Posts from the ‘Valley City’ Category

The First Letter

The First Letter

In 1873, the first letter received via Northern Pacific mail car in what is now Valley City was addressed thus: padi dolein, 2x, Shi, which deciphers to paddy Dolein, Second Crossing of the Sheyenne, which was at one time given to the Valley City area. Only summer service was maintained; winter months the mail was carried by soldiers with dog teams. These soldiers received one dollar a piece for letters and 50 cents apiece for newspaper delivery from early settlers. This service was the only news communication with the outside world.
The first person to handle mail in this area, when no towns existed west of Fargo to Bismarck with small settlements exceptions, was one of the Worthington brothers, followed by Mr. Bates and Peter Seeman who distributed mail from their lumberyard and blacksmith shops. None of the three were ever officially appointed postmaster.
Peter Connors was the first officially appointed postmaster. He was appointed in 1876 when the first official post office was established here. This first post office was located south of the Northern Pacific track about 600 feet west of the railroad bridge in a building later occupied by a Chinese laundry. The second location was on the site of the American National Bank. From there it was moved in the night to the present Bong’s Bootery lot, then to the rear of the First National Bank and finally in 1917 to its present location.

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Pioneer Business Firms Flourished 100 Years Ago

Pioneer Business Firms Flourished 100 Years Ago
Written in 1983

In 1879 when Barnes was organized, there were but five houses on the site of Valley City. Settlers commenced arriving slowly, but they were generally a solid and substantial band and they laid the foundation of the community intelligently and well.
In 1879, a sprightly little journal, called the Northern Pacific Times, which is now know as the Valley City Time Record, made its appearance and the following year witnessed the organization of numerous business houses, and the Valley City Bank. The population of the village in 1880 was upwards of 1,000, but 1881 was the red letter year in its settlement, for then the tide of immigration began flowing. Churches, hotels, public buildings, stores and residences were raised and by 1883, when the city was incorporated there were nearly 2, 000 residences.
This December, 1883 issue of “Leading Industries of the West” lists these pioneer business establishments.
The Kindred Hotel
This exceptionally elegant hotel was erected in 1882-83 and opened to public patronage July 2, 1883, under the management of Meir and Stanton and very soon thereafter came under the sole control of G. W. Stanton, Jr. The Kindred was an attractive brick structure, 100x 100 feet in area and having three stories. Sixty comfortable, well appointed and neatly furnished chambers were in use for accommodation of traveling public. Construction cost was $45,000 and an additional $15,000 was spent by the owner, Thos. Adams, to furnish it. The halls and corridors, parlor and reception rooms were elegantly furnished and carpeted; ceilings were lofty, and stairways wide.

Edward & Blackwell Lumber Company
In January 1883, this corporation bought the business and stock of W. F. Jones and succeeded him in the lumber business. Mr. Edwards was president and general manager of the Kansas Lumber Company, with headquarter in Topeka.
The Valley City yard was located on the N. P, track, was several hundred feet in area, carried an average stock of 5oo,ooo feet and annual sale was about 2,000,000.
C. A. Benson
Mr. Benson established his hardware house in 1879. The building was adjoin the Kindred Hotel and consisted of a salesroom 25 x 90 in size plus a warehouse 10 x 24 adjoining. There was also a tin shop in connection and general manufacturing and repair was carried on here. The hardware was well stocked with all kinds of heavy hardware and shelf goods, pocket and table cutlery, cooking and heating stoves, tin, sheet iron, and copper ware and wire.
Mr. Benson also operated a large depot for sale of agriculture implements and transaction in the department brought the total sales in 1883 to nearly $100,000.
Dickey & Fish
Among the leading law, land and loan representatives in the pioneer community were G. H. Dickey and F. M. Fish. The partnership was formed in 1882, with the men practicing in all territorial and federal courts before the local land office and the general department in Washington. Mr. Dickey was the first member of the Legislature elected from this district.
B. W. Benson
Established in 1879, Mr. Benson’s realty business by 1883 was the most extensive I the Northwest. He had vast acreage of wild and cultivated, town and rural property upwards of 100,000 acres for disposal to new settlers, and his holdings included land in Barnes, Lamoure, Stutsman, Griggs and Trail counties. He was a vice president of the First National Bank, a member of the Territorial House of Representatives and a member of the school board.
M. Carlson

Mr. Carlson owned several businesses and residential lots in Valley City, and in addition, was a wholesale and retail dealer in wines, liquors, tobacco and cigars. He also operated a billiard hall.

