Highland Acres [†] was developed after World War II as a housing cooperative for returning World War II veterans. The development exemplifies post World War II land development patterns and was the first of its kind in North Dakota. It was platted as a subdivision in 1947 with curvilinear streets, cul-de-sacs and lots that follow the natural topography of the area. This development pattern is common now, but at the time was a departure from the gridded streets that were typical throughout Bismarck and North Dakota.
The earliest constructed homes were modest and priced affordably for returning veterans. Over time, the cooperative dissolved. As the remaining lots were developed, many were designed and built by prominent architects in the mid-century modern style. Among a handful of architects that built their own homes and homes for others in Highland Acres were Robert Ritterbush, Donald Froeschle, and Arlo Beattie. These men were also responsible for the spread of the mid-century modern architecture style throughout the state.
Many of Bismarck's influential residents have lived or currently live in Highland Acres. Other influential people associated with Highland Acres include former mayor Bob Heskitt; Dr. Delano Pfiefle; foreign-born Dutch Resistance fighter Dr. Pieter Smeenk; attorney William Strutz; and Harold Schafer the founder of the Gold Seal Company and the father of former North Dakota governor Ed Schafer. The area also embodies the period of post-war prosperity and utilized national building programs that arose to address housing shortages in this and other regions.
The Highland Acres Hstoric District was placed on the National Register in July, 2022 (SG100007875).
† Request for Proposals for the Historic Architectural Survey of Highland Acres of Bismarck, North Dakota, date unknown, www.bismarcknd.gov, accessed July, 2022.
Coulee Road East • Coulee Road West • Crescent Lane • Edwards Avenue • Fairview Place • Highland Acres Road East • Highland Acres Road South • Highland Acres Road West • Midway Drive • Park View Drive • Parkview Drive North • Prairie Drive • Prospect Place • Shafer Street • Victory Place • W Avenue C • Williams Drive • Williams Street