LANGOLA TOWNSHIP -- The very first townsite ever settled in Benton County is likely one you've never heard of. The town of Langola was established in 1853, earlier than the town of Watab or Sauk Rapids.

Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby says it was in Langola Township along the Platte River about 2 1/2 miles from Rice. It was established there because it was on the Red River Ox Cart Trail.

Image courtesy of Benton County Historical Society

Ostby says it quickly grew into a bustling community.

The village grew fast with a store, two saloons, a livery stable, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, and they were the very first school district from 1855.

However, almost as quickly as it grew, Langola became deserted. Ostby says its demise was when the railroad came through to the west of the town.

They redid that and so once the railroad came through in 1868 to 1875, they hit Sauk Rapids in 1868 and progressively went north, Rice grew and Langola died out.

The railroad was finished in Rice in 1875 and by 1879 there wasn't much left of the town. However, the school did continue to operate there until 1952.

The three towns of Langola, Rice and Royalton all existed simultaneously for about 20 years.

Back in the 1970s, you could still find a few old cellars where Langola used to be, but Ostby assumed they've all been filled in by now.

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