Worthington's 150th Anniversary

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Worthington, Adrian battle for county seat Adrian proposed dissecting Nobles County so it could reign over a new county Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Nobles County was created by an act of the Minnesota legislature May 23, 1857. The question of where the county seat would be located plagued the county until the mid-1890s. Worthington became permanent county headquarters after defeating Adrian’s earnest struggle to steal the position. During the first decade, Gretchtown was designated the county seat. Gretchtown, however, was merely a phantom of the prairie. It never really existed. The earliest county commissioners met at members’ homes near Graham Lakes. When Worthington was founded in 1872, the colonists asked that the

county seat be established here. Ex-Gov. Stephen Miller, a later Worthington resident, introduced a bill in the 1873 legislature providing for the colony’s wish. Not wanting arbitrarily to locate the county seat in Worthington, the legislature passed a bill to remove the county seat from Worthington to Hersey, now Brewster, along with the Miller bill. The residents were thus required to vote to decide which of the two towns would become the county capitol. Worthington was logically the best location. It was centrally situated and had the greatest population. The county conceded its support to Worthington in the November election by a vote of 379 to 104.

Immediately after the first bill was passed in St. Paul, the county commissioners set up shop in a leased back room of the Worthington post office. The first official meeting was held there on June 10, 1873. The Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad had given Worthington the courthouse square in 1871. Financial difficulties of that decade made construction of a courthouse impossible. County funds were urgently needed to relieve destitute victims of the grasshopper scourge. When the community recovered, a temporary building was erected on the site. A structure built in 1877 for $1,124 served as the Nobles County courthouse for 18 years.

The next year, hundreds of German and Irish Catholics settled in Bishop John Ireland’s colony at Adrian. The community grew quickly and soon threatened Worthington’s primary position in the county. The 1885 census listed Worthington’s population as 997 and Adrian’s as 533. Adrian petitioned to remove the county seat from Worthington, but the effort produced only 600 signatures. Later, when the legislature adopted a county seat removal law, the western rival attacked again. During the 1890s, the western portion of the county surpassed the eastern section’s population. When it proved practically impossible to

wrench the focus from Worthington, Adrian proposed dissecting the county. Worthington could remain the county seat for the eastern half, and Adrian could be the county seat for a new county to the west. A conference was held between representative groups from both towns in 1893. No decision was made, but a committee was organized to investigate the proposed schism. People living in the center tier of townships opposed any county division. They called an immediate conference at Rushmore and drafted a resolution condemning the Adrian plan. They had no desire of splitting their land between two rival counties.

Meanwhile, the county commissioners in Worthington rushed plans for building a new courthouse and combination jail and sheriff’s office. D.J. Forbes of Adrian filed a suit against the county and forced an injunction to halt construction of either building. The case, known as D.J. Forbes vs. J.J. Kendlen, was carried to the state supreme court, where the injunction was finally dissolved. With Adrian’s hopes destroyed, Worthington proceeded with the project, completing the jail in 1894 and laying the cornerstone for the courthouse in the center of downtown Worthington.

Great Depression had tremendous impact on Worthington’s history

An early day gathering at Worthington's Chautauqua Park.

Worthington’s first 50 years included paved streets Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Running boards, rumble seats and canvas tops marked Worthington’s entry into the fabulous “Roaring Twenties.” Cars had come to the mud trails of the prairie and the arrival of the automobile meant a street paving program to accommodate the vehicles. The city’s first paving program “made 56 blocks of concrete out of the prairie mud,” according to a newspaper report of Oct. 28, 1920. The community celebrated with a dance at the National Guard

Armory and a big street parade through the downtown area. Gasoline was 16 cents per gallon, the price was 15 cents for children and 25 cents for adults for a ticket at the Grand Theatre. The Grand Theatre, one of the finest movie houses in the area, was sold to George Ehlers and Nic Casareto, and the two men made the official announcement that a 700seat, all-new theater would soon be opened on the city’s main business street. Wortington soared to a new population of 3,481 persons — an

increase of 45% from 1919’s official census report of 2,395. Ten pounds of sugar sold for 75 cents, three loaves of bread were 20 cents and men’s suits were $23.85. The railroads, so important to the settlement of the region and to the community, gave way to the Fords, the Graham-Paiges and the Hupmobiles. By 1920, there was only a short segment of concrete running three miles west of Worthington and another short stretch at Rushmore. County commissioners were promising (in

1921) that 240 miles of improved (graveled) roads would be completed and that 90% of Nobles County residents would be no more than two miles away from “permanent roads.” The 240-mile objective was somewhat strong, however, as the board was letting bids before the end of the year in an attempt to reach the 200-mile mark. The first year of the decade also marked the arrival of a new businessman, Jack Boote. From Hawarden, Iowa,

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Sioux natives arrive.


