Moorhead, Minnesota

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moorhead City Hall
Moorhead City Hall
Your Hometown
Location within Clay County
Location within Clay County
Moorhead is located in Minnesota
Location within Minnesota
Moorhead is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 46°52′26″N 96°46′02″W / 46.87389°N 96.76722°W / 46.87389; -96.76722
Latitude and Longitude:

46°52′26″N 96°46′02″W / 46.87389°N 96.76722°W / 46.87389; -96.76722
CountryUnited States
State Minnesota
County Clay
 •  MayorShelly Carlson
 •  City22.27 sq mi (57.69 km2)
 • Land22.27 sq mi (57.67 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
898 ft (274 m)
 ( 2020) [2]
 •  City44,505
 • Estimate 
(2021) [3]
 • Density1,998.88/sq mi (771.77/km2)
 •  Urban
176,676 (US: 194th)
 •  Metro
252,136 (US: 192nd)
Time zone UTC-6 ( CST)
 • Summer ( DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 218
FIPS code27-43864
GNIS feature ID0648070 [4]

Moorhead ( /ˈmɔːrhɛd/) is a city in and county seat of Clay County, Minnesota, United States, [5] on the banks of the Red River of the North. Located in the Red River Valley, an extremely fertile and active agricultural region, Moorhead is also home to several corporations and manufacturing industries. [6] Across the river from Fargo, North Dakota, Moorhead helps form the core of the Fargo–Moorhead ND-MN Metropolitan Area. The population was 44,505 according to the 2020 census. [2]

Platted in 1871, the city was named for William Galloway Moorhead, an official of the Northern Pacific Railway. [7]


The city was platted in 1871 and named for William Galloway Moorhead, a Northern Pacific Railway official and brother-in-law of financier Jay Cooke. [7] [8]

The former Moorhead Armory on 5th Street South was the site of the intended concert destination for musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper before their fatal plane crash a few miles north of Clear Lake, Iowa around 1.00 am Tuesday February 3, 1959. The building was demolished in 1990 and is now the site of Ecumen Evergreens, a senior living property.

Moorhead is home to the first Dairy Queen to sell Dilly Bars. [9] [10] The Moorhead Dairy Queen is also one of only a few Dairy Queens operating on a contract signed in 1949, [11] which allows it to feature products not approved by corporate Headquarters. An example includes a chipper sandwich, vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies and dipped in chocolate.


Moorhead is located adjacent to the Red River in the Red River Valley. The land around the Fargo–Moorhead area is some of the flattest and richest (for agricultural uses) in the world. This is because it lies on the lake bed of glacial Lake Agassiz, which drained between 9,900 and 11,000 years ago. [12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.80 square miles (51.28 km2), all land. [13]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2021 (est.)44,668 [3]0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [14]
2020 Census [2]
Front Street, 1916

According to the 2010–2012 American Community Survey, the racial composition was as follows:

According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the top ten European ancestries were the following:

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 38,065 people, 14,304 households, and 8,372 families living in the city. The population density was 1,922.5 inhabitants per square mile (742.3/km2). There were 15,274 housing units at an average density of 771.4 per square mile (297.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.7% White, 2.0% African American, 1.5% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 14,304 households, of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.5% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 28.3 years. 20.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 23.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 20.5% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 32,177 people, 11,660 households, and 7,030 families living in the city. The population density was 2,394.3 people per square mile (924.4/km2). There were 12,180 housing units at an average density of 906.3 per square mile (349.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.08% White, 0.77% African American, 1.94% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.10% from other races, and 1.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.47% of the population.

There were 11,660 households, out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.7% under the age of 18, 23.1% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,781, and the median income for a family was $49,118. Males had a median income of $33,137 versus $23,717 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,150. About 8.2% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results 1960–2020
Precinct General Election Results [15]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 40.6% 8,459 56.7% 11,809 2.7% 555
2016 41.0% 7,893 48.7% 9,390 10.3% 1,983
2012 41.3% 7,609 55.8% 10,278 2.9% 530
2008 39.3% 7,249 58.8% 10,840 1.9% 359
2004 50.0% 8,515 48.5% 8,254 1.5% 247
2000 48.8% 6,930 44.7% 6,357 6.5% 929
1996 42.9% 5,424 50.0% 6,334 7.1% 903
1992 42.2% 6,257 42.7% 6,321 15.1% 2,238
1988 49.0% 6,541 51.0% 6,800 0.0% 0
1984 53.3% 7,060 46.7% 6,174 0.0% 0
1980 46.3% 5,496 37.2% 4,406 16.5% 1,956
1976 51.5% 6,711 46.7% 6,079 1.8% 235
1972 56.4% 7,100 42.5% 5,349 1.1% 134
1968 53.9% 5,168 43.0% 4,124 3.1% 301
1964 43.5% 4,005 56.1% 5,159 0.4% 33
1960 62.0% 5,154 37.8% 3,146 0.2% 15


