Crookston is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Polk County. The population was 7,891 at the 2010 census. It is part of the "Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area" or "Greater Grand Forks".
Crookston is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston. Since Crookston is close to the larger city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, many people who live in Crookston commute to jobs in the Grand Forks area.
The area in which Crookston is located was virtually unoccupied during pre-European contact and remained little more than a hunting ground associated with the Pembina settlements until the 1860s. The land in the immediate vicinity of Crookston is not connected with any verifiable Native American or European historic events or circumstances until transfer in the Treaties of Old Crossing in 1863 and 1864. Prior to that time, the territory now included in Crookston was technically a part of Rupert's Land and Assiniboia before becoming part of the United States as a result of the boundary settlement in the Treaty of 1818.
The area in which Crookston is located was traversed by trappers and traders including Ojibwa and Lakota Indians, Metis, and other mixed-race people as well as white men between 1790 and 1870. A branch of the Red River Trails passed nearby; it was used by fur traders between the 1840s and 1870s.
The present day site of Crookston first saw settlement by non-Indian people around 1872. It was the site of a federal land office by 1876 and sited on a portion of the Great Northern Railway which began operations prior to 1880. The town was incorporated on April 1, 1879 as "Queen City." By the end of that year, the town boasted a jail, graded streets, and a few plank sidewalks. Soon, it was decided that the town needed a new name. Two factions emerged that supported two different names. One group wished to honor the town's first mayor, Captain Ellerey C. Davis, by renaming "Queen City" to "Davis." Another group picked the name Crookston to honor Colonel William Crooks, a soldier and railroad builder. The present day name was reportedly chosen by means of a coin toss.
Crookston has not seen a major period of population growth for quite some time and the economy has suffered from increased competition from nearby Grand Forks, North Dakota. In what has been a socioeconomic marker of sorts in the US, a Wal-Mart opened in Crookston in 2007. Typical of many small towns across America, many buildings in the historic downtown area of Crookston have been abandoned as local stores have closed.