Friday, September 28, 2018

1907 St. Vincent Main Street

The carriage looks suspiciously like our 'Mystery Man' again!  Could it be?!
Source:  Digital Horizons, State Historical Society of North Dakota, via Pembina Historical Society
This shows the main street in St. Vincent, Minn. in 1907. Many buildings line the street and electric lines are visible. Notice the street is unpaved and there are wooden sidewalks present.

This street leads down to the river where it curves to the north for a short way, to where the ferry crossing is that takes people, wagons, etc. over to Pembina on the Red River. At the far end, where years later a bridge will be, you can make out buildings. Down in that area, at this time, is an elevator and a brewery, among other businesses.

St. Vincent Engine No. 1,  on display during the 155th Town Reunion in 2012
The firehall, its bell tower seen on the left (south side) of the street, is new, just built in 1903, housing a new fire engine, St. Vincent Engine No. 1! Directly behind the horse carriage on the right , behind the electric light post, is a short awning. That is the St. Vincent Bank. The larger awning to the right is over the entrance to the Nelson Green store. That same lot is where the Valley Community Church (later the St. Vincent EFC) was located.

Out of view, on the left, is the railway depot, platform, and tracks, which go south of the firehall running east/west. At one point, the tracks also went down to the river and curved around to the north, where the plans had been to build a railway bridge. Unfortunately, that never happened and that change significantly impacted St. Vincent's growth. Those tracks were later removed, and the rails into St. Vincent dead-ended in town. For over 70 years, St. Vincent had freight and passenger service as a sort of consolation prize, but it was ultimately doomed. For its first 30 years or so, it served an important role in bringing thousands - yes, thousands according to many newspaper articles - of settlers north and west, on the railroad. Most did not stay in our area, but only passed through.

In 1907, the town was already quieting down, but still a busy small town around 300 population. Right across the river, its counterpart and neighbor - and in the past, part of the same territory - was Pembina, around 600 or so at this time. So the 'twin city' area has a lively community of citizens, schools, churches, businesses, and surrounding farms. A great place to live, work, and raise families...