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Davenport celebrating 125 years

The history of Davenport dates back to March 18, 1882, when the town site was platted as one of the earliest settlements in Cass County, located in the heart of the Red River Valley, about 25 miles from Fargo.

The land was conveyed by the U.S. Government to the Northern Pacific Railroad Col., later to Henry D. Cook, Jr., G.E. Channing and William Fletcher. The latter gentleman was responsible for having the land surveyed into town lots as the Town of Davenport.

A petition signed by 34 legal voters to organize as a town was submitted to the Cass County Commissioners on Jan. 26, 1884, and the village was incorporated Oct. 9, 1895.

The early settlement was named after Alice Davenport, "a Massachusetts friend" of G.E. Channing. She later became the wife of Massachusetts Governor Chalfin. A post office was established April 2, 1882, with Elmer E. Smith postmaster and the first building to be erected was that of Mrs. Mary Carr and used as a city restaurant.

Also in 1882, William Porterfield and Mr. Fout erected the first general store and for ten years Porterfield was identified with business interests in the village.

Through the years Davenport was molded by growth and change, and thrived with a core business district. Here it is several decades later with residents about to celebrate the 125th birthday of the community that still continues to thrive in the heart of the Red River Valley, with a population of approximately 275 and these businesses presently operating: Cutting Edge Salon, Davenport Supper Club and Lounge, Davenport Post Office, Schmitty's Deer Processing, Twin Pines Fredrikson Addition and Fredrikson Funeral Chapel, formerly of Davenport, now open in neighboring Kindred.

"All Roads Lead to Davenport" was a slogan widely used to publicize Davenport's annual Farmer's Day, the first of which was held in May of 1911, with several more to follow. Appropriately, that slogan is the same one being used to promote Davenport's 125th celebration June 8, 9 and 10.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to drive out to Davenport this weekend and take in the three days of fun activities being planned for the entire family as part of this milestone observance.

The schedule of events includes:

Friday, June 8 - A Wagon Train from the Lone Oak Ranch to Davenport with camping overnight Friday at Davenport;

The Birdcage Theater presenting "The Wild, Wild, Wildest West," at 8 p.m. - a book by Christopher Gieschen, with music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur at the Davenport School. Admission $4 and $2.50;

Karaoke at the Davenport Supper Club and Lounge featuring "Little Joe" at 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 9 - A 5k walk/run/bike at Davenport Supper Club and Lounge, all ages welcome;

Breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Davenport Supper Club and Lounge;

The Grand Parade at 10:30 a.m. with lineup beginning at 9 a.m. at the Davenport School.

A whole passel of events will be featured for everyone's enjoyment following the parade including: a Kiddie Tractor Pull at the Davenport Supper Club; Games Galore in Tuskind Park; Booths and Craft Vendors in Tuskind Park; Craft Vendors inside the Davenport Community Center; Fireman Wars by Tuskind Park; Lunch and Concessions available in Tuskind Park and the Davenport Lutheran Church; Silent Auction in the Community Center; Antique Tractors at the Davenport Elevator; and Classic Cars at the Davenport Church.

A Davenport History Museum presented by Peter Fredrikson will also be featured in the Davenport Lutheran Church. The Museum will include historical photos and artifacts indicative of the Davenport community as well as an antique trunk show and a DVD about immigrants on Ellis Island.

Other Saturday activities will consist of:

Bingo in the Community Center from 1 to 3 p.m., sponsored by the Davenport Seniors;

Demolition Derby from 2 to 6 p.m., sponsored by the Davenport Lions Club, with walk-in entries due by 1 p.m. Concessions will be conducted by the Youth Group during the derby;

BBQ Battle at Schmitty's at 5:30 p.m.

All School Reunion at 6:30 p.m. at the Fargo Holiday Inn;

A Street Dance at 8 p.m. featuring "Betty and the Bandits" with fireworks at half-time sponsored by the Davenport Lions Club.

The Sunday, June 10, schedule of events will feature an All Faith Service at 10:30 a.m. at the Davenport School, followed by a Pancake and Sausage Breakfast from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., sponsored by the Davenport Lions Club at the Davenport School.

A Golf Tournament will also take place starting at 1 p.m. at the Leonard Country Club.

Viewing of the Davenport History Museum and Trunk Show will also continue from noon to 3 p.m. at the Davenport Lutheran Church.