The Town of Humboldt

by

Marshal Hemmes

"He who steals my purse steals trash:
tis something nothing
Twas mine tis his and has been slave to
thousands
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not encircles him,
and makes me poor indeed."

Shakespeare

 

Names are personal belongings. Sometimes in order to honorsomeone, something special is named after that person.

Jim Hill named this town after a friend of his which wasVon Humboldt. Von Humboldt was a German scientist. Many of the towns thatwere built along the railroad in this area but he was still honored becausehe was a great man. His full name is Baron Alexander Von Humboldt. Anotherreason this town was named after a German is that many Germans were investingin railroad bonds. This was the railroads way of paying tribute to the Germanpeople. This was a common event, naming towns after German people. Thisis also how Bismark, capital of North Dakota, got its name.

Humboldt was established by James J. Hill. Jim Hill hadthis town site for his men to build their homes and for a shipping center.He built the town on a site that he knew the railroad would be passing through.By this he encouraged people to build elevators and even a store.

Being designed as a shipping center, Humboldt soon hadmany elevators. The first elevator was the St. Anthony and Dakota Company.This elevator caught fire in 1931 and burned down. Then these elevatorswere built after the first one: McCabe Brothers, The Hills Interests, RedLake Falls Elevators Company and the Farmers Elevator Company. Of these,only one remains now, the Farmers Elevator. The Hill Elevator was movedto Grampain.

The first store was built at the site about the same timeas the railroad went through about 1878. This was owned by Booker and McFadin.Wilbur Kerns bought out this firm a few years later.

At this time Humboldt wasn't really a big trading centerbecause of all the Bonanza farms in the area surrounding the town. But itdid do a lot of exporting such as shipping of grain. There was a littleneed for retail services because of the workers of the Bonanza farms andthe few small farms that were in the area.

Then a store for hardware was finally opened by Florenceand Nelson which stalked a little bit of everything. This store was boughtout by Matthew and Anderson four years later. So Florence and Nelson builtanother business when the Soo Line came into this area and this businesstook in about $50,000.00 a year. And about 30 years later Victor Clow becamedealer in general merchandise and farm machinery. At this time Humboldteven had a hotel.

All during this period Humboldt was not really declareda town, and it wasn't really declared a town until 1919. The town site plotwas not filed until 1920.

This delayed reaction didn't seem to bother the growthof Humboldt because by this time we even had a bank with a capital of $10,000.00.

Humboldt has pretty well disappeared now because it nowonly has a population of just under a hundred people, and it's not reallygrowing.

Marshal Hemmes

>Marshal Hemmes