History of Binford

Binford was named in honor of RAY BINFORD, an attorney from Charles City, Iowa, who was employed by the D. S. B. Johnson Land Company.  He operated the first store in partnership with OSCAR GREENBAUM.  Originally the Binford town site was a flax field, sometimes called "Blooming Prairie, owned by a pioneer homesteader, GABRIEL GABRIELSON.  The Johnson Land Company purchased his claim and in 1899, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, having obtained right of way, extended their tracks through Binford.

In the fall of 1899 a lumberyard and a store were erected.  The Maurer Hotel was built in 1900, and in 1901 the first elevator was built.  In 1902 the First State Bank was organized, and in 1903, a local newspaper "The Binford Times" published by THEODORE CURRY began its existence.  Some of the business firms established from 1899 to 1906 were the Greenland Hardware Company (later known as Greenland and Pritz) a drug store, a meat market, two general stores, the Alfson Brothers' Hardware Store (which later became known as Hammer & Thinglestad Hardware), a restaurant, two pool-hall bowling alleys and a harness and shoe repair shop.  Two livery stables also served the area.

The blacksmith shop was especially essential business in the early day community, and the first blacksmith shop was opened by a MIKE BARABOO. OLAF QUAM, who later moved to Pekin, was also an early day blacksmith.  Others who served in this capacity were Martin Nelson, Ole Swenson and Fred Wallin.  CLINT WILSON operated the first dray line, and later it was taken over by Frank Rice.  Fred King was the first Standard Oil dealer in Binford, and for the first few years, he delivered oil from a horse-drawn tank.

The First National Bank of Binford was organized by Congressman J. H. SINCLAIR in June of 1906 and it became the First State Bank managed by L. A. Sayer of Cooperstown in 1954.  At the present time it is operated as the Binford station of the F&M Bank of Cooperstown.

Binford's first and only doctor was Dr. J. R. Truscott who arrived in 1902 and served continuously until his retirement in the 1950's.  For a brief period of time, DR. EMIL RINGLEE, a dentist, established an office and practiced in the 1920's.

Just after the turn of the century, another hotel known as the West Hotel was built by NELS NESS, but before long it ceased operating as a hotel and served as living quarters for various families as they moved into the community.  Later, as the automobile came into use, it was converted into a garage, and about the year 1921 it was purchased by JACK MOORE who razed it and built the brick building that is now the Edlund Motor Company.

The Binford School was built in 1908 after classes had been held in a small wooden structure for several years.

Its first high school graduation exercises were held in the spring of 1920.  In 1951 a gymnasium was built.  In the late fifties and early sixties the school district was reorganized to include the Townships of Addie, Bryan, Clearfield, Kingsley, Pilot Mound, Willow, and Rosendal.  A new elementary wing, library, offices, kitchen, cafeteria and band room was added to the older structure.

In 1915 the town established its own power plant, which continued in operation until it was sold to the Otter Tail Power Company in the late twenties.

Binford was incorporated as a village in April of 1906, so will be observing its 70th Anniversary the same year as our nation celebrates its bi-centennial.  As we recall the past, we will look to the future with the hope that our town will continue its good way of life for generations to come.

Many changes have come with the passing years.  Fire destroyed the two general stores, three elevators and two other buildings along Main Street.  The railway that brought the outside world to the community has discontinued into express and passenger service (postal service is now furnished by trucks.)  The oldest landmark, the Maurer Hotel, is being torn down at the present time, and the meat market was razed in 1975.  On the plus side, however, the Farmers Union has erected a cooperative on the site of Buccheit-Bakken store, and a Farmers Union Co-op has been in operation for several years.  A modern locker plant and meat market occupies the site of the old Ringlee & Sons store, and the welding shop built by Arne Goplen and bought recently by Rick Barclay.  The Trinity Lutheran church, which was built in 1907, was torn down several years ago and a beautiful new building replaces it.  The Lutheran Free Church also built an addition and modernized their facility.  Several new homes have been built in recent years and older homes remodeled.

Communication has been provided by the Griggs County Telephone Company since the early nineteen hundreds, and the news of the town was published in the Binford Times by Carl ("Irish") Peterson, after its purchase from the original owner, Theodore Curry.  Our news is published at the present time by the Sentinel Courier of Cooperstown.

Binford has always had a volunteer fire department and a new fire hall was built on the site of the Nelson Blacksmith shop.  Then, too, in recent years water and sewer plants have been installed and several of the streets have been hard-surfaced.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 15

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