The Bonanza Days of Bonanzaville

Explore the history of bonanza farming in the Red River Valley and the impact bonanza farming had on small-town life.

The Bonanza Days of Bonanzaville

Created By: North Dakota State University

Tour Information

Beginning in the 1870s, bonanza farming revolutionized the landscape of and life in the Red River Valley. This agricultural craze brought new people, jobs, profits, and technological advancement to the area and impacted many facets of rural community life. Take this tour if you are interested in hearing more on the days of bonanza farms and this industry's impact on community life in the Red River Valley.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Bonanza farming intro

From the 1870s through the 1920s bonanza farms dominated the Red River Valley. These large, wheat-growing farms each covered thousands of acres and brought rapid development and change to all aspects of life in the Red River Valley. The Nor... Read more
Trangsrud Elevator

Wheat harvested on bonanza farms would be stored in elevators like this one built in the early 1900s by Amund Trangsrud and his son, Henry. It originally was located near Kindred, MN and was first just a small granary. Later, a drive-throug... Read more
Embden Depot and Norther Pacific Train

The grain harvested on bonanza farms would then be taken to flour mills like those in Minneapolis, or as the postcard above shows—Kindred, ND. The most efficient form of transport to do so was by train, like the Northern Pacific locomotiv... Read more
Horse-Drawn Vehicles Building

In the Horse-Drawn Building you can view a number of pieces of  equipment necessary to operate a bonanza farm. Though the industrial revolution had begun by this time, much of the equipment was still reliant on horsepower, like the threshe... Read more
Furnberg Store

General stores like the Furnberg Store were the one-stop shop in the 19th century. They sold everything from milk and foodstuffs to machinery and tools, to household goods and clothing. In addition to selling this ‘general’ merchandise ... Read more
Land Office Bank

In the Land Office Bank, settlers could file the claims to get their property through the Homestead Act of 1862. When the Northern Pacific Railroad planned its route through the Dakota Territory, it bought thousands of acres, which the comp... Read more
Checkered Years House

The Checkered Years House offers us a peek into daily life on a bonanza farm in more ways than one. The house was built in the 1870s or 1880s on a bonanza farm in Mapleton Township. In 1882 Walter Woodward moved into this house with his mot... Read more
Houston Mansion

While the Checkered Years House belonged to the manager of a bonanza farm, the Houston Mansion belonged to the owner of a bonanza farm, David Houston who built the house in 1886 in Hunter, ND. Houston had moved to Hunter in 1879, and after ... Read more
Mourn Agricultural Museum

In the Mourn Agricultural Building, you will find more examples of equipment used on bonanza farms, like the thresher and hay baler pictured. There are also examples of later equipment that followed, like the red thresher machine made about... Read more


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