Sportman's Paradise Becomes Site For GrowingCity

Leland Jerome

Every town, village, or city has its own particular beginning.Most towns or villages begin a a result of a railroad being built, or byhaving a factory of some kind built, or because a trading post was originallyestablished there, or for some other reason. But the city of Hallock, Minnesotahad a unique origin. It came about by the discovery of a hunter's paradiseby a very sports minded man, Charles Hallock.

A sportsman, a writer, an author, an editor; these aresome of the many characteristics possessed by Charles Hallock. Charles Hallockwas born in New York City on March 13, 1843. Hallock graduated from AmherstCollege with a bachelor of arts degree in 1854 and received his mastersdegree from Amherst College in 1871. Hallock was a newspaperman from hisearly youth. He was editor of many newspapers and magazines including Harper'sWeekly, New Haven Register, New York Journal of Commerce, and the St. JohnN. B. Telegraph and Courier. In 1873, he founded Forest & Stream, amagazine for sportsmen.

Before the time of the railroad, Charles Hallock made frequentvisits to the northwestern part of Minnesota. He liked that part of thecountry mainly because he was a great sportsman. He found the life thereas a hunter's paradise. He found many deer, moose, elk, bears, wolves, coyotes,ducks, geese, prairie chickens, and many other kinds of fowl. There wasno end to the amount of game. Because of the multitudes of game, CharlesHallock thought this would be a marvelous place to build a sportsman's hotelfor the sportsmen passing through the area.

Hallock went back to New York City and told some of hisfriends, who were also very sports minded, about the hunter's paradise hehad found. His friends, being interested, contributed a great deal of moneyto him so he could begin making plans for the hotel.

While Charles Hallock was in New York with his friends,John Swainson, a contractor with the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, plottedand laid out the original site for Hallock, Minnesota. The contract Swainsonhad, provided land for a depot and a few other business places. Soon afterSwainson had laid out his establishment, the noted railroads man, JamesJ. Hill, gained control of the railroad and a new town site was launched.

Charles Hallock, acquiring land for his sportsman's hotel,and not knowing that a new town site was being launched, bought five acresof land which was a part of the new town site. In 1880, Charles Hallockhad his hotel built along with a depot on the new town site. The new townwas called "Hallock" in honor of him.

The hotel, which Charles Hallock had built, was built ata value of ten thousand dollars. The hotel was eighty-five feet long witha wing that was twenty-five feet wide and twenty-five feet long. The hotelwas three stories high, had four stores on the bottom floor, and had everyneeded convenience for a sportsman. The hotel Hallock, as it was called,had its ups and downs. It was so expensive to operate that none of the hotelkeepers lasted long. However, the Hotel Hallock, almost at once, becamethe center of the new town of Hallock. Most of the public business was transactedthere. In August of 1880, the first town meeting was held there in whichCharles Hallock was elected as one of the officers of the town. The firstdistrict court, which was opened in July of 1881, was also held there. Thehotel was made the headquarters of many sportsmen while they were on huntingtrips in that area. Sportsmen came from all over the United States, especiallyfrom New York where most of Hallock's friends came from.

On Christmas morning of 1892, a fire was discovered inthe cellar of the hotel. The blaze was quickly put out, but the fire brokeout again a few hours later, this time in the attic of the hotel. The blazewas soon under control, but the hotel was seriously damaged and was torndown the following summer.

In 1889, the Pacific Hotel was built to take the placeof the Hotel Hallock. The Pacific Hotel was also an expensive hotel. Thehotel was a three story building with a stone basement. It consisted ofover forty rooms, including an enormous dining room which held a capacityof sixty guests.

During the late 1880's and early 90's the first flour-millingenterprise in the county was constructed in Hallock. It was a cheese factorywhich had a big business until it burned in 1905.

The population of Hallock was rising considerably. Peoplefrom all over the country were coming to this part of Minnesota. Many ofthem came looking for work and many of them brought their own business alongwith them. Many of them opened a grocery store. Others opened a drug store,or a hardware store, or some other kind of supply store.

In 1919, Charles Hallock died, leaving behind him a startto what became a growing city. Hallock soon became a city supplied withall sorts of business enterprises. Hallock was located on the main lineof the Great Northern Railroad between Winnipeg, Manitoba and the Twin Citiesof Minnesota. It served as one of the main stops of the railroad. Hallockwas also located at the junction of State Highway number six and U.S. Highwaynumber seventy-five.

In 1921, another asset was added to the community of Hallock.The Kittson County War Veterans Memorial Hospital was built and includedevery modern piece of equipment in the medical department. The hospitalopened on April 1, 1922 with a staff of six nurses and some of the bestphysicians in the county. The hospital brought many more people to the Hallockcommunity because the people wanted to be near a place where they couldget medical care.

A greater evidence in showing the growth of Hallock wasthe organization of the first school district which was organized in Hallock.Hallock, now, has an up to date school system with an average enrollment.

Hallock is now the county seat of Kittson County. Hallockis an up to date metropolitan center with up to date conveniences. It hasa hospital, schools, social societies, and business firms.

When Charles Hallock came to this part of the country,he didn't come as a promoter of town sites or as a homesteader trying tochange land into a bustling city, but he came as a sportsman and found asportsman's paradise and wished to build a sportsman's hotel. And what startedas a hotel turned into a bustling city with businesses of all sorts.

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J. E. Bouvette & Sons, Kittson County Enterprise, FiftiethAnniversary Editions. September 1935.E=+1>J. E. Bouvette & Sons, Kittson County Enterprise, FiftiethAnniversary Editions. September 1935.