In 1868, Alex Richardson and Andrew Sanstead received a patent grant to land that was the beginning of the village of Garfield. In 1885, Sanstead acquired Richardson’s holdings and had the land surveyed and began selling lots. Garfield was officially incorporated as a village in September 1905.
Garfield’s first mayor was Torgels Knutson, who operated the local butcher shop and hardware store. The hardware business remained in the Knutson family until 1954.
The first mail was brought in by stagecoach and was dispatched by the owner of the store that served as the coach stop. Around 1880, a post office was officially established in Garfield.
Early transportation was by means of horseback, oxcart, wagon, and stage coach. A branch of the Old Red River Trail came within 2/3 of a mile from town. In 1879, the Great Northern Railroad pushed through Garfield. Highways were gravel until 1932 when Highway 52, the major east/west route before Interstate 94, was constructed of concrete almost parallel to the railroad in this area.
The first school in Garfield was originally in a home. A two story frame building was erected in about 1905 and remained in use as a school until 1916, when a brick building was constructed. In 1969, an addition was erected that included four large classrooms, a library, gymnasium, cafeteria, kitchen, and boiler room.
In 1928, the village was almost completely destroyed by fire. The entire east side of Main Street was left in ruins except for the bank building. The first fire department was organized in 1911 and updated in 1934.
The city hall was built in 1951, primarily to have a place to house the fire trucks and provide a place for public meetings. In 1979, the building was extensively remodeled.
Garfield observed it’s 50th anniversary with a big, three day celebration and parade in July 1955. The 75th anniversary was celebrated in August 1980. The 100th anniversary was celebrated in August 2005.