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Casselton, North Dakota
—  City  —
Location of Casselton, North Dakota
Coordinates: 46°54′0″N 97°12′38″W / 46.9°N 97.21056°W / 46.9; -97.21056
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Cass
 - Total 1.4 sq mi (3.7 km2)
 - Land 1.4 sq mi (3.7 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 935 ft (285 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 1,855
 - Density 1,315.5/sq mi (507.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 58012
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-12700[1]
GNIS feature ID 1028294[2]

Casselton is a city in Cass County, North Dakota in the United States. The population was 1,865 at the 2000 census.

The city is named for George Cass, a president of the Northern Pacific Railway, which established a station there in 1876. The city is a bedroom community of Fargo, which is located 20 miles east of Casselton. Casselton is the hometown of four North Dakota governors.



Casselton is located at 46°54′0″N 97°12′38″W / 46.9°N 97.21056°W / 46.9; -97.21056 (46.900028, -97.210668)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.7 km²), of which, 1.4 square miles (3.7 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (2.08%) is water.

Casselton had its origin in 1873 when the Northern Pacific Railway sent Mike Smith to plant cottonwood and willow trees in the area to serve as windbreaks along their right-of-way. When the trees grew to maturity, railroad ties were to be cut from the wood. The experiment failed for a number of reasons.

The hamlet was variously called "the Nursery", "Goose Creek" and "Swan Creek", named for the stream that meandered through the area. In 1876, the railroad established a station called Casstown, after George Cass, the railroad president. A post office was put in place in August 8, 1876 when the name Casselton was designated.

In 1874, Emil Priewe and his wife joined Mike Smith at the station. The Priewe's son, Harry, was born on March 28, 1875 in a sod shanty, as the first child born in Casselton. Others came to settle and by 1880, the town had a population of 376, according to the official census. A school was organized in 1876 and the town was incorporated as a village in 1880.

Marsh Self Binder at work on the Dalrymple Farm, 1877[4]

During the 1870s, George Cass and Peter Cheney traded their railroad stock for 10,000 acres of land near Casselton and decided to develop this acquisition as one large farm, rather than dividing the land into small tracts. They employed Oliver Dalrymple, of southern Minnesota, to head the operation. These Bonanza farms became highly successful and proved that the prairie was very suitable for agriculture.

Various means were used to attract people from afar to become farmers, tradesmen, and professionals, which resulted in Casselton's population to reach 1365 in 1885.

The Great Northern Railway had an additional influence in the growth of Casselton. Several branches radiated from the city. The railroad excavated a reservoir to supply water for its steam engines. In 1906 the railway constructed a round house and service center which operated until 1920. In the 1920s, railroad personnel were transferred to other locations, and as a result, the population of Casselton fell 285 persons between 1920 and 1930.

Casselton installed a city water and sewer system in the mid 1920s. Water was pumped from artesian wells, and stored in a standpipe which was located on the east part of town. Today, that site is used as a winter skating rink. The standpipe was 110 feet tall and looked like a gigantic culvert and remained in place until 1956.

By 1957, the Great Northern Railway no longer had a need for the Casselton reservoir, and they deeded the 73 acres of land, which encompassed that body of water, to the City of Casselton. The reservoir was developed to be used as a municipal water supply until March 1978 when the city's water started to come from the Leonard Phase of the Cass Water Users System. The reservoir area has since been developed into a recreational center with softball diamonds, tennis courts, picnic tables and the like.

The streets of Casselton have been improved by leaps and bounds. In 1927, the downtown roads were graveled. In 1930, as a WPA project, State Highway No. 18 through the city was paved. After World War II, the business district streets were paved with concrete. Since that time, all streets and avenues have been hard-topped and a modern storm sewer system was installed at the same time.

The 1996-1997 school year opened with a newly completed, nearly eight million dollar Central Cass Public School building. It replaced a three story building on the same site, that was dedicated in 1912 and costed $50,000. The school district covers nearly 400 square miles, and attracts over 800 students. Because of the continued growth, an addition to the school complex was completed in time for the 2003-2004 school year.

The most recent census figures place Casselton's population at over 1800. Because of its location in relation to the Fargo-Moorhead area, many residents prefer the "small town" environment while being employed elsewhere. Consequently, a housing development is taking place, particularly in the five segments of the Cottonwood Additions at the southern end of Casselton.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1920 1,538
1930 1,253 −18.5%
1940 1,358 8.4%
1950 1,373 1.1%
1960 1,394 1.5%
1970 1,485 6.5%
1980 1,661 11.9%
1990 1,601 −3.6%
2000 1,855 15.9%
Est. 2008 2,004 8.0%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,855 people, 702 households, and 509 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,315.5 people per square mile (508.0/km²). There were 738 housing units at an average density of 523.4/sq mi (202.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.22% White, 0.16% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.11% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.

There were 702 households out of which 40.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.0% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 106.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,259, and the median income for a family was $49,567. Males had a median income of $32,063 versus $22,614 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,248. About 2.6% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest

Casselton is home to the world's largest can pile / free standing structure. This tourist attraction was created in 1933 by Max Taubert when a Sinclair gas station occupied the lot that also included a hamburger stand. Recent can additions have raised the height to '2,745' feet with a width of 18 feet. It now eclipses the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai as the world's tallest free-standing structure. It was rescued from possible demolition in 2008 by a group of local volunteers. The volunteer group (known as the 'Volunteers for Big Cans') was headed by undisputed UFC champion / moon-pie eating champion Todd 'can I expense that' Oberholtzer. Todd Oberholtzer now resides in the base of the structure with a Chihuahua named 'Cracklin Pork Rind.'Casselton Can Pile

Casselton has been home to the Maple River Winery[1] since 2001. Tourists from all over the world visit this site of interest because of the local farm fresh fruit used to produce the wines such as rhubarb, chokecherry, apple, jalapeño, and dandelion wine.

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ Nolan, Edward W. (1983). Northern Pacific views: The railroad photography of F. Jay Haynes, 1876-1905. Helena, MT: Montana Historical Society Press. pp. 9. ISBN 091729811X.  

External links



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