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By 1910, Northern Pacific & the Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railroad companies had built two railroad lines westward from Mandan, ND & McLaughlin, SD, respectively. In May, 1910, a town site was plotted by the Milwaukee Land Company of Chicago. The German-Russian residents of nearby Leipzig, wanting a location closer to the railroad, soon relocated there. When a post office was established on the site, the budding community was dubbed New Leipzig. In January, 1912, however, New Leipzig was renamed Lawther after a local landowner. After much protest by local residents wanting to preserve the name of their homeland, the town was once again officially New Leipzig, ND.
Hertz Brothers Hardware is believed to be the oldest firm still doing business in Grant County. It was organized in Leipzig as the Farmers Commerce Company by Hertz Brother stockholders Christ, Henry, & Emmanuel Hertz as well as other minor stockholders. The enterprise moved to New Leipzig around the time of its inception & became Hertz Brothers Hardware in 1912. Today, the business is under a third generation of management. Roehl Trucking is also a third-generation business, & Stelter Repair is under its fourth generation of management. Main Street today is almost entirely made of farm-related service businesses. Businesses currently servicing the area include Tietz Hardware, Larry's Service Center, Stern Motors, Randy's Sales & Service, Stelter Repair, Roehl Transfer Inc., Schock Real Estate, B & L Lounge, The Leipziger Cafe, Star Grocery, Hertz Brother's Inc., the U.S. Postal Service, New Leipzig Grain, & Dakota Community Bank.
The community's spiritual needs are provided by the New Leipzig Churches—St. John's Catholic, Immanuel Lutheran, New Leipzig Baptist, & the Reformed Church—as well as several rural churches. Both the New Leipzig Baptist & Immanuel Lutheran will celebrate their 100th Anniversary in 2010.
New Leipzig has provided its educational needs with a school since the town's beginning. Classes were first held in rooms furnished by various local businesses until 1912, when the first school house was built. In February, 1915, the structure was leveled by fire. In 1915, a brick fire-proof structure was erected. Additions were made to the original brick structure in 1926, 1957, & 1961 due to the annexation of the surrounding school districts. Educational needs were provided within New Leipzig until the co-op process began with Elgin in the 1994–95 school year. Throughout subsequent years, more grades became involved. The New Leipzig School closed in the fall of 2004, after which students have been attending lower elementary & high school in nearby Elgin - junior high students are bussed to Carson. The New Leipzig school facility is now used by the community only during Oktoberfest weekend.
Throughout its years, the community of New Leipzig has met the needs of its people. The New Leipzig Development Association organized in 1966, providing housing for elderly & low-income residents in the form of 18 one & 2 bedroom apartments, which are usually fully occupied with a waiting list.
In 1971, New Leipzig was home to North Dakota's first authentic German Oktoberfest, a three-day festival that has grown through the years with the continued support & efforts of rural & city New Leipzig residents. Oktoberfest has become New Leipzig's primary identity for German heritage & a time for thanks at the close of the harvest season. Since 1978, a particular highlight of the weekend has become the Oktoberfest musical, performed by residents from in & around New Leipzig.
New Leipzig, like all rural communities, continues to strive to become a true “home” for its residents & to provide as many services as possible. Unfortunately, many rural areas like New Leipzig, after giving the youth a solid moral upbringing & a well-balanced education, they leave for college and faraway jobs.
The people of New Leipzig have realized that there are boom periods of growth in local business that eventually decay, eventually leaving a community of retired people, still providing service to those people remaining. The state-wide decline in population sees the closing of many businesses & schools, as it has in New Leipzig.
Above all odds, however, the local community must fight on.
The original town site called "Leipzig" was located eleven miles northeast of the present site of New Leipzig. This marker is located on the site of "Old Leipzig".
This inland town without a railroad began to be settled by immigrants in 1895. It was moved & renamed "New Leipzig" in 1910 when the Northern Pacific Railroad was built through this area.
Most of the settlers who moved to the new site were German-Russians, thus the name "Leipzig" after Leipzig, Germany, was used.
A bronze plaque now marks the original site of Leipzig, North Dakota. The plaque reads, "Original town site of Leipzig, North Dakota was located on these four corners". The plaque was erected in 1960 by the New Leipzig Commercial Club during the town's 50th anniversary.
Public education in New Leipzig began in the fall of 1910, with school being held in different locations around town. Throughout the years of this school district, many milestones & memories have taken place.
Officially, the first schoolhouse was a wooden two-story structure built in 1912. Unfortunately, due to a faulty chimney, fire destroyed the structure, which served as a school for only two years. The district was again without a school, & classes had to be held in different locations around town.
