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Old Leipzig Born

9/19/2016:

The railroad could make or break any town in North Dakota’s early years. New Leipzig can tell you that, born from a railroad bypass and a previous Leipzig. Little remains of Old Leipzig, located about eight miles north of Elgin, North Dakota. The tiny town did OK for itself early on, starting with a post office established on this date in 1896. Daniel Sprecher, a later postmaster, named the community after a town in Bessarabia that in turn had been named after a town in Germany.

The North Dakota town attracted 200 people by 1909, but the end was near. The Northern Pacific and Milwaukee railroads bypassed Leipzig and many Leipzigers, mostly Germans, moved to a new townsite on the railroad, which became New Leipzig. New Leipzig was platted by the spring of 1910. Two years later, the town was renamed Lawther after a landowner in the area. But residents fought to keep their old home’s name and the town became New Leipzig henceforth.

Meanwhile, Old Leipzig’s first structure, the post office, closed in the summer of 1915 with the mail service moving to Elgin. Structures still remain in the Old Leipzig area and Leipzig Township is still an entity. A couple churches and a schoolhouse still stand. A bronze plaque recognizes the Old Leipzig townsite, eleven miles northeast of New Leipzig.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura

Sources

"http://www.newleipzig.com/history.htm" http://www.newleipzig.com/history.htm

Wick, D.A. (1989). North Dakota place names. Prairie House, Fargo, ND