Hebron, a small town in western North Dakota, is the perfect example of small-town mid-western American life. Located approximately 60 miles west of Bismarck, it is not well known and is barely even historically significant. It was started as a water stop for trains along the Northern Pacific Railway (small towns were planted every 10 miles), which still bisects the town. But, first some statistics, and then a brief analysis of these statistics, and some more town description.
Geography and Economics
- Population (2000): 803
- Males: 373 (46.5%)
- Females: 430 (53.5%
- White Non-Hispanic (95.8%)
- American Indian (1.5%)
- Two or more races (1.5%)
- Hispanic (1.1%)
- Other race (1.1%) note: totals are geater than 100% because Hispanics may have also been counted as other races
- Elevation: 2,167 feet
- Land Area: 1.5 square miles
- Median resident age: 44.6 years
- Median household income: $22,283 (year 2000)
- Median house value: $24,700 (year 2000)
So, we have a small area with a small amount of residents. This means that it is in reality possible to go trick-or-treating
to every single home
on Halloween without starting before dinner. However, you will still only get about half a pillowcase
Other notable trends are the marked female majority. This is probably explained by the fact that women tend to live longer than men, and this actually comes into play with a community with a median age of 45.
Economically, Hebron is weak. The main industry in town, and verily, its lifeblood, is a brick factory on its west side. However, this requires a largely uneducated labor force. The only other main industries are the family farms surrounding the area. Peripheral businesses in the hamlet are the gas stations, grocery store, drug store, and other standard fare required to keep the people in town happy. Due to this lack of demand for skilled work, the youth of the town usually don't come back once they've gone to college, largely because they won't have a job if they do.
Nonetheless, the local K-12 school still operates, and the sports mascot (the Brickmakers, possibly the most ungainly moniker ever conceived) is still worn on uniforms of the few teams they can afford to keep. Due to shrinking class sizes, Hebron High School has been forced to co-op with former rival Glen Ullin for most varsity sports.
However, this town (composed largely of retirees), does have plenty of civic organizations. The local Lion's Club, Jaycees, Historical Society (of which my grandfather is the president), library, American Legion, and numerous other clubs are all active. Also, a community pool is operated by civic funds, and is the social hub for youth in the summer.
All these clubs have floats in the annual Fall Festival, held on a weekend in mid-September. On this day, the town shuts down for the candy throwing, potato-sack racing, and egg-tossing that small town festivals are known for. Another festival, Watermelon Days, occurs in early July. Then, the local business association buys 1.5 tons of watermelon and spends all day cutting it up and giving it away to the many spectators of the booths and other activities surrounding it. This event coincides with the yearly all-class reunion for Hebron High School, so all the alumni who are living the good life in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Fargo are in town.
The religion of the town is decidedly Christian, with a number of different sects represented. There are UCC, Baptist, Methodist, Congregational, Roman Catholic, and even Jehovah's Witness places of worship in town.
Historically, only two notable things have ever happened in or near Hebron. The first was that Custer and his men of the 7th Cavalry camped about a mile outside of town on their way to the Little Bighorn. Second, during an Indian uprising in the late 1800's, the local settlers frantically built a fort to protect themselves, and called it Fort Sauerkraut. The Indians never came, and it was abandoned after a week.
Altogether, Hebron is a troubled, but still charming town. If you ever happen to be driving across North Dakota on Interstate 94, stop off and take a look.