Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This paper is to examine three businesses developed in tha first two decades *. he twentieth century by Isaac Post Baker in Bismarck, North Dakota. Baker was a noted river transportation man, businessman, politician, and banker in pioneer North Dakota. From his personal papers I traced the developments of his Bismarck Realty Company, his Bismarck Elevator and Investment Company, and his Expansion Lumber and .Mercantile Company. By examining the developments of these businesses, a better understanding can toe gained of the changes which developed along the Upper Missouri River during this time period in regard to Baker*s dispersal of farmland, raising and buying of grain, and shipment of grain to market.

The Bismarck Realty Company regulated the sale of Baker's farm and ranchland in western North Dakota. It also sold real estate within Bismarck. The Bismarck Elevator and Investment Company bought grain from farmers located along the Missouri River north of Bismarck and sold it to Minneapolis and Duluth firms. The Expansion Lumber and Mercantile Company operated lumber and hardware stores in conjunction with Baker's grain buying elevators on the Missouri River.

All three companies greatly depended upon the grain trade along the Missouri River north of 3ismarck for their livelihood. By exploring their activities, it is possible to witness a virtual phasing out of a particular method of disposing of farmland and grain along the Upper Missouri River, and the persistent efforts of an aging entrepreneur to prevent it from happening.