Argyle's Early Streets and Sidewalks



Argyle, Pacific Ave and Third Street

Before its incorporation as a village, Argyle's streets and roads were a part of Middle River Township, and the village shared in obligations for any bonds issued for roads or other purposes. At a special meeting March 10, 1884, the Village Council notified the Board of Supervisors of Middle River Township that from that time on, the village regarded itself as a separate road district and would not be liable for taxation for road purposes outside of the incorporated village of Argyle.

To finance the building of roads and streets within the village, a road tax of SO cents per $100 of valuation was assessed against all real estate and personal property. There was also a poll tax that could be paid by a day's work on the roads or payment of $1.50. In 1885, the poll tax was increased to two days of work or $3. Maintenance of the streets was done with a horse-drawn grader or the use of teams and scrapers when it was necessary to fill low places or to make ditches.

In 1894, the Council decided the old wagon bridge north of town should be tom down and replaced by a stronger one. This bridge would be approximately 90 feet long and 1 foot higher above the streambed. It was also decided to replace the bridge going east. The north bridge remained in service until1912, when a contract for construction of a new steel bridge was let to the Continental Bridge Company for $3300. Argyle's contribution to the cost would be $800.

A new steel bridge across the river east of Frenchtown was built in 1916, with Argyle contributing $800 toward its cost. Two years later, the east abutment of the bridge had to be rebuilt because high water washed away the soil. Both of these bridges were built under the supervision of the County Commissioners.

In 1914, the railroad planned to build a new depot on the same site as the 01d one that blocked off Third Street. The village opposed this and suggested that the Fourth Street crossing be vacated instead and the depot built there. With the Third Street crossing open, travel between the two busiest parts of town would be simplified. The railroad opposed the change, but after the Council appealed to the State Railroad Commissions, they agreed to build a block farther north. A committee of two councilmen had been appointed to offer the Great Northern Railway $1000 for positive assurance that the Third Street crossing would be opened, but there is nothing in the Council minutes to indicate that this was done.

Argyle, Halloween, 1915


Argyle Automobile Club

Because of the nature of the soil Argyle was built on, street maintenance was difficult, especially in the spring. Some consideration was given to the idea of paving the streets, and on February 7, 1966, the Village Council, consisting of Virgil Peterson - Mayor, Ralph Przybylski, Charles Anderson, Dan Beaudry, and Frank Borowicz, met to hear a report by Mr. Douglas Stewart of the engineering firm of Sewart and Walker of Thief River Falls. The Council was advised that the proposed improvements were feasible and should best be made as proposed by the engineer's report.

The improvements would consist not only of paving, but also putting in concrete curbs, gutters, storm sewers, and the replacement of some sewers and water mains. Water and sewer connections would be extended in some areas to the property lines in lots that did not have them.

At the Council meeting of July 11, 1966, a resolution was introduced approving plans and specifications and ordering advertisement for bids on bonds to finance' '1966 Street Improvements" as the project was known. A total of $375,000 worth of general obligation bonds were sold at 4.8 percent and 4.9 percent, to be redeemed over a period of twenty years. Of the total obligation, bonds plus interest, assessments would pay for $288,824 and the Village would pay the balance through general taxes.

Northern Improvement Company of Fargo, North Dakota, was the low bidder for the construction job, with a bid of $357,766. Work was begun in the spring of 1967 and when finished, 50 blocks of streets had been paved at a total cost of $450,000.

"The drainage of the coulee west of town has been successfully accomplishcd by the laying of tiling. Last Friday the main coulee was reached with l2-inch tiling and in 24 hours nearly all the water was drained. Six-inch tiling will be used through the two blocks south of the main coulee. To complete the work two carloads of tiling was necessary. The improvement is a valuable one and is highly appreciated by the residents. The difficult task was under the able supervision of Street Commissioner Boyce, who deserves much credit for his efficient services." (Taken from the Marshall County Banner.)


Argyle, birdseye view


All wooden sidewalks were to be built to conform to specifications approved by the Village Council. They were to be 5 feet 4 inches wide, of 2 inch planks not more than 12 inches wide and were to be securely nailed to three stringers. The stringers were to be of 2 by 6 inch planks set on edge on a bed of stone or gravel. There were to be three stringers, one in the middle and the other two set in I foot from each outer edge of the walk. The sidewalk was to be placed 8 feet from the edge of the street, leaving a berm upon which trees were to be planted. The cost of the sidewalks was assessed against the person or business whose property it fronted, usually 30 cents a foot -although in later years the price rose to 4() cents. Anyone planting trees on his berm was given credit of 25 cents per tree against his taxes.

The wooden sidewalks rotted rather quickly. and at a special meeting called by the Council on July 11, 1910, a resolution was adopted to condemn all wooden sidewalks and replace them with concrete walks.


Argyles' Early Beginnings Power, Gas, Telephone, Radio / Water, Sewer, Dump Early Fire Department / Old Mill State Park / Middle River Township Panorama Photos of Early Argyle

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