HAWLEY, Minnesota — Winnipeg Junction was once a prosperous city in Minnesota.
It is now a ghost town.
High school and college students from here and elsewhere try to discover the history of the city during an archaeological dig.
Winnipeg Junction was a thriving community just east of Hawley from 1900 to 1910. At one time it was home to over 200 residents. The story of the rise and fall of the city was tied to a railroad controversy. It was a battle between the railroads for land and a connection to Canada.
Amanda Butler, professor of anthropology at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, says they just decided to make their own connection to Canada, hence the name Winnipeg Junction. What they didn’t realize was that the ground in the area was too wet to hold a railroad, forcing the railroad out of the way and the community with it.
Buddy Norman has been the owner for 35 years. He found history all over his lawn.
“I think the most important thing I’ve found is a 1903 Roosevelt commemorative coin that’s in very good condition, because Teddy came here on the train. He actually stopped at Dale. So , I’m sure they were campaigning,” he said.
This month, MSUM students, as well as high schoolers, are digging into the finer details to uncover drinking habits in Clay County.
“Anything that can tell us anything. Like a piece of glass, it’s cool, but if it doesn’t have any distinct words or patterns, you can’t really tell much about it. So it helps to find objects with distinct patterns or rims,” said Eva Meerdink, an eighth-grade archaeologist from Illinois.
Butler says they hope to be able to answer some questions like, are there drinking habits that are the same, and if they were drinking in the same place.
The crew will be there for the next 21 days, hopefully to answer questions and learn about the fascinating history of Winnipeg Junction.