Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Monday, March 2, 2015

An Interesting Bit of Boosterism in Elk Rive

“One trouble with Elk River,” exclaimed one of our citizens, “is that we are too quiet, we don’t blow enough about the town and its advantages.”  The Sherburne County Star News published this comment on 12 September 1895.  It served to introduce a number of columns promoting the value of land and living in Elk River.  The publication in the pages of the local newspaper is an interesting bit of boosterism.

The articles something akin to “preaching to the choir.”  Although, the newspaper will reach areas outside of Elk River, the bulk of the membership already knows about the “value of land” in the area.   Yet, the paper goes on to promote Elk River land and living:

“Many of our business men are possessing themselves of small tracts of land convenient to town, as they are offered for sale,” the paper reported.  “This does not mean, necessarily, that they contemplate abandoning the business they are engaged in and go to farming for a living, but they recognize the fact that land at present prices is an excellent investment and they want some of it.”

In another column, the newspaper asks and answers: “What better place is there on earth to secure a home than right here adjacent to Elk River?” The column goes on to list so many advantages of: “an intelligent community of nice people, goo schools, religious influences, good markets, convenience to large cities, and beautiful surroundings.” 

 Promoting Elk River and efforts to increase the population are not unusual or unique to the city.  Small communities throughout the state of Minnesota are working to attract new settlers.  In 1895, Elk River is a small community with about 1300 people.  The entire county, however, is just beginning a growth spurt.  The county population in 1890 is about 5900, by 1900 the county has grown to 7200, and by 1910 the population is at 8100.  The promotion and boosterism is slowly paying off.

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