Zap, North Dakota

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Zap is a city in Mercer County, North Dakota in the United States. The population was 231 at the 2000 census. Zap was founded in 1913. The city was named by a railroad company. There is a story that it was named after the town of Zapp in Scotland however no such place exists. The new settlement also had a coal mine at its edge.[1]


The "Zip to Zap"

Zap is probably most widely known for the Zip to Zap which happened on May 10, 1969. This event took place at the height of civil unrest over racial segregation and the Vietnam War, but was originally intended as a spring break diversion. Between 2000 and 3000 people descended upon the small town of Zap as a result of an article that originally appeared in the North Dakota State University's Spectrum newspaper and was later picked up by the Associated Press.

As the resources of the small country town were depleted, the amiable revelry began to turn ugly, and the residents of Zap asked the visitors to leave. Some of them complied, but others stayed behind, and the event became a full-fledged riot. The National Guard was called in and the crowd was dispersed.


Zap is located at 47°17′14″N 101°55′26″W / 47.28722°N 101.92389°W / 47.28722; -101.92389 (47.287157, -101.923787)[3]. It is located in the prairie country along Spring Creek, a tributary of the Knife River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.7 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 231 people, 101 households, and 68 families residing in the city. The population density was 221.8 people per square mile (85.8/km²). There were 129 housing units at an average density of 123.8/sq mi (47.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.24% White, 3.90% Native American, and 0.87% from two or more races.

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