Mandan, North Dakota


2013 Best Small Towns in America

Contest ends:  September 3, 2013

3555 Votes - "Most Patriotic"
32 Votes - "Friendliest"
13 Votes - "Most Beautiful"
5 Votes - "Most Fun"
2 Votes - "Best for Geocaching"


Mandan takes their slogan, “Where the West Begins,” very seriously. The town started out as the village of the Mandan tribe and hosted Lewis & Clark on their journey. See the keelboat the explorers crossed the Missouri River with, Fort Yates and Double Ditch Indian Village where they passed through, and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

If it is patriotism you are looking for, be sure to visit the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, which is dedicated to those who have served our country in every branch of the military. The cemetery is located in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, where you can also find a reconstructed version of the former Fort Abraham Lincoln, the Custer House, and the reconstructed On-a-Slant Village for a look back into the Mandan tribe that once inhabited this land.

Visitors can also explore a zoo, art depot, and Native American reservations and landmarks. Mandan offers plenty of dining and shopping and outdoor recreation from camping, hunting and fishing to winter sports and a waterpark. Take advantage of golfing, kayaking, sledding, skiing or snowboarding.

With several community events each year, the most unique is Mandan Rodeo Days every 4th of July, voted the “Best Community Celebration.” Enjoy broncos, art, fireworks and the state’s longest parade. Find out more about where the West begins in Mandan’s reviews.

