Edward J. Lander

EDWARD J. LANDER, one of the well-known business men of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and a member of the firm of E. J. Lander & Co., is engaged in the loan, real estate and abstract business, and has the most complete set of abstract books in the state.  He is one of the originators of the Grand Forks Building & Loan Association, and for the last ten years has been its secretary.  It was organized in 1886 and is one of the leading financial institutions of the city.  He is a man of good business qualifications, and has a wide knowledge of men and the world, and has prospered since taking up his residence here.

Our subject was born in Rockford, Winnebago county, Illinois, September 12, 1860.  His parents, Christopher and Jane (Brown) Lander, were natives of England, and came to the United States in 1852 and settled in Rockford, Winnebago county, Illinois, and there the father engaged in milling, where his death occurred in February, 1869.

Mr. Lander is one of three sons now living, and was reared in Illinois and received a high-school education.  He then engaged in the grain trade and as a bookkeeper for the Rockford Tack Company, and in 1882 came to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and founded the business in which he is now engaged, the loan business, one of the most extensive of the kind in Grand Forks, which was established in 1882 in farm loans.  The firm of E. J. Lander & Company was incorporated in 1897, of which Mr. Lander is president.  They have charge of a large number of real estate holdings of non-residents, and are local representatives of E. H. Rollins & Sons, of Boston, Massachusetts.

Mr. Lander was one of the builders of the Grand Forks opera house, and was also one of the original stockholders of the old Second National Bank, and was later a director in that institution and served as vice-president of the same three years.  His abstract books are the oldest and most complete to be found in the county, and he has a good business and deals extensively in real estate.

Our subject was married, February 28, 1884, to Miss Jessie K. Krouse, a native of Michigan.  One son has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Lander, upon whom they have bestowed the name of Miles K.  Mr. Lander is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and politically he is a Republican, and has been identified with that party since attaining his majority.  He takes an active interest in affairs of a public nature and has held various local offices, including county commissioner, which position he held nine years.  He is intelligent and energetic and is deservedly popular with the people.

Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota
Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago
Page 363


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E. J. Lander Dies at 92

Death came early Friday (July 24, 1953) to the last of the old pioneer businessmen of Grand Forks when E. J. Lander died in a local hospital at the age of 92, just 70 years after he started his career in this city.

He had retired from active business last November, but he continued in an advisory capacity until January.  He entered the hospital July 13.  Advanced age was given as the cause of his death.

He is survived by Mrs. Lander; a son, Miles K. Lander of Waterloo, Ia.; two grandchildren, Edward K. Lander, 1530 Cottonwood St., and Robert Lander, 1102 Belmont Rd., and five great grandchildren.

Funeral Set Sunday

The two grandsons are active in the conduct of the business their grandfather founded.  Mr. and Mrs. Miles Lander will arrive tonight from Waterloo; he had visited his father here this spring.

Funeral services will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the First Presbyterian church, with Rev. Harry P. Sweitzer officiating.  Burial will take place in Memorial Park cemetery.  The body will lie in state at the Hanson-Anderson funeral home Saturday evening.

Mr. Lander died at 6 a.m.  He had been in declining health for several months, but had remained at his home until last week.  Attending physicians said there was “nothing especially wrong with him,” except that he “was just worn out.”

Was Civic Leader

For nearly three-quarters of a century Mr. Lander was in the forefront of community development in Grand Forks, taking an active interest in all local affairs from the time he arrived here in the summer of 1883, a youth of 22.

Grand Forks was just a straggling city then – in fact, it has been incorporated as a city only two years before his arrival.  He had much to do with the development of the city to its present flourishing proportions, and he was ever a champion of its virtues and had outspoken confidence in its future.

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He and William Rand were the organizers of the Grand Forks Commerical club, the forerunner of the present Chamber of Commerce, and for many years Mr. Lander was its president and strongest proponent.

He was as well one of the organizers of the Grand Forks Kiwanis club; he was a member of many Masonic orders, and was affiliated with the First Presbyterian church, which he served for many years as a trustee.

Until recent years, he had been active in social affairs of the city.  He was a member of the old Pioneer club; with the exception of Dr. R. D. Campbell, he was believed to be the last surviving member of the original golf club here.

Founded Company

Mr. Lander founded E. J. Lander & Co. shortly after his arrival here.  It dealt in investments, mortgage loans, and handled management of farm lands and city property.  It has branch offices in Great Falls, Mont., and Rugby, N. Dak.

