The origins of the town of Golva, North Dakota go back to 1913, but once the railroad came through the area in 1915, development began. Built with horses, mules and wagons, the railroad was completed in 1916.
Golva is located in Lone Tree Township, within Golden Valley County, North Dakota. When the town was platted, it was intended to serve as the county seat, which never occurred. Golva's name was derived from the first three letters of "Golden" and the first two letters of "Valley", a name that was suggested by the original townsite owner, A.L. Martin.
Prior to 1915, most of the local businesses were in Burkey, about four miles southwest of Golva. Saint Mary's Catholic Church was moved from Burkely to Golva in 1920, where it served until it was torn down in 1968, and replaced by a new building. In 1920, the Equity Elevator burned, and the Farmers Elevator was built in its place. The business community of Golva once included a hardware store, grocery store, car dealership, lumberyard, two grain elevators, two bars, a few restaurants, and several other businesses. Currently, there are still two elevators in Golva, along with a lumberyard, gas station, bank, grocery store, and a church.
The Golva, North Dakota post office was established in 1916. Golva's first school was a one-room country school house, which was replaced by a larger, brick building in 1917, to which a new addition was added in 1971. Golva High School and Golva Elementary School were in the same building from 1920 to 1972, when a new elementary school was constructed next to the high school. However, the high school was closed in 1989, and eventually dismantled due to low enrollment. The Golva Public School now serves about twenty-five students in grades K-8th grade. Golva students in grades nine through twelve are transported to Beach, North Dakota.
Never a large town, businesses did well in Golva until the Great Depression, when many business people had to sell out and move on. Golva never fully recovered.
Currently, the population of Golva is under one hundred, but it is still a vibrant community. Referring to their home as the "Biggest Little Town on the Prairie", townspeople host a 4th of July celebration each year, with a picnic, dance, and fireworks display that brings hundreds of people to Golva, many of them former residents.
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