The village of Kathryn was founded with the building of the Casselton branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad to Marion, North Dakota.

On September 15, 1900 the original site of Kathryn was platted by John Runck and a civil engineer on land purchased from Frank Lynch of Casselton.  The site was named Kathryn for one of the daughters of C. S. Mellon, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad.  However, the plat was not filed with the Register of Deeds until June 1, 1901.  The owner of the site is listed as Frank Juleth.

On October 20, 1900 John Runck unloaded lumber and a crew of carpenters and built the first mercantile building, The Runck Brothers General Store.  John’s brother, Nic, was associated with John in the business.

Ole Venaas is reported to have built the first home in Kathryn and was the first blacksmith.  John C. Thoreson, who had been a clerk in the M. O. Walker Store at Oakville, was operating a restaurant in Kathryn by 1901 and in 1902 founded a farm implement and furniture store.  A post office was established on February 6, 1901 with John K. Dye the first postmaster.  He was succeeded by Knut O. Abrahamson on May 5, 1904 and served for fourteen years until September 3, 1918 when Flora Walker assumed the office.

Kathryn was famous as the home of Gustav George Overn, a jeweler and expert gold and silversmith, who designs for spoons, fork, knives and other articles were much sought after.  Orders came from many states as his work was considered outstanding.

In 1917 Kathryn a village of some four hundred inhabitants, became an incorporated village and electric lights came to make living and social life more pleasant.  In 1934 spring water was piped into the town.

Mrs. George Overn assumed the postmaster’s position in December of 1935, and thirty seven years later retired in 1973, holding the record for length of continuous service.