Duquette, situated on the banks of the upper Willow river and the Great Northern railway, is the natural central point in a section where dairy farming is the main industry.
Not so very many years ago the principal source of income of the settlers, and about the only commodities shipped out, was cord wood, ties, posts, pulp wood and other forest products.
Today by far the greatest income is from butterfat, and the most valuable export is Land O' Lakes butter. Potatoes, eggs, and live stock are also being shipped out in ever increasing quantities.
Some 35 or 40 years ago, at the time the Great Northern railway, or as it was then known, the Eastern Minnesota railway, was built through this section, Frank Duquette, a French-Canadian woodsman, came here and built a small saw mill and established a small general store and saloon, and operated on a small scale for a number of years. A number of French-Canadian families settled here with him, who worked in the woods during the winter and in the saw mill during the summer. The large logging operators however soon had the valuable pine timber cut and the small operators were soon left with small lots of less valuable timber, and our old friend Duquette soon quit and the people who came with him began to drift elsewhere. In the meantime, however, some homesteaders had settled in the vicinity and some of the cut-over land was offered cheap and a number of other settlers came in.
In 1903 Frank Duquette sold his store and some of his land to Anderson & Co. who put in a stock of merchandise more suitable for a farming community and furnished a market for whatever commodities the settlers had to sell. In 1905 the firm was reorganized and incorporated under the firm name of Anderson Erickson Co., and from that time till now this firm has taken a leading part in helping to build up this section of the country. A post office was established and a townsite surveyed and named Duquette, in honor of the fine old gentleman who first started business here.
It is not so much of a town as towns go, a depot, a general store, a lumber yard, a harness and shoe repairing shop, blacksmith shop, a potato warehouse, a fine farmers' co-operative creamery, privately owned, but leased and operated by the Farmers' Co-Operative Creamery Association, and where they make Land O' Lakes butter, a modern, up-to-date school house (consolidated school), one of the finest in the state for the size of the district, and last, but not least, the community hall, built and owned by the Duquette Community Association, a co-operative stock company. The hall is a monument to the public spirit of the community and an object of pride to its people.
The Oak Lake Farmers' Co-Operative Telephone Company, another co-operative institution, furnishes telephone service among the farmers and with the rest of the world through its connection with the North Western telephone system at Moose Lake. Good roads, good water and a soil that will produce in abundance any crop suitable to this climate. Right now, when so large a section of Minnesota and other states are threatened with less than half crops, the crops here, with the exception of hay in some places, are above normal. But of all the great and valuable assets of this community, the greatest and the most valuable is the honesty, integrity, industry and public spirit of the many good men and women of the community, as fine and true a lot of people as there are to be found anywhere. Lots of room and a hearty welcome to a lot more of the same kind.