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History down every street

Ponsford was named after Orville Ponsford, a principal of the Episcopal mission school in Ponsford from 1890-91. The government wished to locate a post office at Ponsford, and Orville Ponsford and J.W. Nunn circulated petitions, asking to name it Pine Point. There was already a post office in Minnesota under that name, so it was denied. Petitioners submitted a list of names, and with Ponsford being at the top of the list, it became the name of the city. The White Earth reservation was completely opened to settlement in 1907.


Soon after the White Earth Indian Reservation was established, the city of Frazee was born. Named for Randolph Frazee, who came to the area in 1872, the town had previously been called Detroit (May 27, 1867) and then Third Crossing, until being named Frazee in 1873. Three years after the Northern Pacific Railroad was built, the nearest train station was Hobert, a mile on the other side of the Otter Tail River from Frazee. After his sawmill purchase in 1872, R.L. Frazee purchased much of the land around it and formed the town of Frazee. Next, Frazee lobbied the railroad to have the depot at Hobert moved to Frazee. On Oct. 25, 1874, the depot building was loaded onto two rail cars and brought to Frazee.


Around 1902, Shoreham was a bustling area, known for its lakes and resorts. At the end of Washington Avenue, on Detroit Lake, people would board Lady of the Lakes. Boats carried passengers, mail and other cargo to the Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie area. Boats entered Muskrat Lake at the end of the Lake Sallie end of channel, traveled through Dunton Locks and dropped 6-7 feet to Lake Sallie level from Detroit. John West was a major player in the growth of the Shoreham area. He owned and operated the Pelican Valley Navigation Co. waterway, which ran through Shoreham, Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie.


Callaway was named for William Callaway, general passenger agent of the Soo Line Railroad. The town was first called Baxter, but was later changed because there was already a Baxter in Minnesota. On July 4, 1904, the railroad reached Callaway.

Detroit Lakes

Melvin Tyler came to the area in 1870 because he was impressed with the land around the Pelican River. He built a log cabin north of the railroad tracks, which is where the Industrial Park is now located. The Union Pacific Railroad came by his house, and travelers would use his log cabin as a hotel. A post office and meeting area were later added to the building. The area became known as Tylertown. It was in 1871 that George Johnston arrived, staked his claim on the south side of the tracks and in 1872, named the area Detroit, after the lake. By 1880, all of the Tylertown settlers had moved to the new area and nothing but the rundown original cabin remained of Tylertown. The "Lakes" part was added because of the confusion it caused with Detroit, Mich.

Lake Park

When Thomas Canfield came through what is now Lake Park, scouting a route for the railroad, he and his men arrived for lunch on the shores of Lake Flora. That is where they met Jonas Erickson. Erickson had purchased a plot of land and was asked to sell it for a townsite. He set a high price of $3,000, thinking it would never sell, but, it did. The first resident to arrive in the area, then called Liberty Township, was in April of 1870. A couple years later, a telegraph station was erected and was called High Siding. By 1872, the railroad station was established and called Lakeside. R.H. Abraham was appointed the first postmaster, with the post office given the name Loring. In 1876, under the suggestion of Fletcher Hawley, the city was renamed, merging Loring, Liberty and Lakeside into Lake Park. On Feb. 25, 1881, Lake Park was incorporated as a village.


Ogema was incorporated in 1907, after the Soo Line reached the area. Theodore Thoennes was the first postmaster, and William Uran was elected as the first president of the village council. Ogema means "chief" in Chippewa, and it was known as buffalo country, with early settlers claiming they found buffalo bones when they broke sod. After 1870, buffalo stopped coming to the Ogema area. Many of Becker County's largest farms were located around Ogema and Waubun.


The village of Audubon started in 1872, with a hotel and the Northern Pacific Railroad land office. In August of 1871, an official of the railroad, John Audubon, came through on a tour. Audubon was an American ornithologist, a painter of birds. When the town was organized later, in his honor, the streets were named after birds such as Robin, Plover, Martin, Lark, Hawk, Falcon and more.