East Grand Forks Background

East Grand Forks


To W. C. Nash is accorded the honor of being the first settler on the site of the present city.  He was here in 1863 accompanying a military expedition sent out from Fort Snelling in quest of two of the Indian chiefs who were engaged in the massacre of the previous year.  In 1864 Mr. Nash took a contract for carrying the mail between Abercrombie and Pembina, which he continued for five years, during which he made many visits to this point, and in 1868 picked out the location which he afterwards made his home by virtue of a “squatter’s” right.  In 1869 he took a contract for erecting the buildings at Fort Pembina.  On the completion of his contract he settled down here and has been here ever since, largely engaged in farming.

Leon Supernault and Andrew Kimble came down the Red river in the spring of 1871 and have been here ever since.  Other settlers began to come in a year or two later, but it was not until about the latter part of the seventies that the country around here was settled.

The first business place here was a store opened in a tent in the summer of 1872 by James Deering.

A post office was established here in 1873, for years known as Nash.

A. Walstrom opened a blacksmith shop in 1873.

The first school in East Grand Forks was held in the house of W. C. Nash in 1876, with Miss Carrie Griggs as teacher.  In November, 1882, another school was opened with Miss Carrie Sauer as teacher.

In 1881 Mrs. John Griggs, who owned the land opposite the original townsite of Grand Forks, platted forty acres next to the river, as “Grand Forks East,” the avenues and streets corresponding to those in Grand Forks.  W. J. S. Traill platted an addition the following winter and the year 1882 saw a veritable “Boom” in East Grand Forks.  The business centre was at that time not far from the present site of the lumber company’s planing mill.  New buildings sprung up almost like magic, and new “shingles” were hung out almost daily.  There was quite a demand for real estate, and the sales of the town lots reached $200,000 before the close of 1883.

Then things settled down some and the next experience the town had was a wholesale removal of the business centre, buildings and all, to DeMers avenue, half a mile nearer the business centre of Grand Forks.  A little later scarcely a building remained in the part of town which had formerly been the business centre (Sibley Street).

The population numbered about 300 in 1885 (Grand Forks and North Dakota Manual for 1885, William L. Dudley, Page 41).

East Grand Forks was incorporated as a city in 1887, with J. S. Dwyer as the first mayor.

The first religious services in East Grand Forks were held by Father Scherer in 1883.  The Church of the Sacred Heart was organized in 1892 with Rev. Father Hendricks as pastor in charge.  The erection of a church edifice was commenced in 1884 and completed the following year.  The building was destroyed by fire soon after its completion.  A second church was erected at once on the site, at a cost of $12,000 and the parish has since completed a parochial residence at a cost of $8,000.

Mendenhall Memorial Presbyterian church was organized in 1889 and the church, a substantial frame structure, erected the same year.  The first regular pastor was Rev. G. W. Wadsworth.

The Grand Forks Herald – Silver Anniversary Edition

June 26, 1879 to June 26, 1094
Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks, ND
Page 99


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