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The Beginning Of Lancaster


Lester Wallenberg


The village of Lancaster marked its beginning when theSoo Line came through in 1904. Lancaster is located in Granville Townshipin Kittson County. Lancaster is along Minnesota United States Highway 59.

Before 1904, the area of Lancaster was wilderness withvery few settlers. Then in 1904, the railroad was started and also thenew town of Lancaster. The railroad was interested in the industry andthe business because of the fertile soil.

The first building was a hotel built in 1904, the secondwas the Lancaster Co-op Service Station. It was built in 1906. The thirdbuilding was a hardware store. It was the first in Lancaster to sell farmimplements. This building was destroyed by fire in 1935. The hotel wasbuilt by Bernard Johnson and today it is Sanner's store.

The next store was a stationery and confectionery businessowned by Edward Smith. In 1908, he added a drug department to his store. In 1911, he built an addition which housed a general store. He passedaway in 1932 and his son took over the business.

In the fall of 1904, three local elevators were erected. It was then operated by the Prairie Elevator Company - Osborn-McMillanand Woodworth. The Robertson Lumber Company yard was built in the fallof that year.

In 1905, many new business places were built. They includeda soft drink parlor and a hotel. Later, the hotel was turned into a saloon. Then a cafe was built onto it. Today, it is the Lancaster Barber Shop. A livery barn and a meat shop were opened. The sidewalks at this timewere made of wooden planks.

The village was incorporated officially in 1905, whichalso saw the licensing of the sale of intoxicating liquors. But in 1904,the railroad came through and that really marked the beginning.

The first bank in Lancaster was built in 1908. A. W. Denniswas its first clerk.

A new hardware store was built in 1906 because the oldone burned down.

The first doctor was Doctor Young. He came in 1906 andpracticed medicine and then left a short time later. In 1908, another doctorcame to Lancaster. A veterinarian came only for a brief time.

The Lancaster Creamery Association was organized in thewinter of 1906. Lancaster was known to have one of the finest creameriesin northern Minnesota.

The Lancaster Co-op Locker Plant had proven to be a realservice to the town and the community. This was where the people broughttheir cows or pigs to be slaughtered.

There were three churches serving the community, each churchbeing led by pastors and acting congregational men. The three churcheswere the Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster Methodist Church, and the ZionLutheran Church.

The Methodist Church was the first to come to Lancaster. It was built in 1905. There were seven pastors who served the church beforeit was burned.

Zion Lutheran Church was the next church to be built in1908.

The Baptist Church was built on June 17, 1883. It wasthe first Baptist Church built in this area.

In the marketing field, Lancaster was ahead of many townsin the area. The Farmer Elevator and the Woodworth Elevator bought muchgrain and offered varied feeds and cleaning services to their customers.

The Lancaster Livestock Shipping Association was organizedin 1919. It was a thriving enterprise because livestock raising was a majorindustry of the community, except to the east.

The potato warehouse at Lancaster was once a cooperativeventure. It handled a large volume of potatoes and employed several menduring the picking season. The business died out when potato raising wasnot a major industry in the community any more.

The local newspaper was the Lancaster Herald. It was ownedand operated by Victor Johnson. The Lancaster Herald was not a large weeklypaper but it did a full share of service as a local paper.

Lancaster was a very busy town. Each year better serviceseemed more efficient, management and new varied enterprise were added. Growth was not spectacular but gradual and consistent.


Murray, Morris, Lancaster, Minnesota, Interview: January2, 1974

The book: Golden Jubilee of Lancaster

view: January2, 1974

The book: Golden Jubilee of Lancaster