Posts from the ‘Towns in Barnes’ Category

Zion Lutheran Church

Zion Lutheran Church

By Mrs. Herbert Utke

The beginning of Zion Lutheran Church of Oriska was in 1882
when occasional services were conducted in private homes by Reverends Marez,
Emil Haase, A. Kuhn and P. Allamscha.
Candidate of Theology Fink, in January of 1891, organized Zion Church.  Rev. H. Schoelein was called as pastor.  From then on every two weeks services in the
German language were held in the school house at Oriska.

On June 1, 1895, rev. J. F. L. Bohnhoff became pastor of the
Oriska congregation.  He was also pastor
of Trinity Lutheran Church of Valley City, and St. Paul congregation of
Sanborn.  Rev. Bohnhoff served faithfully
and continuously, experiencing all the hardships of the early pioneers.  The Oriska congregation was fortunate in
having such an efficient and dedicated pastor as Rev. Bohnhoff who in the early
years when automobiles were not in existence, made the trip to Oriska by horse
and buggy never complaining or failing to make his appointments.

On May 15, 1904, the cornerstone was laid for the present
church building on lots donated by Charles Kruger.  The church building was built by Clark and
Rice of Tower City and was dedicated in August, 1904.  The small congregation of barley 12 families
with the help of a few sympathetic non-members built the church for about
$3000.  When the building was opened for
worship it was free of debt.  On the
occasion of the dedication, the congregation of Valley City was in full
attendance, and the north congregation nearly so.  The church was filled to overflowing
twice.  The collection totaled $80.00.  Noon and evening meals were served at the
school house.

In 1929, the congregation decided to conduct English
services every other Sunday evening, in addition to the regular German services.

In 1929 the congregation celebrated its 25th
Anniversary of the dedication of the church.
Rev. W. W. Keller of Jamestown and Rev. H. A. Michelke of Fargo were the
principal speakers.  At Noon the
congregation was host to all those attending at a dinner, served in the basement
of the school house.  Guests were also
served a supper after the conclusion of the afternoon services.  A. D. Dibbern was organist for the day.  Special music was provided by members of the
Sunday school.  A vocal quartet and a
violin solo were given by the members of the Valley City congregation.

When the city of Oriska celebrated its Diamond Jubilee on
July 4, 1956, Mrs. J. F. Bohnhoff, the widow of Rev. Bohnhoff, rode on the Zion’s
Lutheran Float in the parade.  The float
was decorated mostly with white paper napkins stuck into chicken wire and large
bouquet of white double mock orange blossoms.

Rev. Bohnhoff served Oriska until his death in 1942.  Other pastors that have served the
congregation:  Rev. H Meske, A. G. Schilling
Douglas Husking and Ray Heidtke.  In 1960
Zion Lutheran church became a member congregation of the American Lutheran

The congregation dedicated a new entrance in 1973, built by
volunteer labor.  Rev. A. G. Schilling
was the speaker at the dedication service.

In 1973, Trinity Lutheran Church in Valley City voted to be
a one point parish which meant that Zion congregation of Oriska would no longer
be affiliated with Trinity.  Rev. J. O. Coughlin
of Fargo served as Pastor for one year in 1974-1975.  Dr. James Bailey, Professor of Religion at
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, conducted services during the summer of

On November, 1975, Rev. Peter Onstad of Moorhead, Minnesota,
accepted the invitation to serve the Oriska congregation and was its pastor in
1980. In June of 1978, the congregation celebrated Rev. Onstad’s 50th
Anniversary of his ordination with a special service and an open house.  Membership in 1980 was 120 with an active
Sunday school and an active ALCW.

This account ends in 1980, and if you would like to share
more details with us about Zion Lutheran, you are welcome to do so.

Zion Lutheran Church – Oriska

Zion Lutheran Church – Oriska

In 1882 signals the the beginnings of the Zion Lutheran Church of Oriska, North Dakota.  Rev Maerz held meetings of the faithful from Oriska area in the homes of Emil Haase, A. Kuhn, and P. Allamscha for several years.  In January of 1881, the church was formally organized and Rev. H. Schoelein was called as pastor.  On June 1, 1895, the Rev. J. F. L. Bohnhoff, who served Trinity Lutheran of Valley City, Zion of Getchell and St. Paul’s of Sanborn, became the pastor of Oriska’s Zion as well.  The Reverend Bohnhoff served this parish until his death in 1943, or forty eight years of dedication.

A small church, Zion Lutheran nevertheless, through the dedicaton of its members, constructed and then dedicated a debt free church building on August 6, 1904.  At the time it served only twelve families, who raised three thousand dollars to pay for the construction.

In 1973 the connection with the Trinity Lutheran Church of Valley City was discontinued and the Rev. J. A. Coughlin of Fargo, a retired pastor, served during 1974 – 1975m with Dr. James Bailey, Professor of Religion at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, conducting services during the summer of 1975.

Church membership totaled 108, with 89 confirmed members and 17 Sunday School in 1975…

On Monday, May 16, 2011 there was a fire at this church.  News reports had members saying they will conduct Sunday Services on the lawn of the church if need be this coming Sunday.  It was a sight to see this church in flames.



Wimbledon began as an inland post office in the home of John H. Gibson in the Pierce Township called “Gibson”.  The Post Office Department does not list such a post office and it is likely that Gibson was merely a letter drop on a star route.

