Twin Valley Minnesota History
The following was taken from “The Twin Valley
Community Story” prepared by committees from the Twin Valley area for
the Diamond Jubilee of Twin Valley in 1961.This was written by Mrs. M.H.
A settlement, in time to be called Twin Valley, was
begun as early as 1874 when S. B. Olson chose the site for a flour mill.
The name was derived from the fact that the valleys of the Wild Rice
River and the Mashaug Creek came together at this place. It was an ideal
location for a flour mill as the creek was only ten feet below the river
bottom and it was only necessary to cut a canal through the river bank
to get a good water fall. The mill was operated for some time before a
settlement sprang up around it.
J. F. Heiberg arrived in 1881 and worked for Mr.
Olson. Later he bought him out and in 1883 rebuilt the mill. Since the
flour mill attracted farmers it proved to be a desirable location for a
village. The first store was opened by the firm of Stortroen and Leath
in the late ‘70’s. The first post office was established in 1881 and Mr.
Stortroen was the first postmaster.
In the meantime more settlers were coming into the
region. Dr. John Froshaug, a veterinary surgeon from Norway, took a
homestead in 1878 and, as the early records state, “Doctored both man
and beast,” until his death in 1899.
The later part of June 1880 a wagon train consisting
of nine wagons arrived from the southern part of the state. Among these
were the Nils Wolds, P.O. Herreids, Peter B. Olsons, Neresons, Hans
Hanson, Christ Hanson, and Christ Olson. Several of these took
homesteads just north and east of the present site of Twin Valley, some
bought railroad land – others located in other townships. The trip took
them six weeks and they brought their worldly goods in their covered
wagons. They also brought several cows, pigs, chickens, etc.
In 1882 another group of settlers came consisting of
Mr. and Mrs. Karl Stenseth and two children, Mr. Stenseth’s mother and
three sisters-in-law. All the sisters married early settlers; Augusta
married J. F. Heiberg, Amalia married Olaf Trandum and Ovidia, Ole
Gunderson. When the village was moved to the new site, Mr. Stenseth
purchased the Halvorson store and was appointed the postmaster of
Heiberg until the post office was discontinued in 1916. He continued to
operate the store until his death in 1942 at the age of 94 years.
Mrs. Stenseth was well known as a midwife and probably
delivered more babies than an average doctor in her active life.
Various enterprises were opening up in the village in
the valley, some of which were as follows: The Thorp Bros. Store in
1882; Johnson’s boarding house in 1883; Olaf Trandum’s blacksmith shop
in 1885; Charles Hanson’s notions store and restaurant in 1886; Other
businessmen were John A. Jorgenson, harness maker; Iver Grimsrud, wagon
maker; Bernard Hanson, carpenter; Alfred Anderson arrived in 1885 and
clerked in the Thorp Store. In 1889 he was appointed local postmaster
and served in that capacity off and on for many years. Mrs. Anderson was
the former Karen Underland.
The first church in the community was organized Oct.
28, 1885. This was the Bethany Norwegian Lutheran or the Hauge Church as
it was most commonly known. Among the leaders of this church were some
of the settlers who had come with the wagon train – the Nils Wolds,
Peder Herreids, and the P. B. Olsons. Their first pastor was Rev. B.
Anderson. For a number of years they had no church building, but met in
private homes or at the school house.
Records show that the first school district in the
neighborhood was Number 37. The first school term was three months, and
was conducted in the farm home of Hans Urdahl. A school house was built
in 1883. The first teacher was Miss Nora Evans who later became Mrs.
When the railroad was extended through the present
site of Twin Valley, the village was literally moved from the old site
to the new. The present landsite of the village was the homestead of Dr.
John Froshaug, who had sold it to Mr. J. R. Holmes. Mr. Holmes platted
the ground and presented the land to the village.
The town was incorporated on August 24, 1894. Two
hundred and fifty signatures were on the original application. Charles
Hanson was elected to be the first mayor. Other village mayors up to
1900 were J. K. Weium and C. P. Lysaker.