Dr. C. Corey
Dr. Corey was a veterinary surgeon who in 1882 established a livery stable in the booming community of Valley City. The livery stable had room for 100 horses, although stalls for only 22. He kept 12 horses for livery trade.
F. H. Adams
Mr. Adams, who served as Barnes County attorney from 1878 until 1881, was a dealer in wheat lands and city property. His rates were quoted as $4 to 10 per acre for wild land, $10 to 20 per acre for improved land and $75 to 500 each for city lots.
Charles Hollinshead
The honor of establishing the first livery stable in Valley City goes to Hollinshead. A resident of Pawnee City Nebraska, he came to North Dakota in the first tide of immigration in 1880 and that same year set up his business. His first stable was too small and by 1883 he had a fine two story building on the corner of Second Street and Fourth Avenue. There were accommodations for 60 head of horses.
O. P. Enerson
The general merchandise store operated by O. P. Enerson in 1883 had been established in Valley City by J. Hauser.
The sales room was 25×80 in size and the store carried practically every type of general merchandise. Mr. Enerson was elected alderman from the Second Ward in 1883, the first to serve in this capacity.
Paul Parrodeau
This gentleman was the only exclusive dealer in coal and wood in pioneer Valley City. His business was established in August, 1883. All kinds of wood were furnished, either in cordwood shape, cut to desired length or split, and coal was brought from Ohio and Pennsylvania mines as well as from the lignite fields of North Dakota. Mr. Parrodeau came to Valley City in 1880.
Cummings Brothers
The Cummings Brothers, native of Toronto, Canada, established a feel and sale stable in 1883 and sold mules, horses, and stock of any kind on commission. They also owned a livery service.
J. W. Scott
Mr. Scott, one of the leading attorneys, notaries, and real estate brokers in Dakota, established his business here in 1181. In addition to his law practice, he had acquired 60,000 acres of land for sale in Griggs and Barnes Counties. Price ranged from $6 to $25 per acre.
Mrs. F. A. Blodgett
Mrs. Blodgett was an artistic and experienced milliner and dress maker. She also handled ladies’ finishing goods, hosiery, hair goods and her trade embraced the most fashionable ladies of Valley City, Sanborn, Tower City, and Oriska. She also taught stamping, Kensington embroidery and painting.
Fifth Avenue Meat Market
This market was conducted by James Smith, who came directly from Scotland to Valley City to establish the business in 1882. He was the first merchant to offer free delivery to any part of the city.
O. N. Rushfelt
On July 4, 1881, O. N. Rushfelt established a general harness-making business here. He carried a well assorted stock of harness, saddles, collars, bridles, whip, combs, etc., and employed several expert harness makers.
Lund and Pederson
This firm of merchant tailors and importers of fine cloths and trimmings was established in 1883 and conducted the only establishment of its kind in Valley City. Both were practical and skilled in tailoring and employed several expert cutters.

C. S. Deshon
C. S. Deshon carried a complete stock of fancy groceries, books, stationery, tobacco, cigars, and smokers’ sundries and also a varied assortment of choice confections. He was the only dealer in books and stationery in Valley City. Mr. Deshon, a native of Kentucky, came here in 1882.
He operated the Northern Pacific Hotel during 1883. This hotel, one of the pioneer establishments of its kind in the city, was established in 1879. Located near the railroad depot, it had a frontage 75 feet and contained 40 sleeping rooms, all large, airy, and comfortably furnished.
Thomas & Endress
The pharmaceutical business, represented in Valley City in 1883 by Thomas and Endress, was established by Dr. Harvey in 1881. All kinds of drugs, chemicals, medicines, paints, oils, sundries, toilet wares, perfumery and kindred articles were carried in addition to a full line of fancy articles, stationery, wall paper, confectionery, tobacco, cigars and smokers ‘sundries.
Mason & Barton
Without a skillful blacksmith at hand, the farmers of North Dakota with numerous labor-saving machines would be continually in “hot water, “, since there is no telling when something is going to break. Valley City had a good pioneer day establishment, operated by Mason and Barton.
The business was established by Mr. Mason in 1880 and Mr. Barton became associated with him in 1882. The two forges in the smithy were always burning.

