Though North Dakota has been home to many famous historical individuals, it is Jamestown that is the birthplace of Louis L'Amour, world renowned author of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Born Louis LaMoore on March 22, 1908 in Jamestown, the literary figure began his trek into the literary word on the beautiful streets of Jameston. When L'Amour was born, the world had no inkling of what would transpire during his productive life. He lived in Jamestown during his formative years and at the age of fifteen began his journey to see first hand what the peoples of the world were like.
As far back as he could remember he wanted to be a writer of stories. His first published book in 1939 was a volume of poetry entitled Smoke From This Altar. During his wandering years he wrote short stories. After military service in World War II, he settled in Los Angeles and from his typewriter came his first novel entitled Westward the Tide. Most of his 122 published books are about the individuals who moved the settlement of our frontier westward. His readers have purchased over 300 million of his books, 100 million of these after his death in 1988. Today, his books are now translated into 27 languages.
On October 9, 1976 a group of North Dakotans from all over the state gathered on the grounds of our state capital in Bismarck to hear L'Amour speak at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the North Dakota Heritage Center. In his opening remarks on this sunny day he stated, "In the first place I want to tell you about my feelings about North Dakota. I left here a long time ago, never left here in spirit. I have always felt like a North Dakotan and I still do, probably always will. My family has been connected with the state in one way or another for one hundred years." (Quote taken from Jamestown author Reese Hawkins book, Remembering Louis L'Amour.)
The downtown area offers a self-guided walking tour to see where this legend grew up and spent time to become an acclaimed writer of the western genre. Open all year in the downtown area of Jamestown.
Portraits of Louis L'Amour shown on this page are provided by artist Vern Skuug from Minot.
Trail and Birthplace of Louis L'Amour
From I-94, take exit 258 heading east for one mile. Bear right onto Highway 52 (U.S. 281) and follow it around until it turns into 10th Street.
Address: Located in Downtown Jamestown