How many auto dealers are there in the United States? The Sioux Empire? Sioux Falls?

Lots. And lots. And lots.

But there's only one that can claim to be the oldest auto dealership in the United States. And it's not all that far from here.

Minnesota Now logo
Get our free mobile app

Just over there in the Gopher State, in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is Tenvoorde Ford. And if it seems like the St. Cloud dealer has been there forever, well, not quite but close. And while me and my family bought most of our vehicles from the DeBoer's, DeBoer Chevrolet in Leota (no longer there) and DeBoer Chevrolet in Edgerton (still there and going strong), the first Minnesota people to purchase a vehicle may well have purchased it 'up north'.

Starting out as a bicycle shop, Steve Tenvoorde began selling cars (or maybe horseless carriages) out of the shop in 1901. It was in March of 1903 that he signed up to become just the second Ford dealership in the United States.

Now, I'm not sure what happened to that first one, but Tenvoorde is still going strong. In fact, in addition to being the oldest Ford dealership in the world, according to, it's the oldest auto dealership in the United States!

So if at some time in the, oh, past 120 years or so you've purchased a Ford (or another brand) from Tenvoorde up there in St. Cloud, you're one of the thousands who has over the past century-plus.

And by the way, the Tenvoorde family still own the business, those proud descendants of Steve. They've come quite a way from that St. Cloud bicycle shop.

13 Famous Iowans






More From Minnesota Now