O. Lund
Mr. Lund was one of the first men to take up residence in Valley City and in 1881 he established the first meat market here. He came here from Fargo where he had settled in 1869 and erected the second building in that city. His butcher business kept up with the increasing growth of Valley City and his stock in the early days included both fresh and cured meats and game and fish in season.
Haberstich & Stair
These men operated the “O. K. Restaurant” under the First National Bank and furnished meats to transients and regular patrons at all hours. Both came from Indiana where they had long experience in the catering business.
Pacific House
This was one of the pioneer business establishments in Valley City, the building having been erected and a hotel started in 1879. There were eight rooms for the accommodations of guest and meals were served to lodgers.
It was operated by Jerome Kintner.
W. R. Williams
In March of 1983, Mr. Williams took over the livery and feed stable on Third Avenue which had been established in 1879 by Charles Hollinshead. The demand for teams and vehicles in 1883 was tremendous as new settler’s desired transportation to look over their land.
Mr. Williams had accommodations for thirty head of horses and had 15 head of fine horses kept for livery purposes.
Thomas Thompson
Dr. Thompson was a graduate of Edinburgh Veterinary College of Scotland and prior to establishing himself in Valley City in August, 1882, had 30 years of practice in both civil and military life in Great Britain and the United States. He was a veterinary surgeon for the famous 7th United States Cavalry.
F. H. Remington
In 1881 Mr. Remington established a law office in Valley City and also negotiated loans on first mortgage security and made a specialty of loans and chattels. His holding included a farm of 1,800 acres here, 725 of which were sown to wheat in 1883 and averaged twenty bushels to the acre.

J. S. Weiser
Mr. Weiser came to Valley City in 1877 and established a small general merchandise store, which by 1883 had grown to a very large store. He added a lumberyard, an agricultural implement department and farmed 320 acres, 258 of which were in cultivation in that year. The general store was 30x 100, two stories high and carried the largest and most complete stock to be found in the Territory at that time. With four warehouse, his lumberyard, and the store, the total number of square feet under roof exceeded 10,000. He was county treasurer for three terms, a director of the First National Bank, and owner of many fine residence and business lot in Valley City.
P. O. King
Mr. King, in 1883, was the proprietor of the only house furnishing goods in Valley City. The store was established in 1879 and carried a full line of carpeting, picture frames, wall paper, moldings, brackets, coffins, caskets, mortuary goods and household sundries in addition to furniture. He manufactured to order in his shop and warehouse on Main Street.
The People’s Loan and Trust
The People’s Loan and Trusts Company, Meril D. Hill, manager, bought and sold land, examined titles, made abstracts, paid taxes for non-residents and conducted a general loan and land business. It was organized in 1882; Mr. Hill was an attorney at FondDuLac, prior to coming to Valley City.
Parkhouse and Sayles
Parkhouse and Sayles were in 1883, the largest mercantile establishment in the community, with a full and complete line of goods, except drugs and hardware supplies. The firm occupied a three-story brick building, every story of which was crowded with goods.
The firm bought stock in Boston, New York and Chicago as well as from St. Paul and Minneapolis.
D. W. & F. C. Clark
This pioneer insurance agency was established in 1881 by D. W. Clark and the partnership form in August 1881. They issued policies against losses by fire, tornado and lightning as well as being agents for some of the most prominent life and accident companies.
Dakota House
This hostelry was located on Main Street opposite the N. P. depot and had twenty-five rooms, sample rooms for commercial travelers; a dining room, bar, and billiard parlor. In 1883 it was under the management of Mr. O’Malley who had resided here three years.
John Simons
Mr. Simons’ farm machinery business was located on Third Avenue and the premises had ample storage capacity and a complete stock of harvesting machinery, reapers, and mowers, buggies, spring wagons, windmills, pumps, sewing machines, etc. He established the business in 1879. Mr. Simon was elected sheriff and served six years in that capacity.