Moorhead has multiple transportation options available to residents with intercity buses, trains and air travel available in Fargo. Locally, the city is served with public transit by MATBUS. Interstate 94 and U.S. Highways 10, 52 ( concurrent with I-94), and 75 are four of the main roadways in the city. Other nearby routes in the Fargo–Moorhead area include Interstate 29 and Minnesota State Highway 336.


Agriculture remains prominent in the area, but Moorhead is also home to notable corporate, manufacturing and distribution industries, including American Crystal Sugar (corporate headquarters and sugar beet processing), Busch Agricultural Resources (malt manufacturing) and Pactiv (container manufacturing). The unemployment rate is consistently below the national average and property values are stable.

Principal employers

According to the City's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [16] the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Independent School District 152 1,035
2 Minnesota State University Moorhead 707
3 Concordia College 700
4 Clay County 530
5 City of Moorhead 505
6 Creative Care for Reaching Independence (CCRI) 500
7 Eventide Lutheran Home 461
8 American Crystal Sugar Company 400
9 Hornbacher's (2 locations) 296
10 Minnesota State Community and Technical College 229

Arts and culture

The Rourke Art Gallery and the Rourke Art Museum are native Moorhead cultural institutions hosting the annual Midwestern Invitational Exhibition. The museum displays an important art collection from local, regional and national artists. The Rourke Museum is housed in the historic Moorhead Post Office building.

The city is also home to the Bluestem Center for the Arts, a 3,000 seat outdoor amphitheater that opened in 2009 with a partnership between the Fargo Public Schools, the City of Moorhead, and an arts grant from the state of Minnesota. [17] Bluestem hosts a summer concert series which has drawn many famous bands including Wilco, Goo Goo Dolls, The Beach Boys, and Weezer. [18]

The Bluestem Center for the Arts is home to Trollwood Performing Arts School, a renowned summer arts and theater program for students of all ages. [19]

The Comstock House is a historic house museum, a blend of Queen Anne and Eastlake styles built in 1883. Solomon Comstock was a lawyer and U.S. House Representative. [20]

Hjemkomst Center

Replica Viking Ship, Hjemkomst Center, Moorhead, Minnesota
Replica of Norwegian stave church at the Hjemkomst Center

The Hjemkomst Center is a local museum containing a full-scale replica of a Viking ship of the same name. The Hjemkomst vessel was built in nearby Hawley by Moorhead resident Robert Asp, and was sailed from Duluth to Oslo, Norway in 1982 by his children following Asp's death. The ship is now permanently housed in the center.

The Clay County Museum and Archives, operated by the Clay County Historical Society, interprets the history of Clay County in a free museum in the lower level of the Hjemkomst Center. The Society has more than 30,000 artifacts in their collection, one of the largest and most important historic collections in Minnesota outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Located on the grounds of the Hjemkomst Center is a Stave Church. The traditional Norwegian-style church serves as a symbol of the Norwegian heritage in the Red River Valley. The church is a full-scale replica of the Hopperstad stave church in Vik, Norway.


The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks is an independent professional baseball team that plays at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo. They are part of the American Association.

Being a cold weather city, hockey has emerged as a favorite sport of Moorhead. The community has provided significant support to hockey programs such as Moorhead Youth Hockey. Over the years, Moorhead Senior High has produced a number of talented hockey players, including:

Olympic pairs figure skater Mark Ladwig also hails from Moorhead. With partner Amanda Evora, he was a two-time U.S. national silver medalist and competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics. With Lindsay Davis, he was part of the 2012–2013 U.S. Figure Skating Reserve Team. [21]


Weld Hall on the campus of Minnesota State University Moorhead
Old Main on the campus of Concordia College

The city has four institutions of higher learning: Concordia College (private Christian liberal arts college), Minnesota State University Moorhead (public university), Minnesota State Community and Technical College (two-year to four-year technical college), and Rasmussen College (a two- to four-year college). The combined student enrollment of these colleges is approximately 14,000.

