. Charles Bannon confessed to killing the Haven family, who he worked for on their farm located near Schafer, ND. Following their disappearances, Bannon stayed on the farm and tried selling the family's property and crops, telling suspicious neighbors that the Havens had left the area. In January 1931, while in custody, a lynch mob broke down the door to the jail, overpowered the sheriff's deputy and took Bannon to the bridge over Cherry Creek where they hanged him. It would be North Dakota's last lynching.
Winter hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Summer hours, which begin Memorial Day weekend are Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. For more information on how to do a little time traveling with this historical gem of North Dakota, contact Ferin Moore, museum director at 701-842-6434, visit them online at visitwatfordcity.com, or check them out on Facebook.