Grand Forks, city (1990 pop. 49,425), seat of Grand Forks co., E N.Dak., at the confluence of the Red and the Red Lake rivers; inc. 1881. In a spring wheat, livestock, and farm area, the city has grain elevators, state-operated flour mills, and plants that process and distribute meat, dairy products, sugar beets, and potatoes. The area was settled by French fur traders who camped at the river junction and called their campsite La Grandes Fourches [Fr., = the grand forks]. Grand Forks became an important stop on the Great Northern Railway (now part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe). In 1928 the line built huge switching and storage yards there. The city was severely damaged by flooding in 1997. The Univ. of North Dakota is there, as is a U.S. Bureau of Mines lignite research laboratory and a meteorological station. Nearby is the Grand Forks Air Force Base.