Alexander Griggs (1838 – 1903) is considered the Founder of Grand Forks. Griggs filed the first land plat in the Original Townsite in 1875. Steamboat captain and builder, Griggs was an integral part of the steamboat era. He learned his navigational skills on the Mississippi River and earned his pilot’s license at nineteen. Partnering with railroad magnate, James J. Hill, Griggs established a steamboat enterprise on the Red River of the North and built the Selkirk in 1871. Griggs vigorously promoted the early development of Grand Forks. He founded the Second National Bank, established the gas works, and built the Grand Forks Roller Mill, the first brick city block and a hotel, the Griggs House. Griggs was the city’s third postmaster and was politically active, serving on the City Council, the Board of County Commissioners, the Railroad Commission, the state constitutional convention, and as Mayor from 1888 to 1889.
This statue, sculpted by Nicholas Legeros and Heidi J. Hoy, stands on the County Courthouse grounds. It was commissioned by the Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission with funding provided by the City of Grand Forks, the North Valley Arts Council, the River Forks Commission, and the County of Grand Forks. The dedication ceremony was held on May 23, 2001.