Many of North Dakota’s towns were established in one big rush as the railroad was built through the state on its way to the west coast. There are some older towns that were established before the railroad, and some of which were established just as it started development. These are the oldest towns in North Dakota, and the history they contain is immense. Which 8 towns were founded the earliest? Keep reading to find out…
Pembina was the first settlement in North Dakota, with records of the first outposts in the late 1700s. The first permanent settlement was the Pembina Fort, established in 1820. The town was officially founded in 1850.
Walhalla is the second oldest town in North Dakota and is located not far from Pembina. Like Pembina, it was established as a fur trading post first, then later a city.
3. Grand Forks
One of the largest cities in North Dakota is also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1870. Early traders used the area as an important meeting spot for a century before that already. The town is full of interesting historical spots and buildings, such as this old train depot shown here.
The largest city in North Dakota was founded in 1871. Its motto is "The Gateway to the West," and it definitely fit that description back then. Tons of people traveled through Fargo on their way to the west coast, and the railroad did, too, on its way to settle the rest of North Dakota in the following decade.
Like most of the earliest cities, Wahpeton is located in the Red River Valley, right on the border. Before settlers pushed further west they made their foundations in the valley. After that, they branched off into the other cities, most of them from the railroad. Wahpeton has many old attractions, such as the carousel in the zoo, which was built in 1926.
The state capital of North Dakota was established in 1872. It wasn't named the capital until 1889, when the state was admitted to the union. The original capitol building burnt down in 1930 and was replaced with the tall tower we know today.
Jamestown is the ninth largest city and the seventh oldest city in North Dakota. If you want to check out some history there, a great attraction to visit is the Frontier Village, which is part of the Buffalo Museum. They moved and restored old buildings to replicate what a town in North Dakota would have looked like in the 1800s, providing a look into the state's history as if you were actually there.
8. Valley City
The City of Bridges was an important railroad town in the late 1800s. It was actually originally called Worthington until the railroad reached it and changed the name when it was officially founded in 1874. The beautiful bridges in the town hold a lot of history on their own - some of them were constantly guarded by soldiers during war time to protect the trains carrying valuable supplies for the army.
Which cities have you been to? What other older cities would you recommend visiting for their histories?