Henry Wold
A dealer in saddler, harness, boots, and shoes. Mr. Wold established is business in Valley City in 1879. He was a manufacturer as well as a dealer. He purchased the greater part of his stock I Chicago and St. Paul but bought whips in Staunton, Mass.
James Allen
The jewelry and watch making industry was represented in early Valley City by only one establishment, that of James Allen. He carried a full stock of all goods from five cent collar button to a $20 gold watch. He also carried optical goods and was an artistic engraver. Mr. Allen established his business here in 1882.
Northern Pacific Elevator
This company transacted a vast amount of business and handled upwards of 400,000 bushels of grain yearly. The elevator at Valley City was managed by A. W. Wenk. It had a capacity of 60,000 bushels, was 30 x 150 in size, with 60 feet elevation: was operated by steam power furnished by a fifteen horsepower engine and twenty horsepower boiler; had facilities for cleaning and forwarding of 8,000 bushels of grain daily. During 882, 200,000 bushels were received and shipped with exports made principally to Duluth and Minneapolis.
G. K. Andrus
G. K. Andrus was an attorney who conducted a real estate, collection and insurance business. He possessed a large amount of cultivated land himself and had land for sale throughout the wheat belt.
In 1883 he was city attorney, Mr. Andrus had an interest in the Valley City Opera House and was manager of this institution.

Tuesday Club Credited for Start of Library in Valley City

Tuesday Club Credited for Start of Library in Valley City
The history of the Valley City Public Library is unique. At the turn of the century, Valley was a little town of 4, 000 population on the high plains and prairies of North Dakota. Cultural advantages were few. One of them was the Reading Circle movement. From this movement developed the Tuesday Club of Valley City, the oldest women’s club in Valley City and the second oldest in the state.
I It was on January 8, 1895, that 20 women became charter members of the Tuesday Club. They expressed their purpose in the constitution, which stated they organized “for mutual development of the members in literature, art, history, science and the vital issues of the day.”
The first president of the Tuesday Club, in 1895, was Mrs. Adolph Sternberg. Her husband was the owner of the Sternberg Store, which was purchased in 1910 by the Straus Clothing Company.
Mrs. Sternberg was a woman of brilliant mentality and artist in her own right. Her driving force got the Tuesday Club off to an excellent start. The 20 ladies met fortnightly on Tuesdays at each other’s homes. The programs were literary in style, centered in the fields of literature, art, science, history and the vital issues of the day. They had difficulty finding materials for their programs. No libraries were available. Few books and magazines could be found. Out of that need came to these good women the idea of getting a public library for Valley City.
The Tuesday Club set to work determinedly on that project. When their delegates to the state convention returned with $.10 remaining from their expense account, the Tuesday Club voted that this amount be used to start a “public library fund”.
When they went to work to increase that fund, staging bazaars, exhibits, lectures, concerts and publishing of a cook book. The fun soon reached $700. George Young, whose brilliant wife was a member of the club, gave them an old house which they sold for $300.
They began to write letters, to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and others. All replies were noncommittal. But the Carnegie reply contained only one ray of hope. It stated that the population of Valley City (4,000) did not seem to justify a public library at that time. The women of the Tuesday Club renewed their efforts. They drew some men into their plans—Frank White, soon governor of the state; George M. Young, state senator, and Herman Winterer, whose wife conducted much of this correspondence.
Correspondence continued. There was much of it. In the office of Herman Winterer was a young lawyer just fresh out of law school at Ann Arbor, Michigan. He became interested in the project and prepared most of the correspondence. This young lawyer was D. S. Ritchie.
At length, a letter came from the Carnegie Corporation stating it would grant $15,000 for construction of a public library at Valley City provided the site was furnished debt free, and providing that city council would guarantee to maintain and operate the library in perpetuity.
The Tuesday Club purchased the site. They approached the city council. The council favored the 1 mill tax levy, but wanted public reaction. The public voted for the tax levy.
Then it became apparent that the income from the 1 percent mill levy permitted by state law would not sufficient to maintain and operate the public library. These indomitable women then persuaded State Senator George M. White to introduce in the Legislature a new bill permitted a 4 mill tax levy for the public. The bill passed in the House and Senate, and was signed by Governor Frank White, and became a law. Now they were ready for the Carnegie grant which came at once and the library was constructed in 1902-03.
The building was soundly constructed in the beginning and has been taken care of in excellent fashion these past years. At first it had its own heating plant from which a small fire started on one occasion. Smoke from the fire darkened the furniture and the interior of the building. The furniture was first painted green and then dark mission. During WPA days labor and material were made available for renovation of the library. Mr. Karl J Olsen, then a member of both the Board of Education and the Library Board, assumed supervision of the project. All the mission paint and veneer were removed and the beautiful original quartered oak finish restored.

