St. Hilaire, Minnesota

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St. Hilaire is a city in section 6 of River Falls Township in Pennington County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 272 at the 2000 census.



St. Hilare was platted in 1882 and incorporated as a village on the auspicious date of July 4, 1883. Also on that date, St. Hilaire had rail service for the first time, as the Great Northern Railway opened a branch line from Crookston, Minnesota through Shirley, seven miles north of Crookston, Dorothy and Ives Station, to St. Hilaire.

St. Hilaire received its name in one of three ways:

  • A Frenchman named St. Hilaire lived in a shack by the Red Lake River, selling items like gunpowder and tobacco, and when an item was needed, residents would "go to St. Hilaire" for it, and the name stuck.
  • A Frenchman named Arthur Yvernault bought land on which the townsite was then platted and named for his hometown in France.
  • It was named by Hon. Frank Ives for the French Statesman and author Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, who was born in Paris, August 19, 1805, and died November 24, 1895. Frank Ives was a judge in Crookston, MN, which was the county seat of Polk County (of which Pennington was then a part) and his son, Harry Ives, was the postmaster when the St. Hilaire post office began in 1882 while still part of Polk County. Frank Ives owned land in St. Hilaire, but never lived there. This third possibility was favored by historian Warren Upham, and by extension by the Minnesota Historical Society. [3]

Harry Ives was also the publisher of the St. Hilaire Spectator, the first newspaper to serve this community. The Spectator was published from 1883 to 1942, when it closed and sold its subscription list to the Thief River Falls Times.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.2 km²), of which, 0.8 square miles (2.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (8.33%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 272 people, 121 households, and 68 families residing in the city. The population density was 354.0 people per square mile (136.4/km²). There were 127 housing units at an average density of 165.3/sq mi (63.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.53% White, and 1.47% from two or more races.

There were 121 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.0% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.88.

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