The railroad gradually pushed northwest from Cooperstown, and in 1899 Binford was established by the D. S. B. Johnson Land Company, which had purchased the site from Gabriel Gilbertson, the father of Ewen and Gilbert Gilbertson. George Meeker was the first depot agent stationed in Binford, and Sam Standal was the first section boss. Another agent who was in Binford for a long time was W. E. (Daddy) West. The present agent is M. H. Olafson.

The town grew rapidly and many businesses were established. The Maurers - Hi and Aunt Lizzie - had the hotel. They were in business for many years - and Aunt Lizzie played the part of "Mother" to many a person who came to Binford. The hotel changed hands several times and is now owned and operated by Mrs. Evelyn Hopley. There was a second hotel, built on the opposite side of the street, called the West Hotel, operated by Nels Ness. This building burned down, and the present garage, now owned by K. E. Edlund, was erected on the site.

Besides the hotels, there was a restaurant owned by George and Earl Stevens. Other names connected with the restaurant business are A. D. Shaw, Arndt Ronning, and George Standal, the present owner.

The first general store was operated by Binford and Greenbaum. The town was named for Mr. Binford. They operated the store for about a year and then sold out to the McKinneys. Then Ole Gunderson and Peter Idsvoog bought the store and later sold it to Ringlee and Larson, who were in business until the store burned. There is a cream station owned by George Johnson on that corner now.

A second general store was opened by Martin Knapp, who came up from Cooperstown. This store was purchased by Buchheit and Bakken. With the name of this company, these names come to mind: John Knapp, Otto Knapp, Stephen Rorvig, John Norman, Alfred and Stella Solie, and Miss Monsebrotten. This store also burned and on this site there is the Rorvig Oil Station.

The first lumber yard was the Lee Lumber Yard, and the second was the Gull River Lumber Company, whose agent was E. M. Jackson. The Gull River Company was sold to Thompson Yards; whose manager was Herman Osen. Thompson Yards sold its business to the Peavy Elevator Company. Crane Johnson had a yard in Binford, too. Their manager was Ole Helgeland.

The first hardware store was opened by Oscar Greenland and Co. This business later became Greenland Pritz and Co. The names of these people come to mind when Greenland Pritz and CO. is mentioned: Jack Herlick, Ole Bakke, Olaf Malde, Knute Rogney, Oscar Idsvoog, Theodore Kittelson, and Tenus Norswing. This concern is now the Peterson Hardware.

The second hardware store was built and managed by the Alfson brothers - Henry and Albert. They sold out to Hammer Thinglestad. This store is now owned and operated by Norman Evers.

A state bank was opened by a group from Casselton and later sold to Larson and Burseth. The First National Bank was opened with Jim Sinclair as cashier. Later Oscar Greenland became cashier, and we recall the names of Adolph Melgard, and Margaret Johnson. Emil Olson was the cashier when the bank was sold to Sayers, who have rechartered the bank as the Binford State Bank.

Since Binford is situated in a grain farming community, elevators play an important part in business life. At one time there were five elevators, but now there are two-Peavy managed by Norris Larson, and the Farmer's Union managed by Orville Skaar. Among the earliest elevators were the Monarch managed by Otto Pritz; the Great Western managed by George Hamilton; and C. E. Burgess Grain Co. managed by Fred Lewis. Other names remembered in the grain business are Olaf Knapp, Kim St. Clair, Henry Smith, Gus Evers, Carl Peterson, Ray and Roy McAule, George Boe, Frank Boe, and Ray Vogen.

The blacksmith shop was an essential business in the early community, and the first blacksmith shop was opened by Mike Baraboo. Other blacksmiths who came to mind were Olaf Quam, who later moved to Pekin; Ole Trovatten; and Martin Nelson.

The Livery Barn was also an essential business in the early days. Ludvig Amundson opened the first stable and later sold it to Ernest Amidon. Others in the Livery Business were Ole Krogfoss, T. V. Moore, J. F. VanVobrhes, Henry Peterson and Peter Gorthy.

