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Crookston MN Info


Early History

The area in which Crookston is located was virtually unoccupied during pre-European contact and remained little more than a hunting ground associated with the Pembina settlements until the 1860s. The land in the immediate vicinity of Crookston is not connected with any verifiable Native American or European historic events or circumstances until transfer in the Treaties of Old Crossing in 1863 and 1864. Prior to that time, the territory now included in Crookston was technically a part of Rupert's Land and Assiniboia before becoming part of the United States as a result of the boundary settlement in the Treaty of 1818.

The area in which Crookston is located was traversed by trappers and traders including Ojibwa and Lakota Indians, Metis, and other mixed-race people as well as white men between 1790 and 1870. A branch of the Red River Trails passed nearby; it was used by fur traders between the 1840s and 1870s.

The present day site of Crookston first saw settlement by non-Indian people around 1872. It was the site of a federal land office by 1876 and sited on a portion of the Great Northern Railway which began operations prior to 1880. The town was incorporated on April 1, 1879 as "Queen City." By the end of that year, the town boasted a jail, graded streets, and a few plank sidewalks. Soon, it was decided that the town needed a new name. Two factions emerged that supported two different names. One group wished to honor the town's first mayor, Captain Ellerey C. Davis, by renaming "Queen City" to "Davis." Another group picked the name Crookston to honor Colonel William Crooks, a soldier and railroad builder. The present day name was reportedly chosen by means of a coin toss.

Soon, immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany began populating Crookston. At one point, eight different railroad lines reached Crookston and the town became a center of commerce and manufacturing.

Recent history 

Crookston has not seen a major period of population growth for quite some time and the economy has suffered from increased competition from nearby Grand Forks, North Dakota. In what has been a socioeconomic marker of sorts in the US, a Wal-Mart opened in Crookston in 2007. Typical of many small towns across America, many buildings in the historic downtown area of Crookston have been abandoned as local stores have closed.


Crookston sits in the fertile Red River Valley, once a part of glacial Lake Agassiz. As Lake Agassiz receded, it left behind rich mineral deposits. This made the area around Crookston prime for agricultural uses. Grains such as wheat and other crops, including sugar beets and potatoes grow well in the area around Crookston.

Crookston has a relatively flat landscape. The Red Lake River flows through the city and makes several twists and turns (oxbows). Crookston has experienced some erosion of the riverbank. A recent minor landslide has led the city to seek a permanent solution to such problems.

U.S. Highway 2, U.S. Highway 75, Minnesota Highway 102, and Minnesota Highway 9 are four of the main routes in the community.

Crookston is the northern terminus of the Agassiz Recreational Trail, a 53-mile multi-use trail built on an abandoned railroad grade which has its southern terminus at Ulen, Minnesota.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.15 square miles.


Crookston is the location of the University of Minnesota, Crookston (a campus of the University of Minnesota system). It began as an agricultural high school before becoming a two-year college and then a four-year university.

Crookston is home to Crookston High School, home of the Pirates. Students from neighboring towns of Euclid, Gentilly, and Mentor attend Crookston High. The school district (#593) enrolls about 1,600 students in K-12.

Before the new high school was built in 1997, students attended Central High School located in downtown Crookston. Central High School had been in operation since 1913.

Private elementary schools include: Cathedral Elementary - Catholic (formerly Mt. Saint Benedict high school), Our Savior's - Lutheran, and Bible Baptist - Baptist.


Historical population
Census Pop.  
1880 1,227  
1890 3,457   181.7%
1900 5,359   55.0%
1910 7,559   41.1%
1920 6,825   −9.7%
1930 6,321   −7.4%
1940 7,161   13.3%
1950 7,352   2.7%
1960 8,546   16.2%
1970 8,312   −2.7%
1980 8,628   3.8%
1990 8,119   −5.9%
2000 8,192   0.9%
2010 7,891   −3.7%
Est. 2013 7,904   0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
2013 Estimate[3] 

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