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July 21: Tiny Town of Timmer

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On this date in 1910, the pioneer town of Timmer established a Post Office. Located along the Northern Pacific railroad about twelve miles southeast of Flasher, the town was named after C. L. Timmerman, a Mandan banker, rancher and merchant.

When the Northern Pacific railroad line came through Timmer, a new depot was built. Other businesses followed, such as The Timmer Bank, The Potter Hotel, The Bingenheimer Lumber Company, and the Timmer Pool Hall. The town also had a store, a meat market, and a local newspaper.

Timmer was growing, but the children didn’t have a school. Emile Wolfinger, who had moved to Timmer from Iowa, opened his home to the children, teaching in his living room for several years – the area’s first school teacher.

Construction on a school finally began in 1914, and in 1915, classes moved from Mr. Wolfinger’s home, a mile south of Timmer, to the new school in town. As Timmer grew, so did the school. It expanded to a large 2-room school house with a full basement, and the school hired more teachers.

As automobiles become the rage in the early 1900s, Timmer grew with the times. The first service station and garage was owned by Frank Berger and Harry Pfau. They were quite proud to become the first Chevrolet dealership in the area.

Like many small towns in North Dakota, Timmer started to die out around the 1930s. The drought was hard. Businesses closed, homes demolished, and some townsfolk moved away to more prosperous areas. After the 1950 school year, the children of Timmer attended classes elsewhere.

There’s not much left of the town of Timmer these days – just basements, trees, and graveyards. For those who grew up in the town, all that remain are the childhood memories.

Dakota Datebook by Jill Whitcomb

Source: Morton Prairie Roots-1976, Marion Plath Peterson

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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