Celebrate 100 years in Golden Valley
By Chris Erickson
This weekend centennial season continues in the area and starts in Mercer County with the celebration of Golden Valley’s 100th birthday.
One century ago the town was founded by George V. Bratzel, who worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Bratzel had worked for the railroad in both Beach and Hebron. After losing his position to the son of a newly-appointed station agent, Bratzel decided to start a city of his own rather than be transferred again. According to historical record, Bratzel was told that if he built a town, the rail would come to it.
Bratzel found a site 40 miles north of Hebron near the current farm of Daniel Brecht. After selecting a site and receiving his appointment as postmaster, his initials and the “golden grasses” of the area prompted the naming of Golden Valley. From there the message went out to the railroad that the town was alive, although would have to move itself two miles later on to intersect with the rail line itself.
Classes began in 1914 at the town hall referred by some as Opry House. Later, a consolidation of school districts witih Golden Valley created a schoolhouse full of 63 students. By 1915 the Juezeler School District was created, named for a local rancher and needed for high school students. The name held until the 1970s.