Along the Way ~ Mystical Horizons
Bottineau, North Dakota is a small city located just a few miles from the U.S./Canadian border. Named Oak Creek when it was founded in 1883, it was renamed just a year later in honor of Pierre Bottineau, a pioneer, hunter, and trapper who was instrumental in settling cities and towns throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. These days, agriculture remains the mainstay of the area’s economy, but city leaders actively promote tourism by advertising its warm and cold weather recreational activities and roadside attractions. One of the area’s most unique attractions is Mystical Horizons.
Mystical Horizons sits on a bluff overlooking rolling prairie for nearly as far as the eye can see.
The installation comprises several stone and cement walls designed so visitors can view the summer and winter solstices and the equinox. The site also includes a sundial and Polaris sighting tube.
We were there at mid-morning on a cloudy, misty day, but the site’s westward orientation promises an amazing opportunity for sunset photography. I can only hope to visit this site again, hopefully at sunset on a fine, clear day.
Mystical Horizons was the brainchild of Jack Olson, a native of the Bottineau area. Having retired from a career that included service as an Air Force pilot during World War II and employment with Boeing Aerospace as an engineer in concept and design, Olson returned to his hometown where he was active in various civic activities including ways to promote the city and surrounding area. In 2000, he presented a sketch of what he called “a 21st Century Stonehenge” to an area tourism association. A partnership of civic, county, and state entities brought Mr. Olson’s vision to reality when the site opened in 2005. Sadly, however, Olson died before construction began. The landmark is dedicated to him.
“Along the Way” is a celebration of a few of the roadside attractions we visited when we were in North Dakota earlier this summer. Posted for Susannah Conway’s August Break 2014.