Norman County, Minnesota
Atlas of Norman County, 1907 Plat Map of Halstad
Photos of Halstad from about 1905 to 1940
Click to view larger image
Excerpts from Halstad, A Century of Memories, 1983
The early settlers who came to the Halstad area were
mainly from Iowa and Southern Minnesota. Some
settled on their claims near the Red River and others near the Marsh River.
One of these was Ole Halstad who settled near the Marsh River about 6
miles east of the present city of Halstad in 1871.
The first post office was established in his home in 1872 with Mr.
Halstad acquiring the duties as postmaster.
It is from him that Halstad got its name. Later the post office was moved
into the present City of Halstad, where E. K. Brandt became postmaster.
He operated a general store, which contained the post office.
The post office safe was blown up in 1902, causing a loss of $125; and
again in 1904, when a loss of $35 was sustained.
No clue to either robbery was ever discovered.
Erik K. Brandt first owned the original town site of
Halstad by virtue of a patent from the U. S. Government, dated June 12, 1878.
It was sold to Solomon G. Comstock and Almond A. White and platted for
them on Sept. 21, 1883. Nine years
later, on December 28, 1892, the village of Halstad was incorporated by action
of the Norman County Board of Commissioners.
Dr. George Bennitt was the first mayor.
It was during this time that the Great Northern Railroad
arrived in Halstad. The railroad
helped farmers get their harvest to market and bring them products to use in
their farming. The expansion of the
railroad made it easier for people to travel to the area. It was a time of rapid growth.
The Methodists established the first church built in
1889. The Halstad Lutheran Church
started in 1892 with services held in the school. There were the following charter members at a meeting May 23,
1892: Messrs. and Mmes. Johannes Aaring, S. S. Moen, Johannes Melting (Leaunet),
Jacob Leaunet, Iver Lien, G. K. Vikan, O. H. Viker, Knute Slette, Andreas
Haagenson, Ole O. Landsem, Johannes Reitan, Arnt Melting, Eilert Johnson,
Johannes Lyng, E. K. Brandt and Lars E. Norby.
A week later Mr. & Mrs. Mikkel Ranum joined the roster of charter
members. Pastor A. O. Megrund accepted a call and conducted his first service
Jun. 12, 1892.
Various business places were established at this time.
The Larson brothers stared a general store.
Following them were the Lien Store, the Halstad Mercantile Company, a
lumberyard with A. C. Tvedt as manager, two elevators, two restaurants and a
advertising in November 1894 Halstad Reporter published by H. A. Sarley
Flogstad and Houske –
Fresh and salt meats
Nels T. Moen – Attorney
D. E. Kelly – Barber
C. Bennitt M. D. –
Halstad Meat Market –
Wm. B. Larson
J. Furuseth – General
R. Olson – Hotel and
Restaurant – 3rd Street
C. Helgeson – Tinsmith
State Bank of Halstad
Lewis Larson – dealer in
wines and liquors – Main Street
Oyster Bay Restaurant –
T. T. Kiland, prop.
F. L. Young – Lumber,
lath, shingles, sand
Larson Brothers –
T. A. Nelson – grocer
Eggen, Larson, and Slette
Livery, Feed and Sale Stable (Successor to Larson and Swenson)
C. H. Anderson –
Furniture and Carpets, Coffins and Caskets, Furniture made to order.
G. J. Gilbert – Drug
Dr. C. E. Onsgaard –
Scandinavian Physician, Office: Scoby’s Drug Store, next to bank.
O. E. Flaten – branch
studio at Halstad
Brandt and Jesme – dry
L. E. Nordby and Son –
pioneer hardware store
The first bank in town, known
as the “State Bank of Halstad”
was established in 1892. This bank discontinued operations after a number of
years, and another bank known as the “First National Bank of Halstad” was
started in 1904. It is now known as
the “Red River State Bank of Halstad.”
The Halstad Mutual Fire
Insurance Company was organized in May 1890, and has during the years provided
insurance protection for the entire county of Norman and townships in adjoining
The first newspaper published
in Halstad in 1894 was the third publication in the county and was known as the
“Halstad Reporter.” W. A.
Kelly, former superintendent of schools in Trail County, ND, edited it. This
newspaper would evolve into the “Valley Journal” which is making a come back
The first medical service was
given by Dr. Cleveland of Caledonia, ND. The
first resident doctor was Dr. George G. Bennitt, who practiced in Halstad until
his death in 1893. His brother,
Carl Bennitt, succeeded him.
Here are more names of “Old Timers” as we often call
them who helped create the village and area.
The following list was taken from the “Valley Journal” article
written for the 1958 celebration. John
Grothe, Nels Hage, Aslak Hanson, Andrew and Henry Hawkins, O. A. Helgoe, Rasmus
Larson, L.B. Larson, Engel Lovsness, Charles Obert, Ole E. Olson, J. L. Scheie,
A.O. Serum, and Thodore and Hans Stennes.
The first two schools in the Halstad area were of log
construction and were authorized by Polk County, which embraced this area at
that time. The first was built in
1874, a short distance southeast of the present town of Halstad. The 1874 school
was the first school in Norman County, but it was a private subscription school.
The 1877 school was organized at the Engel Lausness (Lovsnes) home.
Officers elected to serve on the board were: Jacob Hesby, director; L. B.
Larson, treasurer; and A. O. Serum, clerk.
Mrs. A.O. Serum was engaged as teacher with a salary of $12.00 per month.
This school would become District 9, which sat on the slough bank south
of what was later known as Lovsnes Point. This
was the first school district to be formed in the county
District 10 was the third school, but the second school
district to be formed in the county, and it, too, was near Halstad. After county
commissioners approved the petition for a school near the Marsh River, the first
school meeting was held at the home of Ole. E. Olson. The following were
elected: Ole E. Olson, director; Anthony Scheie, treasurer; and Ole Halstad,
clerk. So a school house 16’x24’ was built on the northeast corner of Ole
The local school district (Halstad Village) was organized
in 1880 as District No. 39, but was reorganized in 1882 as District 18.
In 1884 still another schoolhouse came into existence.
It was a two-room frame building built on the west side of town.
Two teachers were employed one for the primary grades on the ground floor
and one for the more advanced students who occupied the upstairs room.
The enrollment was about 80 pupils and ever growing so a two-room
addition was built in 1894. By 1902
the little frame building was no longer large enough for all the children so the
Good Templar Hall was rented to supply needed classroom.
By 1905 the school district had built a new two story, eight-room brick
school house at a new school site. R. A. Hill was hired as superintendent, Elsie
N. Everett as principal, and Mary Tillotson as teacher.
The first janitor in the new school was Andrew Ness.
Through the years additions were built that added to the
Halstad School. In 1939 a gym with stage was added, by 1951 a farm shop and a
second addition to the high school, in 1961 a library, music room, and
administrative offices were added, and in 1970 a new gymnasium as well as
community rooms, weight rooms, and a couple small offices were added.
The year 1982 brought many changes and a new look to the
Halstad School. A proposal was
brought by the Hendrum-Perley School on pairing for the 1982-83 school year with
Halstad. On May 10, 1982, each
district signed the pairing agreement. Since
the pairing agreement, both districts have voted and agreed to consolidation.
The school’s new name was to become Norman County West High and Norman
County West Elementary.
Today Halstad is a progressive community.
The town has many new homes and businesses. The Red River State Bank and
most recently the Halstad Telephone Company have updated their buildings in the
downtown area. The Halstad Lutheran Memorial Home sits on the community’s east
side and has recently added a care unit for Alzheimer’s patients.
The Heritage House assisted living housing has been added in the last