Sanborn was first called “Sixth Siding” by the Northern Pacific Railroad because its railroad siding was the sixth siding west of Fargo.

Sanborn came into being in 1877 when G. T. Bauder named it after George G. Sanborn, then the treasurer   of the railroad.  Bauder, a former railroad employee apparently had an agreement with the railroad to start a village at the site of the siding.

The first settlers, five in number, arrived in 1879.  Bauder applied for a post office and it was established in 1879 with Lizzie Bauder as Postmaster.  Five months later L

Louis Lenham was the Postmaster and he is identified with George Lenham as the prime promoters of the village of Sanborn.  G. T. Bauder then sold his interest in the town site to George Lenham and in September of 1880 the first store was opened by George Lenham.  On June 4, 1880 the village was platted by Louis Lenham.

Much land was owned south of Sanborn by J. A. Christian, a wealthy miller in Minneapolis.  R. S. Munger also owned 26 sections of land south of the village.  I. W. Barnum, a brother of P. T. Barnum of circus fame, owned several sections of land in and around Sanborn and was an investor in property in Sanborn.  He was an avid boomer of the area and talked many New Yorkers into investing in Barnes County land.

AM Pease, a land agent, had an interest in land and also in the leading hotel as well as in the Lenham Bank.  He later ran for position of County Treasurer and after being elected, absconded with the entire county fund, including about $35,000 which had been voted for the purpose of building a new courthouse.

Sanborn had pretentions of being the County Seat in the early 1880’s but could never swing enough interest or votes to bring this about.

In 1882, there were rumors that a steam-operated flour mill would be built in Sanborn, supposedly by W. W. Bower of Brainerd.  However, nothing came of the rumor.  However, it stirred a great deal in interest in Sanborn among the farmers as the closest mill where grain could be ground into flour was in Valley City.

Until the advent of the automobile and good roads, Sanborn was a prosperous center.  With two lakes on the east side of the city, the road network made it difficult for farmers to carry product to market and Sanborn was the center of a large trade area.

The Sanborn School was established in District 5 in 1882 and a large brick building was built and a four year high school soon came into being.  It was considered to be one of the better schools in the state at the time and a teacher acquiring a position in Sanborn was considered lucky.

With the founding of the town and the influx of people, a baseball team was formed and a spirited rivalry grew between Sandborn, Valley City, and Fargo.  While the rules by agreement called for the use of only local talent on each team, “ringers” were sometimes used and charges and counter charges flew fast and furious.  Travel was by railroad of course, and the rivalry was so keen that if a game were played in Valley City, Sanborn would practically become a ghost town and vice versa when a game was played in Sanborn or Fargo.  Each team at various times declared themselves as the champions of the northern part of Dakota Territory or of North Dakota later.

The Sanborn people have always been very community minded and always working for the community betterment.