The Burg was Jumping

"The tingling of the scratch awl, the song of the handsaw and the click, click of dozen hammers about town" was music to the ears of the early arrivals in the new town of Cooperstown in January of 1883. 

By March the Courier further reported: "In time to come, ‘how our little town grew in the first two months of 1883' will always be a pardonable theme.  The building boom continues with an almost deafening racket."

Later, "The way newcomers have been pouring into town these days is a caution."

April 6: "The frames for six business places have risen from the face of the earth this week in Cooperstown, to say nothing of numerous dwellings.  There is happiness in life when one can see things jump as in this burg.  The way things hum about town is simply grand."

The first train did not reach Cooperstown until August 27, 1883.  Building materials for the earlier construction were hauled in by mule freight or ox teams ("steered" in, as the phrase went).

Cooperstown was born in 1882, when Bonanza farmer R.C. Cooper hired surveyors to plat a town in his wheat field on Section 24-146-59.  The plat was filed October 26, 1882.  Town and Township were named Cooperstown, after the founder.

The energetic Mr. Cooper foresaw the rapid settlement of the area, and set about establishing a town to serve the needs of the settlers, where they could sell their wheat and buy supplies.

Among the necessities were a branch line railroad, stores, a newspaper to advertise the area and attract more settlers, roads, and a county seat.

Cooper, who was a county commissioner, had a part in getting a bridge built across the Sheyenne River at about the present site of the Highway 200 Bridge.  The first bridge was higher than grade level, and had crossplanks on the incline leading up to the bridge to give horses a footing.  A road was built (early roads were considered smooth enough if a load of grain could be hauled over them without bouncing the grain over the sides of the wagon.)

How Cooperstown became the county seat and built a courthouse is told elsewhere.

The little boomtown grew with considerable help from its founder.

Mr. Cooper either financed or helped arrange financing for a good many of the early business establishments in Cooperstown.

By the end of 1884 the town had 36 business places, a schoolhouse, and an unknown number of houses.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 26

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