Tornado BookIf you are unfamiliar with the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks area, this section is for you!  First, you will find some old photographs and drawings from Grand Forks and the surrounding area.  Grand Forks is located in Grand Forks County, North Dakota and East Grand Forks is located in Polk County, Minnesota.  The twin towns are separated by the Red River of the North, which is the dividing line between both states.  The Red Lake River flows through East Grand Forks and connects with the Red River.  The junction of the Red and Red Lake rivers provides the “Grand Forks” namesake to both communities.  The flat and generally treeless Red River Valley lies on both sides of the Red River and is some of the richest farmland in the world.  Settlement in the Red River Valley was tied to the early methods of transportation, which were primarily steamboats and railroads.  The Northern Pacific Railroad came first, in the early 1870s, and was followed by the Saint Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad.  Early settlers quickly found out that weather conditions were harsh on the flat prairie.  The United States Signal Service and the Minnesota Weather Service were founded to help protect commerce and people.  These predecessors to the National Weather Service observed the weather and provided the first warning system for inclement weather.  When dangerous weather conditions were imminent, these two agencies hung signal flags to warn people of their onset.  It was a dangerous and exciting time on the frontier!



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