Borup, Norman County, Minnesota

Information gathered from “History of Norman County, MN  
Centennial Edition”, 1958

Borup is located in Winchester Township on Section 16. Borup was named in honor of Charles William Wolff Borup, a native of Denmark, who came to St. Paul in 1848, and established a banking house there in 1854, the first such in Minnesota.  His sons, Gustav J. and Theodore Borup, were also prominent businessmen in St. Paul.

Borup was originally two miles south of its present location.  It had only a siding, a grain warehouse, and a post office at first.  The grain buyer was Louis Bowman, who drove with horse and buggy from Ada.  The farmers would unload their grain from wagons or sleighs by carrying it into the warehouse with large size baskets.  They could haul grain only in the winter, as the roads were impassable in the summer.  Finally, one day in 1892, the settlers got together and moved the siding to where Borup is now.

The first building erected here was the south grain elevator.  Hans Olson, who came in 1891 with his wife, was one of the men who worked at the top of the elevator when it was built.   

Borup was platted by Ole Mattison and wife, January 13, 1899, in the northeast quarter of Section 16.  Another early settler was August Stilger who settled on a homestead in 1882.  The north side of Main Street in Borup is called Mattison’s Additions, and the south side is called Stilger's Additions.

In quick succession the business places and homes were built.  Peter Melberg started a general store, John Anderson, a second store, and Ben Peppel was erecting another when fire broke out in the Melberg Store and completely burned down the four buildings, their contents, and the post office which was located in the Melberg Store.  The settlers now had to walk or drive again to Ada, Glyndon, or Moorhead for their supplies.

But in a short time business places were built.  John and Hans Torske built a large general store which later changed hands several times.  In 1905 Mr. Bieton built a general store.  The depot was built in the early 1900’s with J. J. Bowen as first depot agent.

The Bank of Borup was started by E. L. Berg about 1898.  It was reorganized on April 6, 1908, with $10,000 capital, the name was changed to the Security State Bank of Borup with L. L. Larson from Iowa as cashier.  L. D. Foskett, and J. S. Northrup, both of Crookston were president and vice-president respectively.  In 1914, a brick building was erected on the site of the old hotel in the middle of Block 1.  In 1915 Larson resigned and Gilbert Kittilson became cashier.  He was followed by Mr. Richard, William Ericson, and then Andrew Midthune who was cashier for 23 years until 1952 when the bank was liquidated.

After the fire, Ole Mattison and son Oscar bought a new building from Mr. Schelnz at Wheatville, and placed it west of the bank.  Here Mattison and Martin Ballangrud set up a hardware business.  Mattison moved to Canada in 1913, and after several changes of ownership the buildings were torn down.

The building which was once Hennen’s Café was once a drug store and photograph studio.  Miller Melberg was the photographer.  Later it was the Borup Hall where community affairs were held; then it was remodeled into a restaurant and pool hall, also a barber shop for some years.  Next to this was a building put up by Hans Ballangrud about 1899 which was a meat market, then a post office, and later a movie house run by Alden Bulleyment.  Stenerson Brothers Lumber Company established a lumber yard abut 1900 which was managed at first by Ole Grina, later by Conrad Grina, Gordon Stenerson, and then Everett Bjerke.

Jo Rolle had a pool room and soft drink parlor east of the hardware store.  Ole Larson owned a blacksmith shop where Randy’s Body Shop is now.  There was a small hotel building on the site of the new bank building.  A much larger hotel called the Palace was built a block north of Torske Bros. Store in the early 1900’s.  Proprietors were Mr. & Mrs. Martin Mattison, later Mr. and Mrs. Schranz, and then Mr. and Mrs. Bert Veale. 

In the 1890’s the children of the pioneers went to a small school about two and one half miles west of Borup.  As they had to walk, it was a real hardship in winter or when it rained.  Then it was moved to a mile west of Borup, and in 1900 a two-story schoolhouse was built near the east corner of town.  This had two rooms and a hall on the first floor and two cloakrooms.  The second floor was never finished, but was used as a playroom in bad weather.  Some years later the old one room school was brought in and used as a town hall.  In 1917, the school districts around Borup consolidated and a good-sized grade and high school was built, being finished in 1919.  The old building was used as a creamery for a while, but it burned down in 1937.

The first postmaster was Swen Lindquist, who had the post office in a small building.  Later it was in different stores, until Edwin Benthagen built a new post office.  Some of the postmasters since Lindquist are, Peter Melberg, E.P. Leirness, John Torske, Mrs. Elnora Keilling, F. A. Lee, J. J. Bowen, Edwin Benthagen, Orvind Nichols, and Marjorie Roy.

In 1939 Ed Arnberg of Averill, MN, built a grocery store and locker plant but this was destroyed by fire in 1947.  Following this fire, a fire department was organized and in 1949, Carlott Mattison was made fire chief and a fire truck was bought for $300.

Borup was incorporated in 1950.


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