Monday, May 03, 2010

Interapolis: City That Never Was

Map from View from Inside the Portcullis: A History of Emerson Customs and General Area, by Elmer McClelland (1992)

I recently posted about a very real city that is now long gone called Huron City. That post drew responses that revealed to me that there was a proposed 'twin' to Huron City, a town that never was, called Interapolis...
A. W. Stiles, connected with the U. S. Land Office in Washington, D.C., walked up the street to take in Hallock the other day while the train stopped. Mr. Stiles is one of the pioneers of this country. He ran the first settler [sic] store at Fort Pembina, establishing it in 1871, the year the fort was built. He also started the townsite of Interapolis, located between St. Vincent and Emerson, in this county, but which never amounted to much. [From Kittson County Enterprise, July 1894]
Since receiving a copy of the above-referenced book recently from Elmer McClelland (cousin of James McClelland, friend of this blog), I have since come to find out that the term I had coined for the town was already coined by him, i.e., the 'city that never was'...great minds think alike, I guess! Anyways, Elmer's piece from the book has this to say about Interapolis:
This town or city site was actually planned, with certain streets and avenues named. It was to have been on the east side of the Red River immediately south of the International Boundary - south of Emerson, Manitoba and due west of Noyes, Minnesota. Its name was listed as "Interapolis". To pinpoint exactly its mythical location, glance off to the south as you leave Emerson on Highway 75 and proceed westerly towards the Highway 75 bridge. The town or city that never materialized would have been about 200 yards to the south - at least, its most northwesterly corner would have appeared there, if all had gone as planned. This writer gained photocopies of the planned city from the Hallock, Minnesota deeds office. These copies show that Mr. & Mrs. Albert Stiles filed the plan on September 9, 1882. The office land description is as follows: North half of the South East Section 26 - Township 164, Range 51, in St. Vincent Township of Kittson County, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Mr. Stiles had arrived in the area to become sutler at Fort Pembina and probably envisioned great possibilities for his new city. The plan covered 62 blocks and the streets and avenues were named: International Avenue, Stiles Avenue, Manitoba Avenue, Missouri Avenue, Irvine Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, River Street, Wilson Street, West Lynne Street, and First to Fifth Streets. There was also a proposed ferry and steamboat landing site on the Red River.

Alas, not a building was ever to grace this proposed town. The plan remains in the Hallock deeds office and the land is used as prime agricultural land at this writing.
I can attest to that last statement. When I was growing up, I had horses as a teenager. At that time, Harvey Le Mesurier's old place was being lived in by Reuben and Gloria Ohmann and their family, and I was best friends with their daughter Kathy. The place was north of my parents, who lived in one of the most northern points of St. Vincent, by about a mile. Right north of the Ohmanns was where Interapolis would have been. Kathy and I used to ride our horses there quite often, and I always noticed it was a very isolated area, peaceful, with one of the only true hills around, believe it or not, quite a dip for our flat-as-a-pancake area, which was fun to run up and down on at a canter!