Mandan ranks number one in my book for growing, fostering and supporting its hometown patriotic pride. It's residents understand the meaning of freedom and what it takes to keep it. We raise good men and women who proudly enter into service willingly at a larger per capita rate then most, and those men and women never complain about their service but hold it in high honor and regard for their contributions to keeping their country and their hometown free. People may leave Mandan for other ventures, but they always manage to find their way home again to help us celebrate these very same individuals in the largest Independence Day celebration in the state. Residents and visitors start lining the streets as early as 2 a.m. for a front view of all the patriotic pride this city shows. The Independence Day celebration now concludes with a picnic dedicated to the military and their families. The major events in town are always raising monies for the organizations that support military affairs, Wounder Warriors Project, The National Guard Foundation, The Veteran's Wall project, Mandan steps up to help where ever it can from a city level, and that filters into its residents who create their own fundraisers for these very same sentiments. But patriotism isn't just secluded to the Red White and Blue and our Military, the residents of Mandan show patriotism in their good hearted natures and hard work ethic; still a farming community which provides much of the food stocks for this great nation it is now venturing into the energy markets to provide oil and reducing foreign dependency. But as it continues to grow and more and more people enter into our community, we hold fast to our small town feel and the pride in knowing our neighbors. In that they city pulls together during the holidays to provide gifts for families in need, it helps out in times of distress like fires and floods, strangers become neighbors and neighbors become friends and friends last a lifetime in this small and growing community. Mandan cherishes all the ways it can give unto its community and its nation. It does so with pride in every single heart of the residents, whether its the simple act of a flag on the lawn or front porch, or lining the streets for a veterans return, you can know someone in Mandan is bleeding red white and blue every day of the year.
Reviewed by dacodasmiles
on September 16, 2013
Mandan’s story of Patriotism begins with “who we are” and why we are here. Most of us in this area are descendents of people who were in search of political freedoms. “By 1920, it was estimated that 116,539 German-Russians were in the United States. The largest concentration was in North Dakota, where some 70,000 lived in 1920, coming from the Black Sea region. Other large settlements were in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska who came primarily from the Volga region. Today, the families of Germans from Russia are spread throughout the United States and Canada concentrating in the Great Plains states, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington as well as the prairie provinces of Western Canada.” I am a descendent of German from Russia homesteaders. My maternal Grandfather was forced into the Russian army before the age of 21. He survived harsh conditions. He lived through war, cold and starving. He lived! When released from the Russian Army, he and his parents and siblings came to North Dakota. They fled to North Dakota. Mandan fosters patriotism in its’ schools and churches and City events. But I remember my Grandfather the most of all. We would attend the Mandan Independence Day parade and tears would flow down his cheeks at the sight of all the flags and revelry. He would hold his hand tight over his heart especially when our wonderful American Legion Color Guards past us. He was so proud to be an American and loved North Dakota best of all. My siblings and I grew up in this beautiful historic town. Town of Presidents and history. Lewis and Clark sent by Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, General Custer and the great railroad. We lived and went to church with all of the immigrants. We walked in the steps of the Mandan-Hidatsa and learned of their beautiful culture. I remember as a child, a Mandan-Hidatsa woman telling me how the tribe’s women were the first to start women liberation as the women owned the earth lodges. We went to school reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and sang The National Anthem. Our house was on the Avenue where I would pass the Memorial to the fallen by the Court house. I knew many of the patriots and it was always solemn for me to pass. I have experienced the patriotism of the Color Guard as well as the Patriot Guard (Legion Riders) for the fallen soldiers. They provide dignity for the fallen and the families. I have witnessed the loving care of the volunteers laying the Christmas wreaths at the ND Veterans Cemetery. What a sight that is to behold. My siblings and I attended the local church, The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. On Memorial Day, a slide show would be the backdrop as we sang patriotic hymns. It was impressionable to see photos of your beloved teachers and Sunday school teachers while they were serving their Country. Myself and 3 siblings served in our Nations Armed Forces. My youngest brother and myself are Viet Nam era veterans. He is a Viet Nam combat Veteran. I was a US Army nurse caring for the war wounded. This beautiful historic small town is filled with many, many stories of Patriotism. Please come and visit us; we are a great "Patriotic" American city.
Reviewed by Peggyncleo98
on September 16, 2013
Is Mandan "Patriotic"? Three of Mount Rushmore's presidents might have something to say. A good portion of that "patriotism" is due to the very unique position our town has been able to experience in America's existence, with it's location in history and geography. It was the author of the Declaration of Independence himself, Thomas Jefferson, who sent Lewis and Clark on the journey of exploration, to spend a winter of peace among the Native peoples who gave our town its name. It was the "opening of the West" with the northern trans-continental railroad route that gave rise to the claim that the town location along the Heart River valley gave access to the high plains as "Where the West Begins", and made Mandan an important railroad hub. It was the extension of the railway into the Sioux territories that brought Custer and the Seventh Cavalry to Fort Abraham Lincoln and the Expeditions of 1873, 1874, and 1876. It was the demise of the nomadic lifestyle based on the bison and the transition to cattle ranching that brought Teddy Roosevelt to the Medora area. His experiences there formed his values about America's potential that lead to his stopping European intervention at San Juan Hill, his building the Great White Fleet, and expanding global trade through the Panama Canal, not to mention his support of conservation of our natural resources and treasures. And, of course, Mandan's patriots include all of those citizens who served America at home and overseas throughout the last century. Now the town enters a new era as the gateway to America's own energy resources with its pipeline and refinery capacity. So for those of us who spent time "Growing Up in Mandan", walking all over this rugged land that has given meaning to the American tradition in so many ways, we can proudly say, "Who else can say all that?!"
Reviewed by Bob H
on September 9, 2013
I have lived in Mandan most of my life. Born, raised and most of my family grew up and still live and/or farm in the town and surrounding area. My memories of growing up here remind me of messages portrayed on shows like "Happy Days, Leave It To Beaver, and Little House On The Prairie, etc. and a whole lot more. We grew up very honest, family oriented, cultural background awareness, and extremely patriotic. The 4th of July Parade, Rodeo, Downtown events, city growth, community togetherness and events have always been a large part of living here. Over the last number of years we have experienced a remarkable growth in many aspects of community growth but have still maintained most of the "small town" community closeness and the atmosphere of an American Community.
Reviewed by susobe
on September 4, 2013
Not only is Mandan's Fourth of July celebration (which often lasts three days) the largest in the state, the citizens of Mandan uphold patriotism throughout the year. Whether it's our annual "Buggies and Blues" festival or the enthusiastically-attended patriotic variety show put on every year by local folks, or the numerous "Grillfests" in the town park, the entire summer is dedicated to celebrating America's greatness. But beyond the official celebrations, the people of Mandan live their patriotism every day. North Dakota has one of the highest participation per capita rates in the National Guard, and we support our troops fiercely. Members of the military are treated with a respect and gratitude that is unusual outside of our area. I am a young adult who has lived in Mandan most of my life, and I can say without a doubt that Mandan is the most patriotic, American town I have ever seen.
Reviewed by Johannah.Miller
on September 4, 2013
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