Bergquist Pioneer Cabin

The Bergquist Cabin has stood on the same bend in the Red River since Swedish immigrant John Bergquist built it in the early spring of 1871. Minnesota had only been a state for 13 years at that time, and within months the Northern Pacific Railroad would follow Bergquist's footsteps on its way to the Pacific Ocean. The railroad crossed the Red into Dakota Territory that winter. Bergquist farmed, sold milk, and worked for the railroad while he lived in the cabin. By 1875 his brother Peter had joined him, and they added a second story to the structure. By 1880 Peter had moved out to work in a Moorhead grocery and in 1881 John started a brickyard. He found occasional prosperity in Moorhead's early boom-and-bust economy building the city with local yellow clay. In 1882 Moorhead was home to five brickyards employing 135 people and producing 8.5 million bricks a year. The outskirts of town glowed at night with the light of kilns. In 1883 Bergquist sold the cabin to a New York family of vegetable farmers named the Houcks. In 1904 former farmhand Charles Peterson purchased the cabin and homestead for his vegetable truck farm. A farmhand for the Peterson farm named Edward Schamberger rented the home until his retirement in 1970. Then Peterson's son Hank sold the cabin in 1978 to the Bergquist Pioneer Cabin Society, who restored the building and transferred ownership to the Clay County Historical Society in 1989. Today the Bergquist Pioneer Cabin is owned and maintained by the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.