Globe archives WORTHINGTON — The Depression had a profound effect on American life. It brought about a whole new lifestyle. It changed lives and attitudes permanently. It inspired new political, social and economic philosophies. Yet it is largely an untold story. Little has been written about the era. Perhaps people don’t want to recall “how it was.” Perhaps the depression will ever be “The Invisible Scar,” as Caroline Bird, the era’s best chronicler, has said. One Worthington woman who was close to the welfare scene expressed it another way: “I never told my kids how tough we had it. And I forgot it as soon as I could.” Yellowing newspaper pages and fading memories are about the only sources for piecing together the local depression story. When the decade began, Worthington had two weekly competitive papers. When it closed, the Times had folded and the Globe had become a daily paper. The evidence of poverty and tough times

were only hinted at on those pages. For the most part, both papers were community boosters, ever reflecting a Chamber of Commerce sort of Hey-we’re-great posture. The papers suggest impending prosperity and constant community development. A beacon on Worthington’s courthouse illuminated the new airport and the light could be seen for 40 miles. Billboards in 1935 proclaimed Worthington as “The Business Heart of Southwestern Minnesota. Population 4,800. Featuring good schools, fine churches and beautiful homes.” But everyone was aware of “Hobo Jungle” down by the Omaha Railroad tracks, a stopping point for hundreds of homeless transients, many on their way to work in camps in Minnesota. Kids were told to stay clear of the place. People were advised not to feed tramps but to send them to the Chamber office where they would receive a ticket redeemable for 15 cents worth of food any place in the city.



Joseph Nicolas Nicollet explores region.





In June 1934, the town furnished 939 meals to 235 men, ages 16 to 50, but the public wasn’t overly sympathetic. A Globe editorial in 1933 suggested the city start “a wood pole for panhandlers to work on.” Coal stealing in the railroad yards became a problem in Worthington. The railroad said it was losing about 60 tons per month as a result of night time activity. But every winter evening, a procession of men, women and (mostly) children moved with wagons and carts to the railroad coal chutes at the 16th Street crossing to glean what everyone called “lugnite.” Police Officers A.W. Hawkinson and Roy Fitch arrested 16 grown men one night after 2 a.m. stealing coal. That was why, most often, families sent their children with sleds and wagons. There were no apple sellers, a nation-wide symbol of unemployment, on the streets of Worthington, but a one-legged pencil seller reflected the economic pinch. In 1931, he told a Globe reporter that his sales, which had averaged from $7 to $10 in Worthington on Saturday, had dropped to about $1.50 per day. Unemployment reports and salary cutbacks became news here as elsewhere. In 1932 and 1933, teachers’ salaries were reduced by about 15%. Rural teachers were cut from $88.30 to $72.80 per month. City teachers signed for $900 per year. Superintendent Roy E. Miller voluntarily asked to have his salary cut from $3,230 to $2,800. Politically, Nobles County was always a Republican stomping ground. But it did an about face and joined in the Roosevelt landslide in 1932. There was a heavy snowstorm that election day, but Roosevelt took the county by a vote of 4,343 to 2,417, winning every precinct except Indian Lake Township, Bigelow, Brewster, and Worthington’s first ward, half the city. On the farm scene Mother Nature dealt additional blows to the economy. Large portions of the plains were lifted off the earth and forced upward in wind-driven opaque clouds of dust. The area had seen dust storms before but never on such a devastating scale of those of the early 30’s. The tragedy of how the soil was misused with poor farming practices became apparent. Worthington and Nobles County experienced dirt storms which were nightmarish summer blizzards. Dirt drifted along the streets. There were rumblings of discontent in 1930 when suddenly the nation had farm surpluses instead of shortages. By 1932, agricultural income had

