Descendants of early East Grand Forks promoter see historic home
As three great-grandchildren of Judge John C. Sherlock toured his historic home, now a museum on Heritage Village grounds in East Grand Forks, they learned about the man whose tireless promotional efforts helped to develop the city and the northe...
As three great-grandchildren of Judge John C. Sherlock toured his historic home, now a museum on Heritage Village grounds in East Grand Forks, they learned about the man whose tireless promotional efforts helped to develop the city and the northern Red River Valley in the early 1900s.
On their first visit to the area Friday, brothers Gene and Chad Sherlock and their sister Suzanne (Sherlock) Boyd were anxious to discover more about Jack Sherlock and his accomplishments that attracted businesses, more residents, and helped the region progress.
"It's a little overwhelming," said Chad Sherlock, of Hugo, Minn. "Learning the history has been just amazing."
Until he started genealogy research last year, Gene Sherlock, Shoreview, Minn., knew very little about his great-grandfather, he said.
"Dad would talk about the Sherlock Park neighborhood," he said. "We didn't realize we were camping in it."
Gene and few other family members and close friends had brought their campers to the campground near downtown.
During their visit to Heritage Village, they spent time soaking up all the historical information they could about Jack Sherlock.
"It's very exciting," said Boyd, who lives in Stillwater, Minn. "It's nice to know he was a prominent person who did a lot for the community."
Looking around the front parlor of the house, she said, "It's very interesting-and nice to see where the family came from, all the heritage and history behind our family."
The house was built by Sherlock in 1897-on the only patch of land that didn't flood that spring-in the neighborhood that was later named Sherlock Park, said Teri Hammarback, president of Heritage Village.
As a kind of tour guide, Henry Tweten, local lawyer and historian, offered insights on Sherlock's character.
"John C. Sherlock was the best salesman of anybody who ever walked the sidewalks of East Grand Forks," Tweten said. "He was a deal-maker."
He quoted a historical document which described Sherlock as "an esteemed and enterprising" person.
"J.C. was probably the most loved person who ever came here," Tweten said.
In any initiative to attract or build business for East Grand Forks, "the guy behind the scenes was always J.C.," said Tweten, who credited Sherlock with American Crystal Sugar Co.'s decision to locate a plant there.
A major employer in the area, "American Crystal is the greatest stabilizer of our economy," he said.
Near downtown, the Red River State Recreation Campground occupies the former Sherlock Park neighborhood, evidence of which appears on signs throughout the park. Two streets, Sherlock Parkway and Sherlock Circle, in the city are named for the early leader.
As the Sherlock's great-grandchildren browsed around the main floor of the house, which had been moved from Sherlock Park to the Heritage Village after the flood of 1997, they commented
about family resemblances evident in the heirloom pictures on display.
Married in 1902, John and Ida (Maguire) Sherlock raised five children in this house where he lived until his death in 1944.
For Judge Sherlock's descendants, being in the same space where he, his wife and children lived their daily lives was meaningful.
"It give you chills a little bit," Chad Sherlock said.