The first business establishment was a lumber yard
founded by Wilcox Lumber Co. with Jacob Ness as the manager. Other early
business places opening up were: General stores of Thorp Bros. And
Frazee Bros.; notions store, Charles Hanson; restaurant and barber shop,
W.C. Howe; hotel and boarding house, Soren Johnson; a Cargill elevator -
all of these business places were here by the fall of 1886.
An article in a Northwest railroad magazine for Feb.
1887 states as follows: “At Twin Valley are also the beginnings of a
smart country town in two elevators, two stores and a number of
buildings and residences – all built too late in the fall to be
painted.” The station agent also reported he had shipped 102,000 bushels
of wheat from this and the next station in the month of November.
The next year P.O. Hanson established a hardware
store; Jacob Peterson, a hotel; A. T. Lee opened a restaurant; Daniel
Swenson, a general store and P. Lynne a photograph gallery. T.
Grimsrudhad moved his wagon shop and Andrew J. Berg opened a livery
barn; O. L. Aasgaard had established a farm machinery house and in the
spring of 1888 C. P. Lysaker started a blacksmith shop.
January 1, 1887, the post office was transferred to
the new site. The following is a list of postmasters who have served in
that office: O. Stortroen, 1881-84; John Halvorson, 1884-88; C.R.
Frazee, 1888-89; Alfred Anderson, 1889-94; John Bundy, 1984-95; Hans
Burgess, 1895-99; Alfred Anderson, 1899-1915; J. J. Meighen, 1915-22;
Alfred Anderson, 1922-40; and A. Elton Jones who is serving at the
present time. Two rural routes serve the surrounding territory and some
time ago the office achieved the status of second class.
The first electric plant was owned by J. F. Heiberg,
who soon after he built his roller mill, installed electric equipment.
He began furnishing light and power to the village and gradually
increased the capacity of his plant until he was serving other towns as
well. The original water works plant was established in 1905 at a cost
of $20,000 and secured its water from a well 160 ft. deep.
In 1899, Dr. Saxe J. Froshaug, son of Dr. John
Froshaug located at Twin Valley and was the first medical doctor to
serve the community. He also served for a time as county coroner and as
a county physician to care for the needy.
The Twin Valley Times, the local weekly newspaper, was
founded in 1895 by Lars Bjornson, and has been owned in succession by
Lars Bjornson, E. Gunderson, H. Solomonson, J.D. Mason, W. C. Lee, Ray
Lee, and the present owner, Morrell Lien.
The first bank of the town was the First National,
founded in 1902. The officers who opened the bank were: A. L. Hanson,
president; A. H. Froshaug, vice president; and C. E. Peterson, cashier.
The following year, 1903, The Citizens State Bank was established by E.
M. Niles, M.E. Dahl, H. C. Aamoth and others.
The Twin Valley Roller Mills were built in 1903, Mr.
August Durling was part owner and manager until in 1904, when he became
sole owner. In 1894 he was married to Bertha Bergeson.
Twin Valley continued to grow in the years to come and
some of the outstanding additions to the town are as follows:
* A fine co-operative creamery.
* A public school which was improved from time to time –the latest
addition was a large auditorium and extra classrooms.
* In 1950 the Lutheran Memorial Home for the aged was built. To this
particularly fine home a chapel has been added which is greatly enjoyed
by the residents.
* A medical center with all modern facilities was built in 1951.
* A large G.T.A. elevator was built to replace one destroyed by fire.
* The Twin Valley – Ulen Telephone Company, which serves several
surrounding towns, has added an attractive new office building.
1960 showed a big improvement in the city water
supply. A new well was dug to a depth of 242 feet. This brought in a
water flow of 185 gallons a minute. A new building was erected to house
all the apparatus, the total cost was about $15,000.
Twin Valley has many other civic improvements and is
served by trunk highways and excellent tributary roads. As is revealed
elsewhere in this issue, its religious and educational welfare has not