When the Soo line was built through the area in 1893, the site was selected for a town, the land donated by Mr. Gibson.  A post office was established on July 26, 1893 with Tollef S. Tollefson the postmaster and the office was named Wimbledon for Mr. Gibson’s birth place in England.  Platted in December, 1893, the town enjoyed a rapid growth and soon became the major trading center of the area.  At one time, at the turn of the century, there were eight grain elevators situated at Wimbledon, handling 800,000 bushels of grain a year.  The largest farm implement business in the entire state was also located in Wimbledon.  The city boasted of a modern race track and was the center of horse racing in eastern North Dakota.

The community has shown a remarkable ability to work together to build a better community.  Evidence of this spirit is the desire to preserve the heritage of the area and the museum complex which is constantly being improved as funds are available.



The community known as Urbana began in 1881 when settlers began to assemble in that area.  Among those settling at that time were Jim Creighton, Tim Weatherbee, Charles Flynn, Harvey Harrison, Tom Davis, George Allan, E. J. Hayes, Burton Young, Goran Johnson, Fred Dibble and Albert Conley.

The Northern Pacific Railroad had passed through the community in 1872.  Grain was then loaded directly into railroad cars from the farmers’ wagons until 1903 when an elevator was built.  Three years later a store was built by George Whipple south of the railroad near the elevator.  Another elevator was built in 1916.  A post office was established in the store on April 22, 1907 with Everett T. Phelps the first postmaster.  In July George Whipple became the postmaster and continued in that capacity for fifteen years, when Irene Hayes was appointed until the offices was discontinued on January 15, 1923.

The town was platted June 12, 1910 by George Whipple and Albert Sayre and was named Urbana from a town in Illinois.

School in the community was held first in the attic of a farm home just north of the village but in 1883 a school building was built in the village and operated from that date to 1962.  A total of 57 teachers taught in that school over the years.

In 1923 the store was moved by E. J. Hayes from south of the railroad to the newly built State Highway # 10, which passed close to the school.  E. J. Hayes operated the store and farmed until his son Ivan took over the management of the store.  The store became a very busy place and customers came from miles around to do their trading there, as well as socialize a bit and learn of the latest news.  In the winter it was a place of shelter in time of storm.

After the death of Ivan Hayes, the store was taken over by Lester and Adeline Knutson who operated it for several years before John and Lila Peterson, who operated it until it was dissembled in 1964.

As some would say, Urbana is just a wide place in the road, but to others it made for fond memories of the store and the many good times in the one room rural school.



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.



Located at the junction of the Soo Line Railroad and the Sanborn branch of the Burlington Northern Railroad, Rogers was founded in October, 1897.  It was a consolidation of several adjacent post offices:  Olive, Odell, Booth, Loury and Mattison, whose post offices were discontinued and moved to the Rogers Office.

Several stories are presented for the naming of Rogers, which was fist called “Roger”.  One story has it that G. J. parker, who owned a store in Olive, named the village for A. R. Rogers of the Smith and Rogers Lumber Company of Minneapolis.  Another say that the village was named for Joseph H. Rogers, the original town site owner.  Regardless of whom it was named for, the first name was “Roger” and changed to “Rogers” on July 13, 1917.

Rogers enjoyed rapid growth at first, after being platted on July 26, 1898.  Post office records indicate that Nels Larson was the first postmaster.  Prominent business men included A. P. Farrell, Nels Larson, O. P. Walker, Einar Christenson, P. O. Waller, Fred Stearns, A. P. Paulson, and G. J. Parker.

As was the case of many Barnes County villages, fires have been a large factor in the decline of Rogers, as well as the automobile and good roads.



The village of Pillsbury was platted by the Luverne Land Company on land purchased from C. O Smith on July 21, 1910.  The Luverne Land Company, a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, operated from Willmar, Minnesota, and was responsible for the platting of several towns on the new Fargo-Surrey Cut-off of the railroad.

Immediately after the filing of the plat lots were sold at public auction.  The railroad, not being fully operational, and there being no lumber yard at the plat site, building materials were first hauled from Colgate, northeast of the town site.

The plat of the village indicates the name as that of Pillsbury, named after Pillsbury family of milling fame.

The first building on the site was that of the bank, which opened for business in July 1911.  Called the Pillsbury State Bank, it was owned by Frank Erid of Hope.  A brick building was built in 1912 and a second bank the Security State Bank, was opened only to be later sold to its competitor.

A post office was established December 14, 1911 with Lemuel b. Smith as the postmaster.  The Smith Family lived over the bank building, operated the telephone exchange and fed the carpenters busy constructing other buildings in the budding village.  By May of 1912 there was a lumber yard; general store, operated by Fred Keye; and elevator and a livery barn.   Mr. Keyes celebrated the completion of his home with a dance and gave a 1000 pound bag of peanuts as a prize in addition to sponsoring the first baseball game, at which 325 citizens attended.  The Keyes Store operated for over 63 years.

By August 6, 1912 all the schools in Ellsbury Township became part of Pillsbury District #90.

In 1913 the Baldwin Presbyterian Church was moved into Pillsbury and has been the only church here.

A number of businesses have been started and operated, including the Stack Hotel, but time, fires and the “Great Depression took a grim toll of the village.

Pillsbury was incorporated on October 26, 1921 at the peak of its existence.