Gateway to the Lake Wobegon Trail

History of Holdingford

Randolph Holding (1844-1915)
Randolph Holding (1844-1915)


Holdingford was named after pioneer Randolph Holding (Irish) came to the area in 1868.


He homesteaded on the west side of a ford area on South Two Rivers River where he started a general store and platted out his vision of the future village.


In 1872 he was appointed the first postmaster of "Holdings' Ford".  The post office was located at his general store. The building still stands but is a private residence today.


In 1879 on the east side of South Two Rivers River, the village of Wardeville townsite was platted and had 5 homes.


In 1885 the first St. Mary's church was built by Scotch-Irish Catholics on the west side of South Two Rivers River.  They also built the first school across the road.


In 1894, the name of the post office was changed to HoldingFord and moved to the east side of the river (Wardville) with Valentine Batz as Postmaster.


The village of Holding and Wardeville combined to become Holdingford on August 22, 1896.


Also in 1896 the Union Evangelical Church was started on the east side of the new village.


The early part of the 20th Century, the Village of Holding was a very energetic and thriving village as an economic business and social center for the area.

1907-09 the Soo Line Railroad was built through Holdingford.


In 1908, the Holdingford newspaper "The Advertizer" was founded.


1911 saw the beginning of St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church.


In 1915, St Mary's Church was rebuilt on the east side as the first church on the east side had burned down.


In 1919, a concrete bridge was built over Two Rivers River. It helped advance Holdingford to become the biggest trading center for miles’ around.


In 1921, the addition of the Congregational Church added faith diversity in the area.


In 1930, after several earlier attempts, the name of village was finally changed from Holding to Holdingford, distinguishing the difference between the township and the village.


During prohibition, Stearns County became a large producer of moonshine, when a majority of the farmers in the area began distilling spirits. Stearns County spirits made their way to Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago and Canada. The product was nicknamed "Minnesota 13" after the seed corn it was made from. During prohibition, many say Holdingford was the unofficial moonshine capital of Minnesota.


The Holdingford Soldier's Shrine, built in 1942, was the first WWII war memorial in the US.


In 1946, Konsor Welding was founded, eventually becoming DCI when it moved to Waite Park 1965.


In its hay days of the 1950s-60s Holdingford had:


  • 3 car dealerships
  • 2 meat markets with groceries 
  • 2 dedicated grocery stores
  • 2 hardware stores
  • a restaurant with bar, bowling alley and dance hall
  • a variety store
  • a movie theatre




OFFICIAL Website of the City of Holdingford, Minnesota, U.S.A. Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.