Crookston, Minnesota

Crookston is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Polk County. Its population was estimated at 7,727 in 2007. It is part of the "Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area" or "Greater Grand Forks".

Crookston is the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston. Since Crookston is close to the larger city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, many people who live in Crookston commute to jobs in the Grand Forks area.

Media-wise, KROX 1260 AM is Crookston's only local radio station. The local newspaper is the Crookston Daily Times. Most of the media in Crookston comes from nearby Grand Forks.


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 "Treaty of Old Crossing" of 1863 and the "Treaty of Old Crossing" of 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 British Canada as a result of the boundary settlement in the Treaty of 1818.

The area in which Crookston is located was likely traversed by trappers and traders including Ojibwa (or Chippewa) and Sioux Indians, Metis, and other mixed-race people as well as white men incidental to the fur trade between 1790 and 1870.


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 begin 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. Still, the city is maintaining its population, which is better than most rural communities have been able to do.


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 like wheat and other crops like sugar beets and potatoes grow well in the immediate 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 lately. 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.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.9 square miles (12.8 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 8,192 people, 3,078 households, and 1,819 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,658.8 people per square mile (640.3/km²). There were 3,382 housing units at an average density of 684.8/sq mi (264.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.5% White, 0.50% African American, 1.54% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.18% of the population.

There were 3,078 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 14.9% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,609, and the median income for a family was $44,157. Males had a median income of $30,564 versus $21,021 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,219. About 7.5% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 14.7% of those age 65 or over.


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, then became a two-year college, and has since become a four-year institution with a full college curriculum.

Crookston is also home to Crookston High School, home of the Pirates. The high school building was built in 1997. Students from the neighboring towns of Euclid, Gentilly, and Mentor also attend school at Crookston High School. The district is Minnesota school district #593 and enrolls approximately 1,600 students K-12.

Prior to the new high school's construction, the district's high school was Central High School located in downtown Crookston. The last graduating class from Crookston Central was 1997. Central High School had been in operation since 1913.

As well in Crookston are a few private elementary schools. Cathedral Elementary is the Catholic private school (and was also formerly a high school called Mt. Saint Benedict). Our Savior's is the Lutheran private school. And Bible Baptist runs a small Baptist private school.

Notable people

  • Wes Westrum played minor league baseball in Crookston. A boyhood resident of nearby Clearbrook, he later went on to star for the New York Giants.
  • Tim Madigan grew up in Crookston and graduated from Central High School. Since, he has written several popular books including one about his friendship with Fred Rogers. He now lives in the Dallas area.
  • Alyson Gilbert grew up in Crookston and graduated from Crookston Central High School in 1997. She has appeared on Nashville Star (a reality show on NBC for future country music stars).


  • Crookston is home to the Grand Theater. This facility is the oldest continuously operating movie theater in the United States. It was originally an opera house and played host to legendary entertainers like author Mark Twain and early film actress Mary Pickford.
  • In 1935, Charles Lindbergh paid a visit to Crookston.


External links

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