View of Humboldt from Space

This one is just for fun.  Not everyone would bother to use Google Earth to find small places like Humboldt.

Google Earth is such a great idea.  Not only are the pictures useful but they also happen to be free.  There was a time that this cost heaps of money and in general was not accessible by the average person.  Things certainly have advanced in this area.

This is the thumbnail of Humboldt.  Please click on it if you would like to see the full size picture.

Space view of Humboldt Minnesota

What’s cool about this is that you really can understand how small Humboldt is.  Based on the census of 2000, there are only 61 people left in town.  This seems to be directly related to how many people it takes to farm.  It is now common for a farmer to need at least 2000 acres to be able to make a go of it.  With the same of amount of land available, this means less farmers.  Another trend is to move out of towns and be located closer to the fields.  Or, perhaps it is not so important to be located close to the farm at all.  In a place where it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere else, it is understandable that people don’t mind driving.

In general, the old small towns are dying.  There is a incredibly small town between Humboldt and Hallock called Northcote.  Over the years, I watched as more and more houses disappeared.  Years ago, I heard that only three families still lived in town.  I do not know what the latest count is.  In a way, Northcote was like a modern ghost town.

I just tried to find you a decent reference for Northcote but basically it does not exist anymore.  Instead, I found this interesting reference for Kittson County Townships matched with towns.  Northcote does show up here but only in a brief mention.  I am certain that a more extensive search would find more information but I was really only looking for surface information.

Grandpa would have liked this technology (Google Earth).  He loved his fields and he always loved taking the visitors for the farm tour.  Google Earth would have been icing on the cake to be able to see any of his fields from the sky.  He really loved farming and would share his enthusiasm with anyone that would listen.  He had some really great stories and ideas and I really wish that there had some way to capture this before he had his stroke.  It seems like these kind of things are just destined to be lost unless someone takes a hell of a lot of energy to preserve them.

I think the real problem is that young people just take these kind of things for granted and that it is only when they enter middle age do they realize that the older generation knew something special and perhaps it would have been wiser to learn and record a bit more instead of going and repeating the same mistakes over again.

Anyways, here’s a sample of Humboldt.  You’ll notice that the co-ordinates are part of the picture so that you can hover over the area in Google Earth if you so desire.


4 thoughts on “View of Humboldt from Space

  1. That is amazing Jeff. You can see the building behind Mom and Dad’s house and the cement floor of the old gymnasium. You are right Grandpa would have gotten a kick out of seeing his farm and land.

  2. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading your blog and loved this piece on Humboldt. I didn’t know Google Earth existed so this was all new to me. I just did a Humboldt head count and the town now has 45 people in it and with an aging population, that number will continue to decline. But it will always be “home”.

  3. I’ve also did St. Vincent using Google Earth – a really neat program isn’t it?! I also have watched Northcote get smaller. Last summer when I was up north for the Humboldt Centennial, we drove into the James J. Hill estate to look closer and see what was left of the original buildings. Strange to say, but all the time I was growing up, we never did that…

  4. Trish,
    Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to see places now that Google Earth exists?

    The trend to getting smaller and smaller continues until the town essentially evaporates. That would tend to imply that Humboldt will probably be gone by the end of the century. Sad, but true.

    It seems that small towns just don’t have the role they did at the beginning of the 1900’s. Of course I wasn’t there to observe it but I would say that the automobile and good roads had a lot to do with this trend.

    In theory, more exciting things are happening somewhere else. Oh, and the fact that better jobs exist in the bigger cities.

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