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Booming in the Northwest

First Train to Minot

The first train to arrive in Minot during the late 1890s on the newly constructed Great Northern railway was critical for the transport of immigrants to the region.


The dramatic increase of North Dakota's population during the period from 1898 to 1915 was not distributed evenly across the state.  The regions that saw the greatest settlement were the northern and northwestern regions of the state, a pattern that was fundamental to the establishment of MSNS.










Minot State Normal School: History

Section from the First Annual Catalogue of State Normal School Minot in 1913 describing the establishment of the institution.

Thus, it is no coincidence that during the beginning of the boom in 1898, the first efforts for establishing a normal school in northwestern North Dakota began. The first annual catalog of the Minot State Normal School attests to this, directly attributing the school's foundation to the widespread public support of the “rapidly growing Northwest section” of North Dakota.

This was a practical step. As northwestern North Dakota's population grew, its need for accessible institutions and quality teachers grew. North Dakota's existing normal schools, however, were located on the eastern side of the state, in Valley City and Mayville.

To many individuals who sought to teach at a local level near their homes, traveling across the vast plains to attain the necessary education was not an appealing prospect.  For some, the distance from their homes created an insurmountable financial obstacle.  As time went on, many North Dakotans came to believe that an additional institution must be established in the northwestern portion of the state, and that Minot seemed to be a logical place to locate the school.