Since horses were the means of locomotion, the harness maker was important. Those in that business were Joe Schindle and Joe Seidlinger. Oscar Bjornson is the present shoemaker and harness maker.

The dray and transfer business was especially important as coal was the main fuel and had to be delivered to every home. Fred King and Frank Rice were in that business. Those in the dray business today are Arthur Trost and George Johnson.

Later Fred King was the bulk station operator for Standard Oil Company. This post is filled by Eugene Edlund at the present time.

The "Opera House" was the entertainment center in every community. Ben Nelson built and managed the "Opera House" and had a pool hall and bowling alley in. the same building. There were many owners of this building - some of whom were Orrie Freer, Manfred Knapp, and Harold Bakke - before the I. O. O. F. bought and now use it.

Theodore Curry arrived in Binford and started the newspaper - The Binford Times. He sold out to C. E. Peterson, better known as "Irish," who edited "the Times" as it was called until it was discontinued.

Dr. J. R. Truscott came to Binford in 1902 and cared for the sick until he retired and moved to Florida to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.

George Lockett opened the drugstore and ice cream parlor. He sold out to "Andy" Anderson who later closed the business and moved to the west coast. That building is occupied by a general store owned and operated by Clarence Thompson.

Mr. Belgum came to Binford as the photographer with his equipment in a "cook car." A later photographer was Lars Newgard who was in the building next to Oscar Bjornson's Shoe Shop.

After having had school in the office of the lumber yard and in a small frame building, they built, in 1906, the red brick school we know so well. Superintendents and teachers who come to mind are Clara Greenland, Miss Lowe, Marie Norman, Henry X. Hanson, LeRoy Alfson, Miss Shelp, Miss Betts, and Frank Bixby. The present superintendent is I. C. Johnson.

Post Offices are important as meeting places as well as devices for the distribution of mail. The first Post Office in Binford was in Greenbaum's store. It has been moved several times and now occupies the last building at the south end of main street across from the garage. Postmasters and carriers who come to mind are Fred Lewis, John Knapp, Irish Peterson, Ludvig Amundson, Ole Gunderson, Elmer Krogfoss, Oscar Alm, Christ Heinsen and Knute Rogney. The present force is made up of LeRoy Anderson, postmaster, Mrs. J. Maurer, Bernard Petterson, and Edw. Moe.

Many of the houses in Binford were built by Arvid Ericson and Carl Fredrickson, stone masons; Andrew Norstrum and Gus Amundson, carpenters; Fred Cannon, plasterer; and Hans Alm, decorator.

Binford was progressive then too and so had its own light plant, which was later sold to Otter Tail Power Co. The names remembered with the mention of the light plant are Helmer Hanson, John Olson Russel, Meldor Solee, and Orrie Freer.

Baseball was the main attraction in the summer and Binford had good teams. In addition to playing the neighboring towns, they traveled by horse and buggy as far away as Pingree, New Rockford, Courtenay, Kensal, Dazey, and Rogers. Names that are mentioned in recalling these baseball games are Tenus Norswing, Oscar Greenland, Theodore Kittelson, Ray McCauley, Gus Evers, Oscar (Rabbit) Alm, Harold "Hod" Ehlers, Irish Peterson, Albert "Ding" Ringlee, Emil "Doc" Ringlee, "Tug" Carlander, "Scrappy" Graff, Frank Bessie, Albert and Henry Alfson, and Gulliver Peterson. One of the first mascots was Howard Lewis, whose father was also on the team.

Closely associated with Binford is Red Willow Lake, just eight miles northwest of town. In 1918 the Red Willow Lake Association was formed to build up and promote the resort at the lake. The present owners, Bill and Vernice Haines, have continued to improve the resort.

Source:  Cooperstown Diamond Jubilee 1882-1957 Page 54

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