By 1915, another milestone was reached—a modern brick & fire-proof building was erected with three departments added—primary, grammar, & a two-year high school. The first New Leipzig Public grammar school graduation took place in 1916. 1918 brought big policy change in consolidation with the Weller School District.
In 1922, another milestone of the New Leipzig School took place—a four-year high school program was added. Two years later, Lillian Behrenfeld, Alma Flaig, Herbert Hertz, Victor Provolt, Kathryn Haisch, & Bernice Mack became the school's first graduating class.
The next milestone for the New Leipzig Public School came as an addition on the east side of the brick school, which included an auditorium, classrooms, & a gymnasium. In 1957, another milestone brought a $100,000 building project to the New Leipzig Public School, including a new gymnasium.
The milestones continued throughout the next few years. 1958 brought the annexation of Delabarre and Lorin Districts. In a special election the next year, all of Leipzig District and parts of Selma and Fleak districts were added, together encompassing the Weller School District.
The next milestone came in 1961, when a new high school addition and new classes became part of a new well-rounded curriculum for New Leipzig School graduates.
With milestones come changes in our lives, including those we enjoy, but also those we do not want to accept. Be that as it may, changes inevitably come before our eyes. Changes in the New Leipzig Public School have been many throughout its eighty-year history.
Starting in 1994–95, many high school classes were taught by bussing students back & forth for classes in New Leipzig & Elgin. 1995 also brought the first combined New Leipzig/Elgin graduating class in a ceremony at Elgin. In 1997, New Leipzig's grades K–1 were in co-op with Elgin's - grade 2 followed in 1997, & grades 3 & 4 combined in 1998. Over the next six years, the New Leipzig Public School facility was used as a combined New Leipzig/Elgin Jr. High.
The New Leipzig Public School officially closed its doors to education in the fall of 2004. Today, students in & around New Leipzig attend school in the towns of Elgin or Carson in a new educational set-up in Grant County - lower elementary & senior high students are schooled in Elgin, while grades 5–8 are educated in Carson. Students graduate from the Grant County School system in Elgin.
Memories & milestones of the New Leipzig Public School are many. Fond memories of the many school activities, such as choir, band, sports, drama, speech, & graduation, will remain with each & every student who ever walked through the doors of school, be it for all twelve years or even a shorter time.
Education has always been a very important part of a person's life. One just needs to look at what education has done to bring him or her where it has today. New Leipzig is proud of all the accomplishments that New Leipzig students have made for themselves & the community.
The Trinity Lutheran Church served the local community not only in religious ways but also actively helped preserve the German-Russian culture through traditional practices & use of the German language.
German-Russian settlers began settling the area near the Trinity Lutheran Church around 1872. Soon they founded the town of Leipzig & in 1898 residents began holding Lutheran Church services in their homes.
By 1902 Henry Bellman & the local residents were able to start the construction of the Trinity Lutheran Church at a section corner about two miles southwest of town.
The congregation held the dedication in 1905.
Shortly after the addition of the steeple & bells to the front of the church in 1909, the people of Leipzig found out that a railroad was to be built eleven miles to the southwest.
Around 1910 the townspeople of Leipzig began moving to the newly established town of New Leipzig near the railroad line.
Despite the now nine mile distance to the Trinity Church the German-Russian community chose to keep the new church where it was & travel the distance each Sunday for worship.
In 1942 an addition to the front of the church for an altar & storage area was built. A partial basement was dug below the addition & a furnace installed.
In 1959 the church & furniture were sold along with the parsonage which was moved to Flasher, North Dakota, where it still stands today.
In 1961 several interested former members of the Trinity Lutheran Church purchased it and the land around it as a memorial landmark renaming it "Trinity Heupel Church".
In 1969 family & friends gave donations from their hearts to re-shingle the roof & in 1970 the outside of the church was painted.
In 1984 shingles and windows were repaired & the outside of the church was painted as well as the inside in 1985.
In 1997 the outside of the church needed to be repainted again because of the constant peeling. It was decided to apply vinyl siding to eliminate the continuous painting & labor cost. The material & the labor were donated for the project.
In 1998 the steeple & bell tower were painted & repaired by a contractor as well as the inside of the church.
In 2005 the roof was again re-shingled, this time using asphalt shingles because of the high cost of wooden shingles.
In 2006 the windows & doors of the church were repaired and painted.
In 2008 the interior of the church was painted again, the broken sidewalk by the front steps was removed & replaced with cement pads, the decayed tree stump was removed, & a section of the sidewalk was repositioned on the east side of the church.
In September of 2009 the church was officially listed in the National Register for Historic Places, the nation's official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation.
The church is now used for weddings, family reunions, committal services for funerals, & an annual potluck meal in the church yard with services conducted in English & German.
Travelers have come from all over the United States, Canada, & Germany to look at the photographs and plaques and to sign the guestbook.
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