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Devils Lake, North Dakota
—  City  —
Downtown Devils Lake
Location of Devils Lake, North Dakota
Coordinates: 48°6′44″N 98°51′35″W / 48.11222°N 98.85972°W / 48.11222; -98.85972Coordinates: 48°6′44″N 98°51′35″W / 48.11222°N 98.85972°W / 48.11222; -98.85972
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Ramsey
Founded 1882
Incorporated (village) 1884
Incorporated (city) 1887
 - Total 6.3 sq mi (16.3 km2)
 - Land 6.3 sq mi (16.3 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,447 ft (441 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 7,222
 - Density 1,149.4/sq mi (443.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 58301
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-19420[1]
GNIS feature ID 1028672[2]
Website City of Devils Lake website

Devils Lake is a city in Ramsey County, North Dakota in the United States. It is the county seat of Ramsey County.[3] The population was 7,222 at the 2000 census. It is named after the nearby body of water, Devils Lake. The first house in Devils Lake was built in 1882. It was surveyed in 1883 and named Creelsburg and later Creel City, after the surveyor, Heber M. Creel. In 1884 it was renamed Devils Lake.[4]

The local paper is the Devils Lake Journal. Devils Lake Municipal Airport serves the city. Devils Lake is home to Lake Region State College and the North Dakota School for the Deaf.



The present site of Devils Lake was originally Sioux land and the original inhabitants were relocated to the Spirit Lake Reservation. The name "Devils Lake" is a calque of the Sioux phrase mni wak’áŋ (literally: spiritual water), which is the name of the nearby Devils Lake[5] which is also reflected in the names of the Spirit Lake Tribe and the nearby town of Minnewaukan.

The full name the Sioux gave to the lake was mni wak’áŋ chante, which separately translate into mni (water), wak’áŋ (spirit), and chante (bad). Early white settlers translated this into "Bad Spirit Lake", or "Devils Lake." Instead, bad referred to the high salinity of the lake, making it unfit to drink, and "spirit" mean the mirages often seen across the water, since the Christian concept of the devil was not present in the Sioux religion.[6]

A post office was founded here November 15, 1882, and originally named Creelsburg.[4] It was founded by Lieutenant Heber M. Creel, a West Point graduate and topgraphical engineer then stationed at nearby Fort Totten. After resigning from the U.S. Army, he surveyed and established the townsite. The surrounding Creel Township is named for him. Its name was later changed to Creel City and expanded by the Great Northern Railway. When the village incorporated in 1884, the name was changed to City of Devils Lake and then shortened to Devils Lake.[7][6]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16 km2). 6.2 square miles (16 km2) of it is land and 0.16% is water.[8]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 846
1900 1,729 104.4%
1910 5,157 198.3%
1920 5,140 −0.3%
1930 5,451 6.1%
1940 6,204 13.8%
1950 6,427 3.6%
1960 6,299 −2.0%
1970 7,078 12.4%
1980 7,442 5.1%
1990 7,782 4.6%
2000 7,222 −7.2%
Est. 2008 6,708 [9] −7.1%

As of the 2000 Census,[1] there were 7,222 people, 3,127 households, and 1,773 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,149.4 inhabitants per square mile (443.8 /km2). There were 3,508 housing units at an average density of 558.3 per square mile (215.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.23% White, 0.22% African American, 7.84% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.21% from other races, and 2.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.55% of the population.

The top 6 ancestry groups in the city are German (43.9%), Norwegian (33.4%), Irish (7.6%), French (4.7%), Swedish (4.5%), English (2.7%).

There were 3,127 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 37.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $39,541. Males had a median income of $27,972 versus $18,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,741. About 11.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.




The city of Devils Lake is served by Devils Lake Public Schools. This system operates Sweetwater Elementary School, Prairie View Elementary School, Minnie H Elementary School, Central Middle School, and Devils Lake High School. A private school, St. Joseph's Catholic School, is also located in Devils Lake.

Higher education


  • Devils Lake Storm of North Dakota American League Baseball

Devils Lake Firebirds




Over the air




Amtrak, the U.S. national passenger rail system, serves Devils Lake, operating its Empire Builder daily in both directions between Chicago and Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Northwest Airlines also operates two flights daily to the Devils Lake Municipal Airport via its Northwest Airlink operator Mesaba.

Sites of interest

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ a b Ramsey County History
  5. ^ Buechel, Eugene. (1970) Lakota-English Dictionary. Pine Ridge, SD: Red Cloud Indian School.
  6. ^ a b Williams, Mary Ann (Barnes) (1966). Origins of North Dakota place names. Bismarck, North Dakota: Bismarck Tribune, 1966. pp. 20; 236. OCLC 431626.  
  7. ^ Wick, Douglas A. (1988). North Dakota Place Names. Bismarck, N.D.: Hedemarken Collectibles. pp. 48. ISBN 0-9620968-0-6. OCLC 191277027.  
  8. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. Census 2000, Summary File 1. GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 by place, "North Dakota". American FactFinder. <>. GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 by place,. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  9. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2009). "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions: North Dakota" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. Retrieved 2009-09-21.  

External links


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