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Carrie Snyder, Published March 24 2013

Your Town in Focus: Young community of Hendrum, Minn., has room to grow

Hendrum, Minn. - On my drive about 28 miles north on Highway 75 in Minnesota, I stumbled upon a sign that read, “Welcome. If you lived here, you’d be home now.”

I thought that was pretty ingenious. Then I looked at the bottom of the sign: “Next 9 Exits.”

Nine exits? Does Fargo even have nine exits?

“If you want to stand out in a small town, you’ve got to highlight the positives,” said John Kolness, president of the Hendrum Economic Development Authority. “It [the sign] made us a little different when you drive through. You’ve got to catch people’s eyes.”

This sign unquestionably caught my eye and welcomed me to my next small town: Hendrum, Minn.

Hendrum is a town of about 307 people on the western edge of Norman County. The community is like many other small towns, an agricultural community, but it is also a satellite community to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

“We’re close enough to the Fargo-Moorhead area for social life, like going to West Acres or concerts,” said Curt Johannsen, Hendrum mayor. “But you can come back to the small town.”

The town itself has many local businesses along Main Street, including the Last Chance Saloon, Northwestern Bank, Simplot Growers Solutions and the Hendrum Post Office. Just south of this “business district” (a few “exits” or streets away) is a new development called the “Wild Rice Addition.”

Twenty-one new lots await homebuilders to start their small-town life. The city offers many incentives to build, including selling the first lot for only $1.

Norman County West Elementary School is located in the town, which is a focus of a lot of the residents.

“If we want to have a future, we have to hang on to what we have in there,” Kolness said.

The community is a younger community and because of this, along with a buoyant attitude, the town seems to be succeeding.

“We’re very excited to tell people we’re a small town with a median age of 37 years old,” Johannsen said. “We’re young, thriving and have a lot going on.”

What makes your town special?

The Forum is looking to visit small towns within 60 miles of the Fargo-Moorhead area to periodically showcase in a photo story what makes your town unique.

Send us a short essay, no longer than 500 words, on what makes your town distinctive from other towns.

Essays can be sent to photographer Carrie Snyder at csnyder@forumcomm.com.