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The county seat of Ward County, North Dakota is Minot. It was founded in 1886 as a direct result of the construction of the Great Northern Railway. Canadian-American James Jerome Hill was the chief executive officer of that railroad company who pushed the railroad to the end of the line, which was Minot. Almost overnight and as if by magic, a tent city grew around the town, and Minot began being called "Magic City." The name Minot was bestowed upon the town in honor of Henry D. Minot, one of James Hill's friends and an ornithologist by trade. It was incorporated as a city in 1887. During Prohibition, the city was part of Al Capone's alcohol smuggling enterprise and a hub of illegal activities, including bootlegging and opium dens as well as prostitution. A network of underground tunnels was established in order to send illicit cargo into Canada. All this contributed to the new nickname given to Minot, which was "Little Chicago."

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