History of the Village of Friesland
Early settlers, primarily of German and Welsh decent, initially called the area the Town of Le Roy. On April 3, 1848 the name was changed to the Town of Portage Prairie and one year later in 1849, the name was changed again, at which point it became the Town of Randolph. The very center of the 6 square miles in the township, which consists of 36 sections, was established as a village called Randolph Centre.
Even though Randolph Centre, at an early day was platted as a village, not enough residents were interested in becoming village officers. Therefore, it remained part of the Town of Randolph and was governed by the Town Board.
In 1910 and 1911, Chicago & Northwestern Railroad extended a line through Randolph Centre. The community was fortunate enough to have a depot placed here and sadly it was demolished in the 1970’s. At the time, the mail was delivered by rail. The Randolph Center community wished to have a post office. The postal authorities demanded that a different name be chosen for this community. They felt there would be too much confusion with South Randolph, the Village of Randolph, the Township of Randolph and Randolph Centre. Randolph Centre was renamed Friesland by the Dutch immigrants. The name was chosen in honor of their homeland, the Province of Friesland in the Netherlands.
Several residents of Friesland felt it would be beneficial to become an incorporated village. They had a strong desire for self-government. On October 2, 1946, action was taken to become incorporated as the Village of Friesland.
On November 12, 1946 the Town of Randolph Board met with the newly established Village of Friesland Board and transferred ownership of the Friesland Cemetery to the Village.
On February 23, 1950, the village board received a petition asking, “Shall the incorporated Village of Friesland be dissolved?” It was signed by 56 residents. The question was placed on a referendum on April 4, 1950. The result: 60 YES Votes and 104 NO Votes. The Village of Friesland remained an incorporated Village.
After discussing the benefits and disadvantages of a public water utility for years, the question of operating a municipal water utility was put to a referendum on June 22, 1954. The result: 77 YES votes were cast and 52 NO votes. The Friesland Water Utility was established and completed in 1956 with Norman Bobholz being appointed as Water Commissioner.
On June 2, 1958, Ordinance # 17 was adopted which approved the organization of Friesland Fire Department. The siren for the Department was donated by Tuenis Tillema and the tower for the siren was donated by Hugh Heidt.
In 1976, the Village Board entered into an agreement with Ron and Jane Tesch to purchase land for the development of a park and seven building lots. The Friesland Park was developed using LAWCON Funding and many hours of volunteer labor and all seven lots were sold and developed with single-family homes.
In 1979, the Village of Friesland was the recipient of a $475,000 Federal Grant to install a public sewer system. The balance was paid with municipal bonds in the amount of $186,000.
Many businesses have called Friesland home over the years. There were 3 different grocery stores, a hardware store, an implement business, several gas stations, a car dealership, two feed mills, a lumber yard, a meat locker, a stockyard, an egg and produce business, a trucking company, a storage company, an electrical business, a window factory, a propane gas company, a dairy equipment dealer, a refrigeration business, a plumber, a blacksmith shop, a barber shop, a flower shop, two bars and a bank. As times change, people travel to cities for shopping and employment and most small-town businesses no longer can survive in the villages.
Today, Friesland is best known for the Friesland Band Concerts and Pie and Ice Cream Socials, the Friesland Firemen’s annual Chicken BBQ, the July 4th Celebration. We are proud of the businesses that remain in Friesland and it is home to 356 residents.