Happy 150, BHS!

Bismarck High School was first established in 1873 (150 years ago), but was not opened as a “true high school” until 1913, 40 years later, and BHS has gone through many changes and eras since then.


Who was the president then vs. now?

Between 1873 and now, the US has gone through 28 presidents, the president at the time being Ulysses S. Grant, with Henry Wilson as the vice president and Julia Boggs as the first lady

Hold old is BHS compared to the rest of the US?

Bismarck High is older than 13 US states, them being Colorado, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, and even North Dakota. 

How much has ND grown since then?

The closest census year to 1873 would be 1870, where the population was 12,405, and it has grown a lot since then. The population in 2020 was 765,309. That is an increase of over 6000%, that being a difference of 752,904 citizens.

How have graduating classes changed?

The first graduating class was in 1913 and consisted of only two students, Emelia Handson and Jennette Ward, comparing that to the graduating class of 2023, which consists of 228 students

1873, what was going on?

1873 was the beginning of the Long Depression, an economic recession similar to the great depression. It lasted until 1879 and was caused by an economic problem in Europe when Europeans began to sell their stocks and investments in the US, especially railroads. This caused the global economy to plummet and had lasting effects.

The Bismarck Tribune published its first issue in 1873, although the HiHerald did not publish its first issue until 1943.

How has the building changed/How has the building been upgraded?

BHS has had four main renovations since its opening in 1873. The first upgrade in 1963 was a part of the improvement that built Simile and the Hughes center, this cost over $1.8 million all together. Many people consider this the biggest renovation for BHS. The second upgrade was in 1987, this renovation added what we now know as the commons area and moved the library to the second floor. The total cost for that renovation was nearly $6 million and was completed by the end of 1988. The third renovation was in 1996 and added another wing in the North, now known as the Swanson wing. It was named after Emy and Ardys Swanson, who, at the time, were both long well-beloved teachers. The last upgrade was in 2018 and it added a brand new 25,000 square foot auditorium and the Karlgaard gym, as well as the fitness room, weight room and wrestling room.