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General Background and Geography
The City of Northwood is located in the Northwood Township of Grand Forks County in the northeastern part of the State of North Dakota. Grand Forks is 38 miles northeast of the City of Northwood, the Grand Forks Air Force Base 20 miles northeast, and the United States-Canada border 105 miles north. The City lies one-half mile south of North Dakota State Highway 15 and four miles west of Highway 18. Interstate Highway 29 bypasses the City 25 miles east.
The fertile soil found in and around the city has from its beginning made it an attractive farming area. The production of raw agricultural products on the rich farmland make the City of Northwood an important service provider of western Grand Forks County, the eastern fourth of Nelson County, and the northern fourth of Steel and Traill Counties.
In 1875 Paul C. Johnson and his wife and young daughter settled on a tract of land two miles west and one-half mile south of the present townsite near the Goose River . Mr. Johnson and other early settlers named the town after Northwood, Iowa, a departing point for early caravans bound for the Dakota territory. The first post office was established there in 1879. Johnson was commissioned as the area�s first postmaster. The post office was on a mail route between Pembina and Valley City.
Johnson shared his office space with a grocery and dry goods store run by Thomas O. Hougen. The building served as a meeting place until the present town of Northwood was settled.
In 1881, Johnson learned that a railroad was going to be built between Mayville and Larimore. He hoped the line would pass through Northwood, bringing people and trade. However, the line was planned through a tract of land two miles east and one-half mile north, a tract owned by Ole Syverson. Thomas O. Hougen later bought that land and with the help of railway surveyors, platted the present townsite.
From 1884 to 1899, Northwood saw growth and prosperity. The Hougen brothers built the first building on the townsite, a two-story building that housed a store and the post office. In 1883, the first hotel was built. The town saw the construction of a saloon, another general store, two butcher shops, and a dressmaking shop.
Many lots were sold during this time, but few buildings were built as lumber and supplies had to be shipped in from a great distance and at considerable cost. In 1884 there was a building boom of sorts. The railroad was bringing people and business. A drug and notions store, another saloon, a general store, and a real estate and loan office were built. In July the first grain elevator was built.
In 1885 J. O. Quamme, who built the first saloon, erected a permanent house for his family. Later that year, his wife would give birth to one of the first two children born in Northwood. Quamme and his wife had a daughter, Olava, and the Hougen family had a son, Gilman.
Banking had been inadequate since people first moved into the area. In 1887 the State Bank of Northwood opened. It was a branch of the Goose River Bank in Mayville, and it used the parlor of the National Hotel until a permanent building, the Northwood Trust and Safety Bank, was built in 1891.
Some other historic dates in Northwood history include the following:
*August 2, 1892 - Northwood was incorporated as a city and Thomas Hougen was named its first mayor. In 1893, O. G. Hanson was hired as the first city Marshall.
*September 12, 1899 - The town�s first emergency arose. The National Hotel caught fire and the fire spread through the entire business district, doing an estimated $200,000 in damage. The next two years saw massive rebuilding as residents decided not to leave but to start over in their new town.
Northwood has seen much growth and progress since the turn of the century.
*1902 - the Deaconess Hospital and Home Association was established.
*1906 - Northwood bought 20 acres of land for a City Park.
*1910 - A City Hall and the New Lutheran Old People�s Home were built.
*1912 saw the building of the Northwood Municipal Light Plant.
*1938 the city water works was installed.
*1958 the Northwood Park Board was created.
*1963 the old City Hall was turned into a museum.
*1965 a new sewer lift station was built
*1972 the Northwood-Hatton Refuse System was established.
*1974 the City of Northwood Planning Commission and the Municipal Airport Authority were established.
*1975 the City of Northwood formed the Planning and Zoning Commission for the purpose of developing a Master Plan. Many of the projects recommended in that plan have been completed.
*1993 the North Dakota League of Cities named Northwood City of the Year.