Beulah’s legendary living is a result of a vibrant history!

Settlers to western North Dakota began arriving in earnest in the 1870s with the Missouri River steamboats bringing supplies to forts and early settlements. As the population increased, the Northern Pacific Railroad came to the area, bringing an influx of settlers to towns like Beulah, founded in 1914.

The first industry in the area began around that time with the first commercial lignite mining operation in 1873. The Beulah Coal Company began operation in 1917 and became one of the largest lignite producers in North Dakota as the Knife River Coal Mining Company. By 1945, Knife River was purchased by the Montana Dakota Utilities Company. Local mining activity increased dramatically in the 1970s and is still prominent today, highlighted by the Freedom Mine, just north of Beulah. The Freedom Mine is the largest lignite mine in the U.S., producing more than 14 million short tons of lignite in 2018.

Mercer County Historical Museum


The Mercer County Historical Museum offers a more detailed immersion into the history of Beulah and Mercer County. It includes many displays of frontier life, original settlement homesteads and early town life, featuring the Norwegian, Swedish, Irish, German and Russian emigrants who began arriving in the area in the 1870s. The museum is open to the public every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also open Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. during Summer (Memorial Day thru Labor Day). Additional visits are possible, by appointment only. Individuals are encouraged to join the Mercer County Historical Society, which meets monthly on the third Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the museum.

Mercer County Historical Museum
108 7th Street Northeast
Beulah, ND 58523
(701) 873-5070

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site 

indian village house

The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site offers a look into the historical living of the Northern Plains Indians who inhabited the area before the presence of the European settlers.