City of Fortuna

Fortuna is located 6 miles from the Canada–US border and is the northernmost city on U.S. Route 85 before it crosses into Canada at Port of Oungre, Saskatchewan.  Fortuna was founded in 1913 along a Soo Line Railroad branch line running between Flaxton, North Dakota and Whitetail, Montana. The name comes from the Roman goddess of fortune and was chosen by railroad officials to note the settlers' expectations of prosperity with the arrival of the railroad. 
By 1915 when the school opened, the town was a bustling economic center with a newspaper, post office, lumber yard, grain elevator, barbershop, hardware store, pool room, and a movie theatre. It had a fire department with two new trucks. Fortuna had a peak population of 214 according to the 1940 census. In August 1951, Fortuna received a boost to its economy and school enrollment when the Fortuna Air Force Station opened five miles west of town. This radar base employed about 150 people until it closed in 1979. The influx of people at the radar base pushed the peak population to 216 in the 1970 census.  The 2010 census showed only 22 people remained in Fortuna although that number is now slightly higher due to recent oil and gas activity in the region.Picture of the Fortuna Radar Station with radar domes at the top of the hill.

School attendance was required of all school-age children, and bus service extended two and one-half miles beyond the city limits to bring nearby rural children to the town school. Children who enrolled at Fortuna in 1915 had previously attended one of three rural one-room schools. One of those rural school teachers, Mrs. Agnes Harden became the Fortuna teacher in 1915. The Fortuna grade school offered programs similar to those of larger town schools. Mrs. Harden purchased an Edison phonograph so the children could listen to music. Students competed in spelling contests and in 1929 formed a chapter of the Young Citizens’ League, a popular school organization focused on citizenship. The school added electric lights in 1927.  The Fortuna school burned down in 1956, but the community re-built and the new school opened in 1958 boasting of “sewer and water facilities.” In 1964, Fortuna built an addition to its grade school which included four more classrooms, a gym, a stage for band and other performances, and a kitchen. The grade school closed in 1986 and students are now bussed to Crosby.

Fortuna has the latest sunset time several days after the summer solstice in the contiguous 48 States. This is due to Fortuna's location at the far western edge of the Central Time Zone. Although other communities in the contiguous 48 States are located farther north, none of them are located as far west in their respective time zones. Fortuna's westerly location in the time zone gives it the latest local time when the sun sets near the summer solstice. 

City of Fortuna
Mayor - Gary Rust (701) 834-2365
Auditor - Gary Rust
Alderman - Brian Dejardine (701) 834-2275
Alderman - Randy Haagenson (701) 834-2258
Alderman - Wayne Tangen

City of Fortuna
PO Box 17
Fortuna, ND 58844-0017

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