Minnesota: Polk County

Polk County (pop. 31,600) may be the most oddly shaped county in Minnesota; it is located west, south, and east of Red Lake County.

Named for President James K. Polk

Polk County is officially in the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Metropolitan Statistical Area – the 346th largest metro area (out of 366) in the country, with 98,054 people.

Grand Forks is the third largest city in North Dakota.

East Grand Forks (pop. 8,601), across the Red River from Grand Forks, is the largest city in Polk County. The entire city was evacuated in the devastating 1997 Red River flood.

Downtown East Grand Forks, 1997

The county seat of Polk County is Crookston (pop. 7,891). The downtown buildings of the Crookston Commercial Historic District are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Downtown Crookston

The former Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (1912) in Crookston has been vacant since 1990.

Neo-Gothic, with three towers

Crookston’s Grand Theatre (originally the Grand Opera House, 1911), claims to have been showing movies longer than any other theater in the country.

Showing movies since 1918

One of the University of Minnesota’s five campuses is in Crookston.

UMC has about 1,600 students.

The town of Erskine (pop. 842) has the world’s largest northern pike, on the shores of Cameron Lake.

It’s really just a concrete statue!

The town of Fertile (pop. 842) has the second highest percentage of residents of Norwegian ancestry (54.4 percent) of any town in the U.S.

Fosston (pop. 1,527) was the mythical home of the lumberjack Cordwood Pete, the younger and smaller brother of Paul Bunyan.

Cordwood Pete and his dog, Tamarack


4 comments on “Minnesota: Polk County

  1. John Dodds says:

    wow had never heard of cordwood pete. according to wikipedia, he was under 5′ and foul-tempered

  2. Kathy Kasten says:

    The most interesting one yet. I learned a lot!

  3. Parry Dodds says:

    Ben Baakegard went to UMC, Parry

  4. Mary Schlick says:

    I know that Bronco Nagurski wasn’t born here (born in Koochiching County) but I’ll bet the old timers remember when traveled with a pro basketball team touring the prairie in the ’30s. My North Dakota-born neighbor tells great stories about watching him play.

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