Fargo Tourists Welcomed in Style
The United Commercial Travelers was founded in 1888. It was started by people who had to travel for a living like salesmen. On this date in 1913, a delegation from Fargo was greeted in style as they arrived in Crookston for the Minnesota / North Dakota United Commercial Travelers convention. The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican declared that the convention was the most successful UCT gathering in many years. The Fargo delegation arrived by car. Several of the cars left from the Forum building promptly on schedule at 7:30. Others, who had assumed there would be a late start, were left behind. When they caught up with the early birds, they formed a parade of seventeen cars. The roads were excellent, and all went well except when Clint Smith dodged a meat wagon only to hit a water wagon. His car was slightly damaged. Ten miles outside of Crookston, a welcoming committee greeted the Fargoans and escorted them to town. They were met by a band at the city limits. The musicians marched ahead of the cars and led the party into the city. The newspaper said the group was ready to join the festivities, showing no signs of fatigue from the long journey.
Those who didn’t come by car arrived by special trains chartered for the occasion. Every train was crowded with passengers eager to get to Crookston.
A lunch reception was only the beginning. There was also baseball, with salespeople from the various cities forming up teams. In the first game of the convention, the Fargo baseball team was in excellent form, beating Grand Forks. It was understood that the ladies would have no interest in the sport, so they attended a card party. A grand ball was scheduled for the evening, to be followed by a parade. Crookston lit up the streets for the parade, which proceeded down the city’s “Great White Way.” The attendees enjoyed three days of the parades, music, parties, and baseball. Even Crookston residents who didn’t attend the convention were caught up in the excitement.
The Order of United Commercial Travelers of America continues to function as an international organization. It promotes volunteerism and community action. Members provide more than 92 million volunteer hours every year.
Dakota Datebook by Carole Butcher
Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. “Crookston Welcomes U.C.T. in Royal Manner – Fargo Delegation Had Fine Trip.” 13 June, 1913.