66 1st St. S. - NAPA Store / Ralph Lynde Auto

Ellendale - Tour of the Core City

66 1st St. S. - NAPA Store / Ralph Lynde Auto

Ellendale, North Dakota 58436, United States

Created By: Coleman Memorial Museum


66 1st St. S. - NAPA Store / Ralph Lynde Auto

For many decades, the Lynde name in Ellendale was associated with both medical practice and automobiles.

Immediately after he earned his degree at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Roy Lynde began his 50-plus year medial practice in Ellendale, working out of a small office in the top of the First National Bank building (now Starion). Shortly afterward, he and his brother Guy built a small garage on Railroad Avenue just east of here, on the northwest corner of what is now Harvest Gardens. The slant-roofed garage, which was not much larger than a shack, advertised “Ford Autos” on the north and the south side.

In the earliest days of the auto revolution, there was really no such thing as full-service car dealers. For one thing, cars in the early days were so simple then that buggy shops and bicycle mechanics could usually repair them. Little advanced machinery was needed.

And cars were not hard to get in Ellendale. Anyone with the money could order a Model T (or virtually any other make) by contacting a local agent who would handle the payment and make an order to the manufacturer, who would ship the car out by rail, usually in a wooden crate for assembly. Around 1933 a local newspaper editor boasted that virtually any make or model of car was available through Ellendale agents.

Sometime after 1914, Roy and Guy built a new shop on the vacant lot where this building now stands. They conducted their business from there until 1923, when their brother Ralph Lynde bought them out. Ralph proceeded to expand the garage into the building as it stands today. It was of the town’s largest structures. Ralph and his son continued to sell Fords for many years, and later they held the local Studebaker franchise. They did mechanical work, sold gasoline along with Shell and Pure Oil products, and garaged cars for local owners in their basement.

Meanwhile, Roy and Guy did not give up their ambitions in the automotive business. In 1926, they completed an even larger structure on north Main Street, at the present location of the Sanford Clinic. Details about this building can be seen later on this tour.

In December 1957 the Farmers Union Oil Company purchased the Ralph Lynde and Son Petroleum facilities, which included the bulk storage tanks, service station pumps and underground tanks, a truck tank, lube oil distribution containers and inventory. Walter A. Smith, a long time employee of the Lynde business, would continue delivering fuel for the Farmers Union Oil Company.

Today the building houses the NAPA auto parts store, and Farmer’s Union Insurance. A large apartment is located in the top floor.

(Some information here is from the Ellendale 125th, p. 34-35)

This point of interest is part of the tour: Ellendale - Tour of the Core City


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