ABERCROMBIE, TOWN OF THE YEAR: Small Town, Big Hearts

Now it's time to celebrate the town's landslide victory! KVRR anchors TJ Nelson and Alison Voorhees, as well as Reporter Jackie Kelly and photographers Patrick Conteh and John Hanson all contributed to this report.

ABERCROMBIE, ND — Abercrombie, a town of 263 people in Richland County, North Dakota, turned out the vote to beat Argyle in our Town of the Year contest.

Now it’s time to celebrate the town’s landslide victory.

KVRR Chief Meteorologist Rob Kupec was in Abercrombie with some very special guests and the plaque presentation.

KVRR CHIEF METEOROLOGIST ROB KUPEC: We have had a great day here in Abercrombie. We’ve been roaming around town, we’ve learned a lot and, I got to say, I couldn’t have done any better with the weather forecast, although it is a little humid but that will be going away and some cooler weather will be coming in. I would now like to bring in the mayor of Abercrombie, Joe Hass. Abercrombie had an astounding vote total this year. How do you think they got so many votes?

MAYOR JOE HASS: I just think people really love their town and they just kept voting as much as they could and they got the vote out. A lot of family and friends outside the town here that are just as proud of it as we are.

RK: It has been an amazing run you’ve had here and Abercrombie, I’ll tell you, from being here today, I’ve learned a lot. It is a wonderful community. On behalf of KVRR and Hardee’s, we want to award you the third annual Town of the Year. Congratulations to Abercrombie! I’d like to bring in one more person here who helped.  David Hammond nominated Abercrombie for Town of the Week originally. When you did that, did you think you were going to go on to this kind of victory?

DAVID HAMMOND, NOMINATED ABERCROMBIE: Yes! Actually I did! After we won the first round, I knew we had it in the bag, I really did. No question.

RK: Because of that and because you knew you had it in the bag, Hardee’s would like to give you a prize pack with a bag full of Hardee’s prizes.

DH: Are there some ham and cheeses?

RK: Probably there’s a few in there! Thanks for your nomination and I think you probably did some work to make it happen.

DH: I think you’ll look good in this shirt!

RK: Excellent! You’re going to give my mom a run for her money on her Aber shirt!

ENJOYING LUNCH AT BRANDON’S FORT SALOON

We had a chance to have lunch with some of the locals in the noon hour.

The hottest spot in town for lunch is Brandon’s Fort Saloon right on Broadway.

Many of us enjoyed their special of the day: a hot pork sandwich complete with potatoes and gravy and apple or peach crisp on the side and it was all delicious!

You can also enjoy burgers, wraps, sandwiches, fish and ribeye as well as a number of sides and salad choices.

Alison, our resident food critic, could not stop talking about her apple crisp, admitting if she had the whole pan, she would have eaten it all.

TJ commented the hot pork sandwich was one of the best he’d ever had, noting the pork was especially juicy and tender.

We want to thank everyone at Brandon’s for the excellent service and for helping us celebrate Abercrombie as KVRR’s Town of the Year.

A PIECE OF HISTORY AT FORT ABERCROMBIE

One of the things that makes Abercrombie different than any other town in is Fort Abercrombie, which offers visitors a look into North Dakota history.

“Fort Abercrombie was the first military fort that was established in what is now North Dakota,” said Paul Nelson, who is a tour guide at the center. Three or four feet of water was here, so of course, the Red River of the North flows north so they thought that maybe this would be a good starting point. He came here in 1858, John Joseph Abercrombie, 62-years-old when he came here.”

However, today the fort is not where it was originally built.

“It was located across the river,” Nelson said. “Actually, it wasn’t across the river. Then it was in an oxbow, but the oxbow has since disappeared. But the reason why it’s not there anymore was because in 1860, it flooded and then they moved it up to this point. In 1877, they shut the fort down. They sold all of the buildings on the place, including our guard house. But in 1939, when the WPA made this into the first North Dakota state historic site, the descendants of the ones who bought that building donated it back. We have one original building here. The most common thing to get punished for was for mistreating your animal. Probably for taking a drink of water before you watered your horse would be enough. Then you would be handcuffed on the bottom underneath like this and then leg ironed on there and you were thrown on that and you were on there as long as the officer wanted you to be thrown on there. They didn’t spend a lot of money on their punishments. That’s the punishment; you had to hold it out like that. These are the solitary confinement. They were locked in there for 23 out of the 24 hours. They went in there with a pail. The pail was for the facilities that they had to use and as we just found out, there were usually always four prisoners a night in this particular jail.”

Fort Abercrombie also has a room full of pictures, maps, and replicas of uniforms and weapons used at the fort.

If you’re curious and think your ancestors were a part of Fort Abercrombie, they have documentation and could help look up a part of your family history.

Rob will have more about Abercrombie tonight at 9.

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