In 1882, the same year the Great Northern Railway completed a branch line as far as Hope, Dakota Territory, Dustin P. Baldwin erected a large general store at the main intersection of the new town and called it “The Grand Arcade.” Just three years later Baldwin moved on to start his own town, but the building and the name remain at the corner of Steele Avenue & Third Street, Hope, ND. Over the years, Baldwin’s Arcade has housed hardware and furniture dealers, undertakers, a grocery store, and the lodge halls of the Masons and the Odd fellows.
One of the finest historical collections of the region is housed in the Steele County Historical Society buildings. Baldwin’s Arcade, the largest of the six, is now the oldest existing store building in the county. It was in disrepair and condemned in the early 1970’s when the Historical Society acquired it. It was faithfully restored and became one of the first buildings in North Dakota to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. This facility houses the core of a large historical collection, an active weaving studio, meeting room, and office. It functions as a community cultural center and is the site of numerous activities. In past years, it has served as a meeting place for such statewide groups as Preservation North Dakota, the State Historical Records Advisory Board, and the Local History Council.