Other business connections included large stock holdings in the Grand Forks Transportation Co.; the Western Investment Co., and the Shaw Poster Advertising Co., which handled outdoor billboards.

He was active in the organization of the Northern Packing Co., which later was sold to Armour & Co.; he had a big part in bringing the beet sugar plant to East Grand Forks; he was one of the founders of the Grand Forks Building & Loan Association, and he served at various times on the boards of a number of banks and other corporations.

Visited Here

He had visited Grand Forks in the spring of 1883 on his way to Sioux Falls, S. Dak., on a business trip.  He was attracted to the thriving little community, and returned to open his business here on Aug. 1, 1883.

Born Sept. 12, 1860, in Rockford, Ill., he was christened Edward John Lander.  There he received his grade and high school education before coming to Grand Forks.

Opened Office

Here he opened his office in the one-story building on Third Street, adjoining the Great Northern right of way.  His firm later occupied offices at Third street and Kittson avenue and at Fourth street and DeMers before the present company location was occupied in 1913, on DeMers between Fourth and Fifth streets.

In 1894, Mr. Lander was married in Montreal, Canada, to Miss Jessie King Krause, and the couple returned here to make their first home in the original Dacotah hotel, which was built in 1889 and destroyed by fire Dec. 17, 1897.  Mr. Lander, incidentally, was probably the only resident of this city who was present at the opening of all three Dacotah hotels.

For more than a half century the Lander home has been at 722 Belmont Road, where Mr. Lander spent a great deal of time in his hobby of raising flowers.  He was a pioneer grower of peonies here and at one time had over 130 varieties.  Later he turned more to gladiolus, with hundreds of plants.

Was Sports Fan

He was always a great sports fan, playing baseball as an amateur in his youth and later turning to golf as a pastime.  But long after he gave up his active participation in all sports, he continued building the enterprises that made him known throughout much of the nation.

Included in the company holdings are many business blocks in Grand Forks, as well as in other cities.  His interest in Grand Forks, however, extended beyond his holdings, for he was an active supporter of every community-wide endeavor of a public nature.

He contributed to many causes without fanfare; he took great pride in the University of North Dakota as a special asset to the community and had repeatedly evidenced his interest by contributions to special funds in connection with the University.

Mr. Lander never sought public office; his only venture into politics was to serve three terms as county commissioner from Grand Forks city in 1890-03.

Pay Tribute

Tributes to Mr. Lander for his contribution to the business and civic life of Grand Forks were numerous, as many citizens expressed regret at his passing.  Some of the tributes follow:

Mayor Oscar Lunseth:  “Grand Forks has lost one of its pioneers, who had a large part in guiding the early destinies of the city.  He was one of the last remaining links with the early days of Grand Forks, and the city will miss his sage counsel and his business ability.  We owe a great debt to the men who founded the present business system of Grand Forks.”

Dr. G. A. Abbott, University professor and prominent Kiwanis Club member – “Though not unexpected, the news of E. J. Lander’s death was a shock to me.  He has been my friend almost since I came to the city 43 years ago.  I knew him first through his interest in Kiwanis Club work.  He was one of the seven men who were called to organize the club.  He was chairman of the committee to manage our first district convention in 1922.  That was the largest convention the district has ever had, 900 being at the banquet.  There were only 35 clubs at that time in the district.  I also knew Mr. Lander as a grower of flowers.  He raised peonies and later gladioli.  He often present bouquets to Kiwanis Club members at meetings.  He shall miss him.”

Paul Griffith – “The death of E. J. Lander marked the end of the pioneer group of business men who built the city of Grand Forks.  My father, R. B. Griffith, was one of them, and they were a remarkable group of men.  One of the outstanding features of Mr. Lander was that he founded and operated a one man business, and fought out the depression, coming out of it and then building up quite a business empire.  Grand Forks business circles will miss him and his example.”

Henry Hanson, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce – “Being a newcomer in Grand Forks as compared with Mr. Lander’s years of service to the city, I only knew him in his later years, but he will be remembered as the first president of the Chamber of Commerce, or Commercial Club as it was then known.  His contributions to the city are too well known to require comment.  All that I can say, is Grand Forks profited from the life of E. J. Lander and we need more men like him.”

Grand Forks Herald
Friday, July 24, 1953
Volume 72, Number 263


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