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Sanders Flats named in honor of Moorhead homesteaders

The Maier House is now located at Bonanzaville Pioneer Village. Contributed photo: Bonanzaville USA

The spot that now serves as a foundation for the new Sanders Flats apartment building in Moorhead was once a plot of land—and dream come true—for a family of Germans from Russia in the 19th century.

Today, the name Sanders Flats honors the Sanders family, a clan with deep roots in the neighborhood dating back to the 1880s. Thanks to a Forum of Fargo-Moorhead article published on May 22, 1983, as well as interviews with family member Jim Sanders Jr., we get a glimpse into this land that holds the legacy of generations of a family whose history is so deeply woven into the history of Moorhead.

"My dad built our house, so we had a lot of attachment to our home and the history our family has to the land."

Siblings Dorothy Taylor Sanders and Merle Taylor stand in front of their childhood home in this article clipping courtesy of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Sanders Flats now stands in its place. The family donated the historic Maier House to the Cass County Historical Society’s Bonanzaville Pioneer Village. Contributed image: Forum files

According to Forum reports, in the late 1880s, a young girl named Magdalina Maier moved with her parents and seven siblings to the land in Moorhead, which was a farm at the time.

According to the Cass County Historical Society, “The house originally had two rooms and was plastered with mud and straw. In 1898, a lean-to addition was built, and the house increased in size by two rooms.”


Magdalina lived in the home throughout her adolescence. The youngest child, she inherited the home after her parents died. Her siblings had been given land on the homestead when they married.

As an adult, Magdalina Maier Taylor Hansen lived in the home through her two marriages and her seven years of widowhood. She farmed and sold the vegetables and flowers that they grew on the land.

Magdalina had two children, Merle and Dorothy Taylor, with her first husband.

By 1940, much of the neighborhood had been established, and Magdalina’s home also got electricity, according to the Cass County Historical Society. She didn’t get plumbing in her home until the 1950s and never had hot water.

Jim and Dorothy Sanders’ home circa 1962. Contributed photo: The Sanders family

Meet the Sanders

When Magdalina’s children Merle and Dorothy Taylor became adults, each were given a piece of the land on the original homestead.

Merle Taylor and his wife Georgia lived at 1610 7th St. S. Their neighbors were Merle’s sister Dorothy Taylor Sanders and her husband Jim Sanders, a longtime employee of Twin City Freight.

Jim and Dorothy, Merle and Georgia enjoyed being neighbors throughout their entire adult lives.

 

According to Jim Sanders Jr., Dorothy had fond memories of growing up on the land, working on the family vegetable farm, and raising their children, Jim and David.

“My parents were known for their beautiful gardens, especially the red geraniums that adorned them,” Jim Jr. said. “They were active members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and loved dancing. Jim and Dorothy were married for 69 years.”

Jim passed away in 2015 and Dorothy, who lived at Eventide Fairmont, died in 2021.

Dorothy and Jim’s home, as well as that of Merle and Georgia were sold. Surviving members of the Taylor family moved to the Brainerd, Minn., area. Jim Sanders Jr. lives in Fargo.

Eventide Living Center resident uncovers more historical connections

Thanks to some sleuthing by MaryBeth (Meyer) Kalvig, the history of Eventide's land in Moorhead is all the richer. MaryBeth's grandparents were related to Magdalina Maier and also lived and farmed on the land.

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Sanders Flats named in honor of Moorhead homesteaders

The Maier House is now located at Bonanzaville Pioneer Village. Contributed photo: Bonanzaville USA The spot that now serves as a foundation for the new Sanders Flats apartment building in Moorhead was once a plot of land—and dream come true—for a family of Germans from Russia in the 19th century. Today, the name Sanders Flats

Read More »

Resident’s research uncovers surprising generational connections

MaryBeth (Meyers) Kalvig, 80, moved into The Eventide Living Center in Moorhead in 2022. Little did she know, her cozy apartment on the second floor stands where her immigrant grandparents’ home once stood in the early 1900s—a happy coincidence. “Their house was either right here where I live or just a few apartments down from

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