The Fire of 1900

About the time the young town was developed, it was hit by the biggest disaster in its history. On April 20, 1900, the entire business section of the town was swept away by a tremendous fire that, in the course of but two hours, consumed every business structure in the village with the exception of Christ Buck's little office building, one elevator and the mill.

At the time of the fire, which started at the rear of the Flaten Drug, a strong south wind was blowing spreading and fanning the flames so fast that people had all they could do to vacate the buildings so that very little was saved. Mrs. Julius Bjornson and Mrs. Jacob Lindal, who lived in an apartment over Field's Store (where the bank now stands), perished in the fire. Many homes were also destroyed in the fire. People moved into the Methodist Church (now located in the city park) until their homes could be rebuilt.

A large cistern at the corner between the present site of the Edinburg Superette and the vacant lot south of the new fire hall (where the hotel was located) was supposed to serve as fire protection. It was inaccessible because of the rapid spread of the fire.

The economic loss was enormous. Yet, even before the ruins had ceased smoking, mass meetings were called, the situation discussed and a decision reached to rebuild the town. In a year's time almost every business place was rebuilt and Edinburg emerged from its supreme test in a more up-to-date shape, with bigger and better structures and a better street system than they had ever hoped for.

Cordelia's Store, built by Mr. Barsness, was one of the first buildings to be erected after the fire. This was rented by Anton Swensrud for a confectionery store and bowling alley.

About 1910 Christian Buck was living at the hotel. One day a stranger came to the hotel. This man was insane and as Buck came out of his upstairs room, the man shot and killed him. Christian Buck was an honest, helpful man who was loved by everyone. He is buried in the southwest corner of the Edinburg Cemetery.

Some of the other businesses built after the fire were: the Merchant's Hotel; N.H. Johnston, Confectionery and Restaurant; McEwan, Dougherty & Shuley, farm machinery and hardware; Duncan & Leslie; Edinburg Roller Mills; W.H. Murphy, Livery - Feed & Stables; John H. Sundvor, General Merchandise Store; J.I. Coffey, Clothing Store; J. Thomasson, Edinburg Meat Market; Skjold and Goodman, Ladies Clothing Store; Dr. David Bell, Physician and Surgeon (his office was over the State Bank Building); The State Bank of Edinburg; and The Merchants Bank of Edinburg.

Lighting presented a problem to the early pioneers. Candles, kerosene lamps and gas lighting were all used in homes and buildings. Gasoline lamps were later provided for street lighting. Lob Johnson had charge of the street lamps in Edinburg. Some farm homes and business places were lighted by Delco plants. In 1919 Clarence Bjorneby installed a 110 volt D.C. plant consisting of a steam threshing engine using lignite coal for fuel and a dynamo for generating electricity. Later it was replaced with a diesel powered motor. The plant was located in the garage built by Henning Gunhus. Steve Christianson was in charge of the plant until the Otter Tail Power Co. built into Edinburg in 1926. The R.E.A., with their plant located in Grand Forks, started to build their lines to serve the rural community adjacent to Edinburg about 1942. A few farms were energized then; and, of course, now in 1982, 100 percent of the farms in the rural districts are electrified.

In 1937 a WPA project to build the City Hall was started. It was sponsored through the village of Edinburg to be operated by the Community Club. The Community Club raised $1,200 for the building, the town gave $1,000 and $6,000 came from personal donations. The hall was completed in 1938 and was dedicated October 18, 1939, with Governor John Moses and Thomas H. Moodie, State WPA Administrator, present.

There have been six additions to the Edinburg townsite. Dr. Flaten's addition was platted by Dr.

A. A. Flaten June 8, 1898; Grant's addition, May 5, 1906; Mooney and McHugh's addition, June 21, 1910; Gire addition in 1956; Peterson addition in 1970; and Loe's first addition November 29, 1977.

In 1956, ND State Highway No. 32, that passes through Edinburg, was paved. The village board, with help from public spirited business men, paved the streets of the main business section of town. The same year, 1956, the Sewer Improvement District was constructed at an approximate cost of $72,000. KBM & Assoc. were the engineers. Joe Mayo & Sons, Cavalier, and Koenig Bros. of Webster, SD were the main contractors. Also in 1956 the old jail and fire hall was demolished and a new fire hall built.

Approximately 4 a.m. Good Friday morning, April 16, 1976, Edinburg suffered another fire. Marlin's TV was the first business to burn; it then spread to the Edinburg, Inn, and finally to Ron's Hartz Store. The Edinburg Fire Department, assisted by several fire departments from neighboring towns, was unable to save any of the three "south side" mainstreet business places. The weekend of July 2, 1976, Edinburg celebrated the Bicentennial of our country. Parades, sports, antique and other displays, afternoon tea, evening program, all faith Sunday church service, park picnic, speakers, etc. filled the weekend. An afternoon program consisted of the dedication of –a stone plaque at the old Edinburgh site. This area is now a part of the late Herman and Hilda Brevik farm.

The city has a fine baseball diamond and tennis court. The city also boasts of a new district fire hall which was built in 1975.

Edinburg received curb, gutter and paved streets in 1978. The cost was approximately $320,819. KBM & Assoc. were engineers for the project. Prime contractors were Mayo Bros. of Cavalier. Subcontractors were Border - States from Fargo, ND, and Olafson Bros. of Edinburg.

Edinburg joined Consolidated Landfill Limited in 1978. Seven towns made up the organization: Edinburg, Crystal, Fordville, Hoople, Lankin, Park River and Pisek. Garbage is picked up on a weekly basis.