“High Line’ Crossed in 1908

“High Line’ Crossed in 1908
Sixty-five miles west of Fargo, the original line of the Northern Pacific Railway crosses the Sheyenne River at Valley City by descending the deep valley, crossing the river on a low bridge and climbing out of the valley again to the west. On account of the depth of the valley, the grades on either side of the river are severe and to avoid the expense of pulling the heavy trains out of the valley, a second track was built which crosses on a higher level. This involved the construction of a line which leaves the original location at Peak on the east, crosses the valley on a long steal viaduct and connects with the original line at Berea, a total distance of nearly ten miles. The new or “High Line” crosses the Sheyenne River one mile upstream from the old or “low Line” and was constructed in the years 1906 to 1908 inclusive. The first train crossed on May 20, 1908.

Telephone Service First Established Here in 1897

Telephone Service First Established Here in 1897
Telephone service was originally established in Valley City in 1897 when O. A. Beeman, owner and operator of the first exchange, installed a switchboard with fifty telephones in an office upstairs in the Barkley Real Estate Building which was located where the Gamble Store was. The first paid telephone operator was Daisy McPherson. She was hired in the spring of 1897 and continued until 1899. Telephone number one had been used by the F. W. Heidel family since it was originally installed in Mr. Heidel hardware store, presently Ace Hardware Store.
In 1906 the North Dakota Independent Telephone Company purchased the Valley City system, and W. T. Craswell was manager. Shortly after, in 1913, the open iron wires replaced by cable. At that time there were 770 telephones in the system. A. J. McInnes succeed Mr. Craswell in 1922 and two years later Northwest Bell acquired the property.

National Guard Formed Here on March 3, 1884

National Guard Formed Here on March 3, 1884
Unit takes part in 5 campaigns; often honored.
The long and glorious history of the National Guard in Valley city goes back to a few months after adoption of the city’s charter. The Military unit was first constituted and organized in Valley City on March 3, 1884, as Company G, 1st Dakota Infantry Regiment.
In 1889, when North and South Dakota became separate states, the “North Dakota” identity of the unit, now known as Company G, First North Dakota Infantry began. On March 6, 1891, the organized militia of North Dakota became known as the National Guard.
On May 20, 2898, Company G, 1st North Dakota volunteer infantry was mustered into the feral service for duty in the Spanish-American War. The unit was released from federal service on September 25, 1899 at the Presidio of San Francisco, California and was reorganized as Company G, 1st North Dakota Infantry in Valley City.National Guard Formed Here on March 3, 1884
Unit takes part in 5 campaigns; often honored.
The long and glorious history of the National Guard in Valley city goes back to a few months after adoption of the city’s charter. The Military unit was first constituted and organized in Valley City on March 3, 1884, as Company G, 1st Dakota Infantry Regiment.
In 1889, when North and South Dakota became separate states, the “North Dakota” identity of the unit, now known as Company G, First North Dakota Infantry began. On March 6, 1891, the organized militia of North Dakota became known as the National Guard.
On May 20, 2898, Company G, 1st North Dakota volunteer infantry was mustered into the feral service for duty in the Spanish-American War. The unit was released from federal service on September 25, 1899 at the Presidio of San Francisco, California and was reorganized as Company G, 1st North Dakota Infantry in Valley City.National Guard Formed Here on March 3, 1884
Unit takes part in 5 campaigns; often honored.
The long and glorious history of the National Guard in Valley city goes back to a few months after adoption of the city’s charter. The Military unit was first constituted and organized in Valley City on March 3, 1884, as Company G, 1st Dakota Infantry Regiment.
In 1889, when North and South Dakota became separate states, the “North Dakota” identity of the unit, now known as Company G, First North Dakota Infantry began. On March 6, 1891, the organized militia of North Dakota became known as the National Guard.
On May 20, 2898, Company G, 1st North Dakota volunteer infantry was mustered into the feral service for duty in the Spanish-American War. The unit was released from federal service on September 25, 1899 at the Presidio of San Francisco, California and was reorganized as Company G, 1st North Dakota Infantry in Valley City.

First Big Fire Here Destroyed Lund’s Hotel

First Big Fire Here Destroyed Lund’s Hotel
The first fire involving the destruction of any considerable amount of property occurred in Valley City November 27, 1883, in the burning of Lund’s Hotel on Sixth Avenue. The fire was discovered in the upper portion of the house while members of the family were lingering at the supper table. The origin is supposed to have been caused by a defective flue.
At a few Minutes to 10:00, the building and its major contents were entirely consumed. Nothing but a stove, a small amount of bedding, a few pieces of furniture, crockery, etc. were save and these in dilapidated condition.