The City of Ashley has a long and exciting history.
Ashley was named after Milwaukee Railroad executive Ashley Morrow in 1888. Since then, the community has held on tightly to its rich German-Russian roots for well over 100 years, while leading area communities in technological advances that will ensure their survival in the 21st century.
The city prides itself on preservation of the heritage it was built on and embraces that foundation while possessing an aggressive attitude toward the future.
Pioneering families brought with them a strong work ethic and religious heritage. They built a solid community that prides itself on its friendliness, hospitality, peaceful environment, low crime rate, and a special quality of life. You will find a stable business community that serves as a trade center and county seat for its rural and city families. Along with a quality labor force which strives toward excellence and high productivity, complete medical services, incredible recreational opportunities, and residents committed to the future and economic health of the city.
Local leaders work hard to retain this lifestyle for Ashley’s residents, but possess great vision and determination to see that Ashley enjoys economic growth through support of established businesses, business creation, and focusing on the future with remote data processing/telecommunications and other state-of-the-art technology utilized by companies such as TechLink, Inc.
Economic development and job creation are truly priorities for this progressive city.
During the early 1880s there was a great influx of immigrants from the various countries of western and northern Europe into the prairie states of the middle western United States.
Many of these immigrants were of German descent, but came to the Dakotas from Russia where they lived in colonies and retained their German language and customs. Settlers made their homesteads on the shores of a beautiful lake and named their community Hoskins. Wagon boxes were turned upside down and used for shelter until oxen hauled lumber from far away towns for the roofs of sod houses and barns.
In 1898, the Soo Line Railroad was extended from Kulm, west through Lehr, and finally to Bismarck. With the coming of railroads, new towns sprang up, and markets closer to the farms were opened.
With the coming of the railroad, however, the citizens of Hoskins chose to pick up their town and move it three miles to the East, where they founded Ashley, named after Milwaukee Railroad executive Ashley Morrow, in 1888
McIntosh County Heritage Center
Located on the eastern edge of Ashley, North Dakota (Close to Highway 11)
There is no admission fee, however your free-will offering will be greatly appreciated. Everyone is Welcome to tour our Heritage Center.
Heritage Center Phone:
An organization known as the McIntosh County Historical Society was formed on November 29, 1967 and incorporated under the laws of North Dakota on December 5, 1967. If was a humble beginning and attempts to spark the needed interest and broad membership were not instantly successful.
In the summer of 1977, McIntosh County received a $143,000 grant for the construction of the county Heritage Center building. The Facility contains influences of German-Russian design and was completed in 1978. All of the exterior stone was obtained from rural McIntosh County.
The land on which the building is located was donated for the purpose of the Heritage Center by the heirs of John Henry and Nina Farley Wishek, McIntosh County and Ashley pioneers.
The Heritage Center's legal title is vested in the County of McIntosh. Management and development have been entrusted by the McIntosh County Commission to the McIntosh County Historical Society. Those who serve as officers and directors do so purely out of an interest in history and are dedicating both their time and energy to this cause.
The primary objective for the Heritage Center is to provide a permanent place to house and display memorabilia that will help preserve the rich history of our county and its people so that present and future generations can be more informed about their ancestors' way of life.
The McIntosh County Historical Society directors are pleased that so many visitors have toured our Heritage Center and chosen to support us with financial contributions and other assistance.
Additional buildings located on the site include an early rural Lutheran Church, a sod house, and outdoor baking oven, a band stand, a small vintage Ashley business building, a charming one-room school house and a machinery storage building. The church is a gift to the Heritage Center by Lenhard Henke. Organized as Zion II, it was also commonly known as the Biederstedt Church.
The school house, donated by the Wishek City Park Board and moved to the Heritage Center grounds, was previously located in Wishek, North Dakota.
A RICH HERITAGE
George W. Lilly, Charles C. Morell and Charles V. Bayse were named to the first county commission on September 25, 1884 by the Honorable Gilbert A. Pierce, then Governor of the Territory of Dakota. It is interesting to note that none of the original commissioners bore names that indicated they were German descent. In time, this changed as settlers made their home in the area, and today, German names are more prevalent in McIntosh County than in any other county in North Dakota.
In 1884, a site for the town of Hoskins was established on the south shore of Lake Hoskins. This new settlement became the town of Ashley in 1888 when its buildings were moved to the present site. In 1984, McIntosh County observed its Centennial.
The communities of Lehr and Wishek were formed in 1898; Venturia followed in 1901, and Zeeland and Danzig were established in 1902 and 1908, respectively. Memorabilia from these neighboring communities is proudly displayed as it is received at the McIntosh County Heritage Center.
This facility is being operated as a non-profit, educational public service institution. The continued expansion of the McIntosh County Heritage Center is dependent upon the good will of the community.
A museum or heritage center is never complete. There is always an urgent need for continued assistance toward steady development.
Our Recent History includes
2013-Bob & Maureen Delzer purchasd Prairie Connection which is now known as Reenies Repeat Boutique. Specilizing in new and second hand clothing, refurbished furniture, antiques.
1998: The Ashley Tribune and Wishek Star are purchased by Tony Bender. Ashley implements a one cent sales tax for Economic Development. 1999: TechLink, Inc. moves into a new 5,000 square foot data processing center located in the industrial park. 2000: TechLink, Inc. branches into other technologies and opens its Web Media division in September.
2002: Ashley becomes a member of the newly designated Dakota Heartland Champion Community, a federally designated zone to address rural issues. We are now part of an expanded community concept.
2003: Ashley is now a member of the Northwest Area Foundation called the Horizons Leadership Program. The communities include Ellendale, North Dakota and Eureka, South Dakota.
2004: Tony and Julie Bender open Jitters, a hip, new coffee shop. Schock Farms is producing 100% Certified Organic Seeds, such as Golden Omega and Brown Flax. Scours Inc., DBA Ashley Feeds, will be opening its doors sometime in August 2004.