Inside a U-shaped bend of the Park River in Grafton is the quiet, charming Historic Elmwood State Park. The 20-acre slice of land consists of seven acres of river bottom forest that is protected by the Natural Area Registry and 10 acres of wooded fields teeming with wild flowers as well as flora and fauna. The remaining three acres is a lovely turn-of-the-century Victorian mansion that is the main attraction of the park and which belongs to the National Register of Historic Places in the US.
From the intersection of US Highway 81 and ND Highway 17, you can reach the park by driving north on Highway 81 then east to 5th Street. Cross the railroad tracks to Stephen Avenue then drive north for two blocks to Historic Elmwood.
The Historic Elmwood House was built in 1895 by C.A.M. Spencer, the state’s second attorney general, and was purchased by William C. Treumann, commander of the North Dakota Volunteers, a few years later. In 1913, Treumann registered the house and the surrounding property as Elmwood.
More than three decades later, Luther and Mary Nancy Williamson, owners of one of the state’s last independent milk companies, bought Elmwood and had it registered in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1986, the Williamsons donated the property to the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. Three years later, Historic Elmwood was opened to the public.
The house on Historic Elmwood can be rented as a venue for special occasions, such as small weddings, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, and conferences. The Victorian oak doors and banister, maple fireplace, and the pine-painted woodwork provide the perfect setting for an intimate event. The surrounding property also has picnic shelters and hiking trails for outdoor adventurers.
Family picnics and easy to moderate nature hikes are best done on Historic Elmwood. For history-lovers, interpretive tours of the place are also provided.