The city of Napoleon, Dakota Territory was founded in 1884, and named after Napoleon Goodsill, a pioneer store keeper and president of the townsite board. The story and a half structure he built marked the beginning of settlement in Logan County.
In 1885 the first county courthouse was built in Napoleon, a small 12’x16’ shack that at times also served as a post office, a hotel, a newpaper office, and a private residence. The current courthouse, was completed in 1937 is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
In 1886, George A. Bryant established the Napoleon Homestead, a newspaper business that continues to publish news and events to this day.
The railroad finally reached Napoleon in 1898, carrying materials and crews to construct a depot, water tank, and livestock pens. More settlers followed, businesses sprung up, and the town’s population grew.
By 1899 a dispute arose concerning the location of the county seat. In a contested election, the town of King claimed the right to become the county seat and removed county records from Napoleon. Later that year a judge threw out the election results and ordered county records to be returned to Napoleon, which remains today the seat of Logan County.
As the years passed, and more settlers moved onto the rich farmland surrounding Napoleon, the city became an important trading center to the region.
Those early pioneers endured sometimes brutal weather, crop failures, and personal hardship, but they worked hard to build a community that today reflects the dedication, commitment, and forward thinking of those early settlers.
We are proud of our past, and we’re excited about our future. We invite you to join us as we create tomorrow’s history, here in Napoleon, North Dakota.
Napoleon is the largest city in Logan County and is home to the county seat.
*Today Napoleon offers a land rich in opportunity: for businesses, families, farmers, industry ... and for more people willing to call Napoleon home.
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