Skip to main content

The Immigration Boom of 1898

Korslien Family

The Korsliens were one of the many families that immigrated to northwestern North Dakota during the boom.

Progressivism alone, however, was not sufficient to bring MSNS into existence; equally important was the immigration boom that occurred during this same era.

By 1898 the nation had begun to recover from its economic recession, and the economy began to soar, beginning a considerable spike in overseas immigration that would last for a little under two decades. North Dakota, boasting a large availability of farm land, attracted many of these immigrants, especially Norwegians and German-Russians.

 North Dakota did not only attract foreign immigrants, however. Many settlers also came from within the nation, looking to either profit from land speculation or settle themselves. By 1910, nearly two-thirds of the population of North Dakota had been born outside the state; nearing the end of the boom in 1915, the settler population was upwards of 250,000.




Material Yard for Great Northern

The extensive construction of railways across North Dakota encouraged increasing immigration.  The Great Northern Railway, established by James J. Hill, was especially important for the settlement of the northwestern portion of the state.


A major boon to this process was the $100,000,000 investment of railroad companies in the construction of 2,564 miles of railroad network.  This almost doubled the track mileage in North Dakota, and improved the connection of North Dakota to the rest of the nation by increasing the ease of access for both people and goods.