Cherry County NEGenWeb Project ©  2000-2011
  History of Minnechaduza Valley


By Bill Oliver

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What is in the Minnechaduza Valley, about halfway between Kilgore and Valentine? When the Freemont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroads were being built in the mid 1880s, there was a need to house government warehouses to hold supplies destined for the nearby Rosebud Reservation.

Supplies were shipped by rail and then hauled by wagon to the Native Americans on the reservation. Crookston was thus established and nicknamed the “Gateway to the Great Rosebud Reservation.”

W T Crook was the yardmaster for the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Railroad being built across Cherry County and the community took his name. The settlement began to grow drawing both ranchers and farmers.

A School District [#16] was organized the first year with a two story [frame] school house being built. A Post Office was established. Fredrick Baumgartel became Postmaster. He collected the mail brought in daily by train and distributed it.

Those who chose dairy farming soon began to ship large quantities of cream to the East via rails.

As the town and community began to grow, the first church was built south of town in 1887 by the German Lutherans. Following this shops and businesses started up and on 21 April 1890, the town filed for official incorporation. This makes it 115 years old tomorrow.

There were baseball games, wrestling matches, horse racing for the citizens to watch and participate. There were dances, movies, and firework displays to add to the entertainment. Native Americans from the reservation would come to town and camp on the outskirts. They then would perform their dances for more enjoyment.

In 1907, the German Lutheran church, south of town, was torn down and rebuilt on different land. In 1952 the church was moved to Crookston and is still being used.

In 1910 the Methodist church was built and though the building is still standing, it is no longer used. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church was built in 1917, but is no longer there.

There was a newspaper published in town, but the dates are unknown, except that a subscription in 1913 was $1.50. It was called the Crookston Herald and it is unknown if the subscription was for weekly, monthly, or yearly.

By 1914 Crookston boasted of two hardware stores, two banks, two restaurants, lumberyard, garages, a drug store, meat market, hotel, a movie theater, a grain elevator, and a saloon. The school had expanded to grades one through ten, and the population was 600.

Crookston today has their Post Office, their School, the Lutheran Church, the elevator, and a liquor store. Its population has dwindled to ninety making it a near ghost town.

This page last updated 05-2005
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