Wednesday, March 07, 2007

WPA Tours of 1938: Noyes to Hallock

From WPA's Guide To Minnesota Tour 4 (1938) - Part of the Federal Writers Project, comes this:

Section a. CANADIAN BORDER (NOYES) to MOORHEAD, 176.6 m. US 75.

At 0 m. US 75 crosses the Canadian Border, 67 miles south of Winnipeg.

NOYES, 0.1 m. (792 alt., 64 pop.), is a small village and a United States port of entry, with an almost cosmopolitan air of bustle and excitement emanating from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Offices. The American and Canadian flags flying not far apart, the trim uniforms of the officials, and the constant commotion usual to international boundaries contrast with the quiet of this remote north-woods country. A large force of railroad officials is necessary to take care of incoming and outgoing passengers and freight on both the Soo Line and the Great Northern Ry. passing through Noyes.

At 7.2 m. is the junction (L) with US 59.

HUMBOLDT, 8.2 m. (793 alt., 139 pop.), originated as a "Jim Hill town." James J. Hill, the railroad builder, owned the town site and platted it. The present name, honoring the great German naturalist, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, was a tribute from Hill to the German people, many of whom had invested in railway bonds.

The land in this vicinity is typical Red River prairie, an open expanse of gently rolling fields, broken only by farmstead windbreaks. The soil is clay and sandy loam, adapted to diversified agriculture, and so fertile that descriptions of the farms sound like Paul Bunyan legends. Records show the yield has been as high as 45 bushels of wheat or 500 bushels of potatoes to the acre, and farmers here have plowed furrows straight ahead for 7 or 8 miles without a twist or turn.

NORTHCOTE, 15.4 m., although considered a village, is administered as part of Hampden Township. The village, named for Sir Henry Stafford Northcote, English statesman and financier [NOTE: Northcote had financial interests in James J. Hill's projects], was settled chiefly by Irish and Scottish Canadians.

The Florence Farm at Northcote (open to visitors), once owned by James J. Hill, consists of about 25,000 acres (15,000 under cultivation in 1937) and is one of the largest successfully operated grain farms in the United States. The farm residence alone, built by Walter Hill in 1912, cost $49,000. Among the other structures are a powerhouse large enough for a city of 1,500, two immense silos, and two grain elevators with capacities of 55,000 bushels and 25,000 bushels respectively. Of the 15 tractors in use, 9 are equipped with Diesel engines and 6 with 10-horse-power gasoline engines. In a recent year the planted acreage of this completely mechanized farm was 3,600 acres of wheat, 4,000 acres of flax, 500 acres of rye, 2,000 acres of barley, and approximately 1,500 acres of oats.

The country along the highway between Northcote and Hallock, more rolling than that along the northernmost portion of the route, is broken by the curving branches of Two Rivers, whose banks are lined by graceful elm and ash trees.

HALLOCK, 20.4 m. (820 alt., 869 pop.), seat of Kittson County and in the area abounding with game, was named for the journalist and editor, Charles W. Hallock (1834-1917), founder of Forest and Stream magazine. In 1880 Hallock, who was a great sportsman, erected in the newly founded town a $10,000 hotel with water on every floor, bathrooms, speaking tubes, a barber shop, kennel rooms, gun rooms, and other facilities unusual in the far Northwest at that time.

Honey from more than 3,000 colonies of bees is extracted centrifugally and shipped in carload lots, some of it to European markets. Pollen carried by the bees fertilizes the sweet clover seed, and important source of revenue to the local farmers...