Williston Turns 125 Years Old | VideoEvan Kruegel | 7/18/2012
"It was called, even back then, the land of opportunity. I think because it was on a river and there was a railroad here, but it was a land of opportunity then, and it`s a land of opportunity now”, Said Williston Mayor Ward Koeser.
The access to two major rivers and a developed railroad system made Williston ideal for agriculture, but that all changed with the first oil boom in 1951.
"Back then when the city started we didn`t know what oil was and there were no prospects for that in our area. This has always been an agricultural community, but that oil factor is what really changed us. Right now that`s what`s giving us the opportunity. As we have people move here and businesses established and jobs created, the things that go with that are what makes this a wonderful place to live”, Said Koeser.
Through multiple oil booms, the city has seen substantial growth. But with each boom, certain aspects have remained the same."
"My father had 2 acres of land just outside Williston, and a number of people came up here from other states with their campers and asked if they could park them back in amongst the trees. So its not really any different from today with all the campers in the area”, Said former Chamber of Commerce President Larry Hanson.
While multiple oil booms have created a transient flow of people coming to and from Williston, there`s always been a strong sense of community.
"It`s a great community, and I don`t think I`d want to live anywhere else. The people are solid, hardworking, people and very receptive to newcomers. And I think for the most part, most people that come here feel pretty good about the town they are moving to”, Said Hanson.
Who knows what Williston will look like in the future, but if the past 125 years are any indication, residents of the Western Star City are in for quite a ride.