Dakota Datebook

First Flax Fiber Mill

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The first flax fiber mill in North Dakota was still under construction today in 1899, but the Record promised that the mill would introduce a new industrial era for the state. At the time of the construction, 600,000 acres in the Red River Valley produced some of the finest flax in the country. For this reason, the French-Hickman Flax Fiber Company, Limited of London and Boston chose Fargo as the site for the new mill to manufacture the pulp for their linen writing paper.

This $30 million mill was expected to be completed in December of that year, and would operate day and night, providing jobs for 200 employees. The plant was expected to produce 60 tons of fiber per day to be shipped to the manufacturing plant at Niagara Falls. All looked enthusiastically to the operation of the mill, which was the largest in the northwest. The Record reported, “There is good money in such mills and a little enterprise in that direction will bring large financial returns,” and other cities were looking into joining this new industry themselves.

By Tessa Sandstrom

“The first flax fiber mill,” The Record. November 1899: 8.
“It is catching,” The Record. November 1899: 8.

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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