A History of Hospitality
In the heart of the rich Red River Valley of North Dakota, Hillsboro is a welcoming community with a proud history of hospitality that continues today.
First settled by Germans in 1869 and soon followed by Norwegians, the forested area along the Goose River offered early homesteaders shelter from the wild prairie. Into this wilderness came the railroad baron James J. Hill.
According to area tradition, Hill was traveling from Winnipeg to Minneapolis by dog sled in the late 1870s. He stopped at a hotel in nearby Caledonia, then the main settlement along the Goose River. The fur-clad adventurer and his “dirty dogs” were turned away.
Hill found hospitality on that “cold, stormy winter evening” farther to the west along the Goose. A widow homesteader and her children put Hill up for the night. He never forgot her hospitality or the slight from the hotel clerk, vowing that his railroad would never pass through Caledonia.
In 1880, the Great Northern Railroad, Hill’s railroad, laid track well to the west of Caledonia, about nine miles west. Where construction stopped that year, a town soon grew and was eventually named Hillsboro in honor of Hill. The Fargo to Grand Forks rail line brought settlers and visitors to the thriving and enterprising community that continues to be known for hospitality.
Home of the Traill County Historical Society
Hillsboro is the home of the Traill County Historical Society. The historical society keeps the Plummer House Museum (308 West Caledonia Avenue) and Heritage Park (6th Street Southwest and 2nd Avenue Southwest) in Hillsboro. Stop by for a visit today!