Mardell

Located in and named for a MARvelous DELL in the valley of the Sheyenne River, the new town was well situated and appeared to have bright prospects.  The founders looked for great things to come, and expected that the Great Northern railway would extend the line out from Hope.

Richard Sherman and George Ellsbury were the promoters of Mardell.  The plat, filed July 30, 1882, showed eight streets running east and west and four avenues running north and south.

The advantages of this townsite, both real and imaginary, were widely advertised by means of a boom map issued and scattered broadcast by Mr. Ellsbury in which Mardell was shown as a great railway center.

H. H. Wassem put in the first store building.  John Wamberg and Sam Axdahl followed with a dry goods store in which there was a drugstore, Julius Stevens and Anton Enger with a hardware store and Mr. Samuel Homme a blacksmith shop.  Meat was furnished by Benjamin Upton and Dubois Newell, machinery by Andrew Johnson.  Ole Serumgard and Frank Axtell entered into land business, a town lot was purchased by the Nelson school district and a schoolhouse erected.  No saloons were ever allowed.  A 24-room hotel was erected by the Townsite Company with Martin Robinson chosen manager.  Here accommodations were provided for home seekers going north and west, for Dr. Virgo whose office was under its roof, and for others who were not otherwise provided for.  Mardell post office, on the mail route from Tower City to Lee, was established April 3, 1882 with Dr. Theodore F. Kerr as postmaster.

When it became apparent that the railroad would never materialize, the inhabitants prepared to leave.  The buildings were torn down for the lumber or moved.  The owners left, one by one, many of them to establish businesses in Cooperstown or Hope.

In 1885, the town lots were sold for taxes.

Information about Mardell is limited but the Courier carried an account of the big social event of Mardell's existence, the Washington's Birthday party at the Park Avenue Hotel (also called the Palace), February 22, 1883.

According to advance advertising, "Each gentleman is expected to bring one lady, at least, if possible, and to provide himself with dancing slippers, as none will be admitted to the dancing hall unless so provided.  Good music will be in attendance.  General invitation extended, tickets to dancing hall, including supper, $2.50."

The Courier commented:

"The Grand Party at Mardell on the 22nd inst. promises to be all that the managers could wish.  Extraordinary efforts on the part of the proprietor of the Park Hotel are being made to secure satisfaction to all who attend.  It will be one of the most enjoyable events ever held in North Dakota.  Arrangements have been made to secure the presence of all the ladies in the country round, so that gentlemen from a distance who find it impractical to secure partners to accompany them from home need not stay away on that account."

"In case of a severe blizzard preventing the gathering of the party, it will be postponed one week without further postponement.  Those wishing private rooms should secure them in advance."

The day after the party, the Courier reported:

"Just as we are going to press in comes Al Shue with a whole stack of eulogies for the management of the Washington Party at Mardell, which was a grand social success.  He says the bon ton of Hope were all there, and for the courteousness extended to the Cooperstown lads, who were unable to take partners, they are deserved of much praise."

Mardell's location is marked by a sign provided by the Griggs County Historical Society.  It is about two miles north of Highway 200, on the river road east of the bridge.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 12

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