K-12 education is provided to over 5,000 students by the Moorhead School District: S.G. Reinertsen Elementary, Robert Asp Elementary, Ellen Hopkins Elementary, Dorothy Dodds Elementary, Horizon Middle School and Moorhead High School. The district is known for its high student achievement with students consistently performing above the national average on the ACT. [22] The district includes the cities of Moorhead, Georgetown, Kragnes, and Sabin.

The city includes the Red River Area Learning Center and the Probstfield Center for Education.

Park Christian School is a private Christian school in Moorhead providing a K–12 education as well as St. Joseph's, a Catholic elementary school.

The Moorhead Public Library (1906) at 102 6th Street South was paid for by Andrew Carnegie and designed by architect Milton Earl Beebe. [23]


Notable people

In popular culture

Moorhead is briefly referenced in the 1998 Coen brothers' film The Big Lebowski as the hometown of one of the main characters, Bunny Lebowski, played by Tara Reid. The high school photo of Bunny shown in the movie even has her wearing the correct orange, black, and white school colors of the Moorhead Spuds.

Moorhead is also mentioned in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story as the next stop in the ill-fated Winter Dance Party tour. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash en route to their scheduled performance at the Moorhead Armory Building from Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3, 1959.

Moorhead's pioneer Prairie Home Cemetery on 8th Street was the inspiration for the name of Garrison Keillor's national radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. [35] Although Keillor thought the cemetery was founded by Norwegian Lutherans, in fact it was organized in 1875 by the Rev. Oscar Elmer, a Yankee Presbyterian minister who was the first ordained Christian minister in the Moorhead/Fargo area. [36]

In the movie The Straight Story, Alvin Straight ( Richard Farnsworth) mentions that he and his brother, Lyle Straight, were born and raised in Moorhead.

See also


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2021". United States Census Bureau. May 29, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "City of Moorhead : About the City". Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p.  117.
  8. ^ Lubetkin, M. John (2006). ""Twenty Six-Feet and No Bottom": Constructing the Northern Pacific Railroad" (PDF). Minnesota History. Vol. 60, no. 1. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 6. JSTOR  20188526. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  9. ^ "A Dilly Bar in Fargo-Moorhead? You Betcha! - Fargo-Moorhead". March 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "Moorhead man behind Dilly Bar dies at age 91; known as 'Dairy Queen Bob'". Inforum. November 19, 2013. Archived from the original on December 8, 2014.
  11. ^ "Rogue Dairy Queen has been ignoring corporate HQ since 1949". New York Post. July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  12. ^ [1] Archived June 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  14. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  15. ^ "Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State - Election Results". Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" ( PDF). City of Moorhead, Minnesota. c. 2019. p. 131. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  17. ^ "Moorhead City Council member says city should step in on Blu..."
  18. ^ "2009–2015 Past Events – Bluestem Amphitheater".
  19. ^ "Trollwood Performing Arts School website".
  20. ^ "Solomon Gilman Comstock". Minnesota Legislative Reference Library: Legislators Past and Present. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  21. ^ Skaters. Retrieved on August 25, 2013.
  22. ^ "About the District". Archived from the original on May 12, 2008.
  23. ^ "Moorhead Public Library, 102 6th Street South, Moorhead, Minnesota (Razed) - Placeography".
  24. ^ "Dr. René Clausen's Lasting Legacy". Concordia College. Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  25. ^ "Minnesota State Law Library-Wallace B. Douglas". Archived from the original on January 5, 2014.
  26. ^ "Official Homepage of Becky Gulsvig".
  27. ^ Skaters. (August 4, 2006). Retrieved on August 25, 2013.
  28. ^ "MAGNUSON, Warren Grant | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  29. ^ "Adolph Murie (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  30. ^ "National Park Service: Biography (Olaus J. Murie)". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  31. ^ Peterson, Collin. "About Me | Congressman Collin Peterson". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  32. ^ "Fargo's Own: Leslie Stefanson". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  33. ^ Woodburn, Thos. B., ed. (August 1937). "Former Private Commands Fort Jay". Recruiting News. Governors Island, NY: Recruiting Publicity Bureau, U.S. Army. p. 11 – via Google Books.
  34. ^ "ROY WILLIAMS". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  35. ^ Keillor, Garrison, quoted in Peter A. Scholl, Garrison Keillor (New York: Twayne, 1993).
  36. ^ Elmer, Oscar. Journal. Unpublished manuscript.

External links