About Grand Forks, North Dakota

The third largest city in the state of North Dakota and located on the western side of the Red River of the North, Grand Forks is also known as the “The Grand Cities”. Historically, the location of the city within the junction of Red River and the Red Lake River served as the trading and meeting point for the Native Americans and other early inhabitants of the city. The name of the city was derived from the word “Les Grandes Fourches”, a French word which means “The Grand Forks”. During the 1740’s, the city was an important trading post for the French explorers, traders, and fur trappers. During the time of June 15, 1870, Alexander Griggs, known as the “The Father of Grand Forks”, placed a US post office in the city as part of his expedition in the Red River. Later in 1875 Griggs adopted the area as Grand Forks and it was officially incorporated on February 22, 1881. Afterwards, the city began to grow into a much bigger community upon the arrival of two railway projects, the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway in 1880 and 1887, respectively. Today, the economy of Grand Forks continues to bloom as the local government is dynamically concerned to the economic growth of the city. The largest employers of the city are the University of North Dakota, the Grand Forks Air Base, and the Altru Health System. Among the notable personalities that lived and were born in the city are Lynn Anderson, country musician; Tom Brosseau, singer/songwriter, folk guitarist; Kam Heskin, actress; June Panic, singer/songwriter, guitarist; Alan Ritchson, actor, singer, model; and Natalie West, actress.

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