Erskine is a city in Polk County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 437 at the 2000 census. It is part of the 'Grand Forks- ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area'.
According to the United States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of 1.0 square miles
). 0.7 square miles (1.9 km²) of its area is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) is water.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 437 people, 203 households, and 111 families residing in the city. The population density
was 590.0 people per square mile (228.0/km²). There were 250 housing units with an average density of 130.4/km² (337.5/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 91.99% White
, 0.23% African American
, 5.49% Native American
, and 2.29% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.23% of the population. The enthnicity of Erskine residents was as follows *
· Norwegian - 48%
· German - 13%
· Swedish - 12%
· Chippewa - 4%
· American Indian tribes, specified - 4%
· Irish - 4%
· Russian - 3%
· Danish - 3%
· French (except Basque) - 2%
· Scottish - 2%
· American Indian tribes, not specified - 2%
· Italian - 1%
· English - 1%
· Scandinavian - 1%
Out of the 203 households, 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.3% were non-families. 42.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 25.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 20.4% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 26.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 84.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,771, and the median income for a family was $35,278. Males had a median income of $33,333 versus $19,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,122. About 17.3% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.8% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.
The population of Erskine was more than 800 in the 1920s. It hovered above 600 until the late 1960s, dipped to 571 (1970) and 585 (1980), and then plunged to 424 (1990), 428 (1995), and 437 (2000).
Downtown Erskine, c. 1910
Erskine's town festival is known as the Erskine Water Carnival, and is held in early June. The Erskine Fish, the concrete statue that is the world's largest Northern Pike and the town's principal tourist attraction, is located on a grassy lawn in a small park on the shore of Cameron Lake, just down the street from downtown Erskine. It is the hometown of actress and singer Jamie Foss, winner of 2004's Superstar USA. In addition, it is the center of a community of Russian Old Believers estimated at between 50 and 100 families. The Old Believers began moving to Erskine around 1998 in order to escape a farming crisis and suburban sprawl which threatened their community near Woodburn, Oregon.
Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities
The Rydell National Wildlife Refuge
is located along County Road 238 approximately 3 miles west of Erskine and 2-1/2 miles south of U.S. Highway 2. The Win-E-Mac Golf Course is locate just east of town at the intersection of Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 59. The best local resort and fishing areas are Maple Lake
, a lake near Mentor
, and Maple Bay
, as well as Union Lake and Lake Sarah
, located a few miles west. Like many other lakes in other towns, Erskine's sewage was dumped into Cameron Lake until the Clean Water Act
of 1970 forced the town to redirect its sewage to the new sewer plant near Badger Lake
. Former residents and old-timers will recall that the shores of Cameron Lake were littered with dead fish
in the old days. Today, the lake is much cleaner, and with the rising costs of lakeshore property in the area, there is an increase in development on the lakeshore.
Erskine is served by a consolidated multi-community K-12 school district known as "Win-E-Mac"
(which represents McIntosh
in addition to Erskine). The Old Believers
operate their own educational facilities for children of their faith in the former K-12 Erskine public school buildings, which were decommissioned when Win-E-Mac opened its new facilities north of Erskine along Highway 59. A vocational and technical college is located in Thief River Falls
. The nearest four-year colleges in the vicinity include a branch campus of the University of Minnesota
and Bemidji State University
, in addition to the University of North Dakota
in Grand Forks
and North Dakota State University
Telephone and Internet Service
The oldest telephone cooperative in the state, Garden Valley Telephone Company, is headquartered in Erskine and serves most of northwestern Minnesota. It was formed to provide telephone coverage to the region at a time when it was difficult to get telephone service to the area. Garden Valley Telephone Company now provides internet service, although other ISPs
also serve the area. The Erskine telephone prefix is 687, formerly Murray 7, with the area code being 218.
Erskine is home to the Erskine Echo
, a weekly newspaper which began publishing before 1900. Other available weekly newspapers include the McIntosh Times
and The 13 Towns
(published in Fosston
for the 13 townships of eastern Polk County). Area daily newspapers include the Crookston Times
), Grand Forks Herald
, North Dakota
), The Forum
, North Dakota
), The Bemidji Pioneer
), and the Star Tribune
), available via subscription or in vendor boxes.
Radio and Television
Erskine has no radio or television stations, but nearby Fosston
is home to three radio stations. Other radio and television stations from Bemidji
, Grand Forks
, Thief River Falls
, and Winnipeg
can be picked up in Erskine.
Roads and Highways
Erskine is located just west of the intersection of U.S. Highway 59
and four-lane U.S. Highway 2
, and is situated approximately 60 miles east of Interstate Highway 29
at Grand Forks, N.D., and 105 miles north of Interstate Highway 94
at Fergus Falls, Minn.
The nearest airports with commercial service are Bemidji (55 miles east), Thief River Falls (35 miles north) and Grand Forks (60 miles west). An uninstrumented grass airfield known as the Erskine Airport was in operation from 1954 until the early 1970s, but no longer exists. Nearby Fosston (12 miles east) and Crookston (20 miles west) both have private aviation airfields.
Located at the historic junction of the Great Northern Railroad
and the Soo Line Railroad
, Erskine formerly appeared prominently on many national railroad maps and atlases which omitted much larger cities and towns in the vicinity. The tracks of both lines in and near Erskine now is owned by the Minnesota Northern Railroad
, which provides connections to BNSF Railroad
(formerly the Burlington Northern Railroad
) and continues to provide freight services to sidings in and near Erskine. Erskine's freight depot, while still standing, is closed for business, and rail passenger service was discontinued many years ago.
Greyhound Bus Lines
no longer serves Erskine, but Jefferson Lines has taken over the Fargo-Minneapolis route previously served by Greyhound. The Tri-Valley Heartland Express Bus provides scheduled weekly or bi-weekly service to Crookston, Bemidji, Thief River Falls and other destinations for seniors and others on an advance reservation basis.
Business and Manufacturing
Prior to 1980, Erskine's primary function was as a service community for the local agricultural community. In the early 1900s, the town boasted four grain elevators
, an ice plant
, a lumber mill
and several blacksmith
shops. Even as late as 1980, the town businesses included a grain elevator
, a creamery
, a lumber yard
, a fuel delivery service, and several farm implement dealers, junkyards and repair shops. As family farming in the area declined, the agricultural services component has diminished as larger growers took their supply and services business to larger communities. Erskine continues as the home of Erskine Attachments, a manufacturer of snow blowers and grain drill hitches formerly known as Erskine Manufacturing Company. Other significant employers include Garden Valley Telephone Company and the Pioneer Home, a nursing home and retirement community. In 2008, Crookston
-based Agassiz Energy, LLC, announced that it had postponed indefinitely its plans for a $58.5 million ethanol
plant at the junction of the former Great Northern and Soo Line railroads, near the interchange of U.S. Routes 59