Created By: North Dakota State University
The Checkered Years House offers us a peek into daily life on a bonanza farm in more ways than one. The house was built in the 1870s or 1880s on a bonanza farm in Mapleton Township. In 1882 Walter Woodward moved into this house with his mother and siblings to manage the farm. When they arrived at the property in 1882, there were only two buildings, and by 1887 there were 27 buildings on the farm, showing just how rapidly bonanza farms sprouted.
Woodward’s mother, Mary Dodge Woodward, kept a diary during her years at the house, which was later turned into a book called The Checkered Years, originally published in 1937. Though the farm was relatively small in comparison to most bonanza farms of the era, this diary is one of the best primary sources recording daily life on a bonanza farm. The Checkered Years can be purchased in the Bonanzaville gift shop.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Bonanzaville Agriculture Tour