At the beginning of April, I rode up with a family from church to Williston, North Dakota. Some people have no idea where Williston is, nor do they know what is going to in this once small town. According to the 2000 population census, Williston was a relatively small town with 12,512 people. (1) Now the estimated population is from 25,000 to 33,000 in 2014 (2). Williston, Fargo, and some the surrounding areas are also ranked in the United States top 10 growing cities. In one year, from 2012 to 2013, Williston had a growth rate of 10.7%. (3) So this town is really growing. Ever since the large, vast quantities of oil was discovered there, the people have been flocking in in groups. The unemployment rate for the entire state of North Dakota is the lowest in the nation at 2.6% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (4) And to top this off, the state of North Dakota is putting out a call for help, as they are short 25,000 jobs. (5)
Aside from all the numbers, this town is different. I was there about a year and a half ago and there wasn't much. We saw plenty of oil rigs and the like but as for places to eat, stores to do grocery shopping, and places to live, there wasn't much. Now there is a wide variety of these places, and more are being constructed daily. A year and a half ago, this was a man's town. Meaning there were hardly any ladies and next to no children. Trucks and semis dominated the roads, and there was a lot of empty ground. Now you can find almost any kind of vehicle, in any color, style, and size, and I think if you looked good enough, you would see plates from all 50 states. There are hotels, housing units, and man camps all over.
Most of the hotels are advertised with weekly and monthly rates. There is every style of hotels up there, from the fancy looking ones to the plain simple ones. But the rooms rate high. For a basic room, you are looking at anywhere from $105/night upwards to the $250/night range.
I went grocery shopping with my aunt while I was just recently up there... It was rather disappointing to me in a way. There were ladies with children all over, and hardly any men. It was like Williston all of a sudden became a civilized town with lots of places to eat, stores to shop in, and other people besides men.
Aside from grocery stores, hotels and housing units, and places to eat, the rest of the town mostly consists of buildings and offices related to the oil fields. There are a few stores for auto parts and services and also for men's heavy duty work clothes and shoes, but other than that, any clothing or shoe shopping is limited and it's all in old town Williston.
While I was in Williston, which was only from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning, I saw quite a few things. I took some pictures but I won't post them all because I think I would run out of room. They will give you a small, a VERY small, taste of Williston, ND.
|New duplex housing units.|
|One of too many to count man camps.|
|Another picture of the man camp.|
|Good ol' Wal*Mart. This is kinda known to be a man's place.|
A few pictures of what is left of the prairie life in Williston.
So here's the end of my trip. I hope to go up again some time, I'm just not sure when. But there will be more pictures to follow when I get back.