The townsite of Max, ND was originally platted according to a certificate filed by J.G. Sheldrick, Surveyor, on August 8, 1906. Prior to this, people heard rumor that the Soo Line was building north of Garrison by Elbow Lake for the purpose of using water for their steam engines. Businesses were set up on the rolling prairies of an anticipated townsite at this location. The buildings and shacks were arranged in more or less of a haphazard manner due to the fact that they could not be permanently placed until they had purchased a lot.
The name of Max was given to this new town after some controversy. It was, at one time, to be named Junction or Junction City, where the Soo Line tracks from the South branched to the East and West. Max was the first name of the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Freitag. Paul Freitag was the first Postmaster and the first post office to serve this community was on his farm. As the story goes, when the people would go over to the Freitag Post Office to get their mail, Max, a little shaver at that time, would ask the people if they came to his post office to get their mail. The people got in the habit of calling it Max's Post Office and that is the name that stuck when it was moved two miles west to the new townsite.
In January of 1918 the Central Light and Power Co. put up street lights. Prior to this the commercial light and power sold and used by the people of Max was produced by our own P.D. Podhola, in 1915.
A duly signed petition was presented to the Village Board to change to an incorporated city form of government in 1947, with a mayor and council consisting of four aldermen.
In the early fifties, the City Council voted in favor of a new telephone system, waterworks, water mains and sewer. Fire equipment was also updated.
Max History written by Margaret Zaderaka with contribution from Ethel Boettcher
Max History Comments From Our Readers:
7/4/09 David Dahle [email@example.com]
I see you have it on the website where Central Light & Power came to town in 1918. I want to say it's not 100% accurate to say that :)
It was actually known as the Central Power Company at that time - it was reorganized in the summer of 1923 into Central Light & Power - a subsidiary of the Central States Power & Light Corporation (I believe they were headquartered in Oklahoma).
I am interested in finding out when the original Central Power Company was established... besides Max, it served Underwood, Coleharbor, Washburn, Turtle Lake, Mercer, and McClusky. These towns were served by a central plant in Washburn.
To sum up the rest of the history of Central Light & Power up to 1941:
After the reorganization into CL&P, they added Bowdon, Garrison, Granville, and Goodrich.
In 1926, they traded the systems in Washburn, Turtle Lake, Mercer, McClusky, Bowdon, and Goodrich to Otter Tail for systems at Harvey and Fessenden because Otter Tail had just built a line west from its existing system at Carrington to its new plant at Washburn (completed in 1926, retired in 1969). CL&P's original plant was removed shortly after completion of Otter Tail's plant in 1926.
CL&P then started building up an eastern system extending from Fessenden and Harvey to these towns - Drake, Cathay, Anamoose, Martin, Manfred, Hamberg, and Emrick. The main plant for CL&P's eastern system was in Harvey (and which is still standing, although derelict).
In 1927, the isolated system at Granville was sold to Otter Tail.
In 1929, CL&P traded the system at Falkirk and the original line between Underwood and Washburn for an interconnection to Otter Tail's system east of Underwood.
Central States Power & Light Corporation had to be disbanded under the terms of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 and so Otter Tail got the 13 towns served by Central Light & Power in the spring of 1941.