About Us

Our History


In 1879 the first settlers to come to the Fertile area were Knute Nelson and his brother Einar Nelson, together with their uncle Lars A. Bolstad. These men had emigrated from Evanger, Voss, Norway. After a short sojourn in southern Minnesota, they arrived in Polk County on May 13, 1879. These pioneers went directly to Crookston’s U.S. Land Office and returned to their claims on May 17, 1879. A few days later in June, Askeld Olsen Morvig and his brother Anders Olsen Morvig, together with Jacob Hanson Aldal, also from Voss and Bergen, arrived at the Fertile area and took homesteads next to one another, just slightly east of Jacob Aldal’s claim and Knute Nelson’s homestead.

From June 1879 well into 1880, people began to quickly take up homesteads in and around the Fertile area. One of the early settlers was Thomas Johnson Lensegrav and his family, who took a homestead near the Sandhill River. Another of the early settlers was Otto Kankel, a miller by profession, who had begun flour and grist mills at Fergus Falls, Elizabeth and Faith. He finally purchased some property on the Sandhill River just south of present day Fertile, where he built a flour and grist mill and later a grand home next to his mill. He had purchased this land from Thomas Johnson Lensegrav.

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Our Future Plans

"When I was elected mayor on January 1, 2017 I asked all the council to help me make a list of priority items that they felt we could accomplish in the near future. As a result the following has been accomplished:

  • The nursing home was our first priority and we have made good progress. We had a consulting firm make recommendations and we are addressing them.
  • We have addressed law enforcement and realized we could not afford the extra costs.
  • The city is working with property owners to address dead trees and unkempt properties.
  • We are working with the AELC to get regional park status which will open greater funding possibilities.
  • We are working with our engineers to address our water and sewer upgrades that are needed and grant opportunities to help fund them. We are also developing long range plans for our streets, airport, and industrial park.
  • The city is currently building a warming house and bathrooms and a splash park west of the school. We hope to move the skating rink to the new location this fall, but will have to see how fast the new building can be completed.
  • We have also completed a camper dump station at Northside with only signage left to complete.
  • The council also agreed to get all the city's past minutes on the web site soon. This is a large task. We now try to get our draft council minutes on the web site within two weeks of our meetings.
  • I am very proud to announce Daniel Lene has been hired to replace our retired employee, Dana Knutson. I would like to wish Dana a happy retirement and welcome Daniel to our city maintenance department.

The council has expressed they want accountability and openness in all our government activities. I am very pleased with the progress we have made and look forward to completing more of the list soon."

Daniel Wilkens, - Mayor

Order up your History Book today!

Pick up your copy of the new book of the history of Fertile “These Our Roots – Volume 2.”  This book has over 450 pages of photos, family histories and histories of area businesses and organizations.  The book also includes 20 pages of photos from the 125th Celebration. 

A limited number of books are available so pick up your copy today.   The cost of the book is $35 and books are available at Encore and the City Office.

Books can also be ordered and shipped directly to you.  The cost of shipping is an additional $8 and must be paid at the time of ordering.  Please click on the link below for an order form. 

History Order Book Form

Contact us

Our City Office

Telephone Number:
Fax Number:
City Administrator:
Lisa Liden
Billing Clerk:
Stacy Erickson
City Maintenance:
  • Kevin Nephew, Director of Public Works
  • Chris Zimmel, Public Works


Mayor Daniel Wilkens

Serving as Mayor has always been in the back of my mind as something I’d like to do.  Nearing the retirement age, with my family raised and grown, I now have the time needed to devote to the job.  Fertile has been a great place to raise my family and the school system is one to be envied.  With main street businesses needing support and City debt a concern, I believe my experience in government leadership can be an asset to Fertile.


City Council

The City Council meets the 2nd Monday of the month at 6:30 PM and the public is invited and encouraged to attend. Click here to view the minutes of our previous meeting.

How We Work?

The Administrator and city mayor work with the support of the council and all city employees. The City government work is done through elected officials which meet in public and publish decisions. All of our minutes are also published.

1 Administrator
3City Employees
5 Elected Officials
9 People working for you
Updates from the Mayor Office.
  • Psst! We've got inside information on City happenings! Click here to read the Mayor comments from the latest happenings.