Points of Interest
Devotees of history, of country, and of nature will appreciate this small park located on Main Street downtown, where there is a marker honoring Drayton’s pioneer founders.
Also located in the park is a flagpole maintained by American Legion Post 159. Nearly hidden from view is the beautiful riverbank area behind Heritage Square. If you take a stroll over the dike, you’ll find a quiet, grassy area perfect for picnics and for viewing the beautiful Red River of the North. Lilac bushes and fruit trees were planted there recently.
You will learn something about both horticulture and Drayton’s history by visiting Mayor’s Row, a collection of specimen trees planted in memory of each of Drayton’s mayors. From the corner of Almeron Avenue and 3rd Street, the trees run north a block, and then east along Lincoln Avenue. Plantings are located on the right-of-way berm, and are maintained by individual property owners. Each tree is identified with a commemorative plaque
Nowesta Memorial Grove
The Nowesta Memorial Grove is dedicated as a living memorial to the pioneers’ early tree planting efforts. The tree claim was donated to the North Dakota Forest Service by Miss Elsie Elliot to keep this legacy alive for future generations. William Gardiner planted the trees in 1888 as homestead requirements under the Timber Culture Act. The act awarded a settler, 160 acres if 10-acres of trees were planted and cultivated for eight years. Nearly 8,000 North Dakotans gained title to 1,200,000-acres of land from 1873 to 1891 under the program. The Nowesta Grove was purchased by Frank Elliott in 1919 and donated to the NDFS by Elsie Elliott in 1988. The 12-acre roadside tract is located 8 miles east of St. Thomas on County Road 11. The towering cottonwood trees provide a peaceful setting to enjoy a hike on the trail, or a place to have a picnic lunch on the picnic table
Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site (OWLS)
Hikers, nature lovers and picnickers will enjoy spending time at what locals call The Grove. This grove of mature cottonwood trees just south of Drayton (east side of Hwy 44) marks the site of the old brickyard that flourished in the early 1900s. Today, visitors can explore the site’s walking trails, which are part of an Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site (OWLS). Turn off the highway onto the northernmost approach and follow the north fence line back to the heart of the site. Trails are mowed.
OWLS is a North Dakota Game & Fish Department project in conjunction with Drayton Public School.