dropped to half of what it was in 1929. Actually, the farm depression had been serious since 1927. With prices hitting bottom, it was only natural farmers would strike back. The Farm Holiday movement was organized, first in Iowa, by Milo Reno. The late Ben Diekmann of Lismore, who served later as a Nobles County commissioner, was one of the active organizers in Nobles County. Trying to force prices up, farmers blocked roads into Wortington, turned back cars and trucks bound for market, and dumped milk produced by other farmers. Fortunately, hard words and some fist fighting was as serious as the situation ever got here. However, in one courageous confrontation, Sheriff Elden Rowe ordered farmers on Highway 60 south of Worthington to stand back and opened the highway for a truck. Farm mortgage foreclosures in Nobles County reached a high of 71 in 1932. A few were stopped by threats of violence. More were stopped when the farmers themselves bid ridiculously low prices and then handed the livestock and machinery back to the farmers who were being sold out. Extension and 4-H club work, which had concentrated on increasing production, was halted for two years by the Nobles County commissioners, as it was in about half the counties of Minnesota. With a surplus of agricultural products there was no need to teach farmers how to grow more. The service was reinstated later. In spite of all adversity on the rural scene, agricultural problems here were not as severe as other parts of the nation. One thing above all that helped the town and the farming community was an ugly, skittish thing called the turkey. In the early 30’s, when farming floundered and business declined, the Worthington area experienced a steady growth in the turkey business. Farmers experimented with new ways. By 1939, the town could and did proclaim itself the Turkey Capital of the World. Major credit for the growth can be attributed to E. O. Olson, founder of Worthington Creamery and Produce, forerunner of Campbell Soup, which began in 1912 with one building on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street. By 1936, when the Creamery, as people called it, celebrated its 25th anniversary, it included one of the largest ice cream plants in the state (excluded only by Minneapolis and Duluth), manufactured enormous quantities of cheese and butter, and had revolutionized the poultry industry, particularly turkey growing. “Nobody here but us chickens” may have been an apt phrase in


Nobles County organized.


Worthington in the 1920s, but in the 1930’s, F. E. Mixa changed all that. He joined Olson’s team in 1927 as a poultry specialist out of Iowa State College and probably did more toward teaching farmers about the scientific methods of raising turkeys than any single individual. During the 1930’s the Boote Hatchery operation also grew by leaps and bounds and contributed much toward making Worthington a turkey growing mecca and dressing center. With two leading produce plants in town, the turkey industry exceeded the $500,000 mark here in 1936. Approximately 500 farms in the area were involved in the business in some way — 100 of them in a big way. Turkey hens in Nobles County couldn’t keep up with the demand for eggs, so large shipments came from Texas and California. The Worthington turkey became quite the traveler. He often originated in California as an egg, was hatched in a local hatchery, was raised under controlled conditions on a Nobles County farm, and then dressed here and shipped to the New York market in cold storage. It was no longer a sideline or pin money operation for many. Turkey was king. Farmers in 1935 made about $1.50 profit per bird and many new brooder houses appeared in the area. The Globe, in October 1936, reproduced on its front page a photo of a check the Creamery had issued to Mrs. A. G. Thom of Rushmore in the amount of $10,156 for the sale of 3,617 birds. It was the largest single sale recorded at the plant and illustrated how exciting it was to the area. Throughout the 1930’s, the initial game was played here as it was everywhere in the nation. The FERA, FWA, PWA, NYA, MRA, WPA, CCC and many other social panaceas pumped blood into the sickly economy. Many local residents saw them only as a joke. The short-lived National Recovery Administration (NRA) was launched in the summer of 1933 with all the fervor of a wartime campaign. By August, the blue eagle was flying from the windows of nearly every Worthington store. Merchants reduced their working hours and collectively sponsored a double-page ad in the paper that read: “We’re backing you to the last Mr. President.” Damned by some, lauded by others, emergency work measures left only a small lasting effect on the local community. The post office was built by federal funds. Approximately 40 blocks of sidewalks and one large sewer line along the north side of town were laid. About $200,000 PWA funds, including $96,000 for the power plant, were


used in Worthington. Local relief rolls swelled in the early 30’s, but the federal government picked up a big share of the costs. Later the emphasis shifted to work projects like WPA. Many people were not in favor of direct relief, even though families only got $23 to $27 per month. One year, the Nobles County commissioners passed regulations so no one on relief could own an automobile and so welfare families could not pay in excess of $12 per month for rent. Persons with financial troubles were scorned more than they were assisted. A variety of items were distributed, from surplus commodities to garden seed to fruit jars. The Red Cross played a role, distributing carloads of federal farm board wheat, flour, and many yards of cotton. By 1935, there were indications that the economy was recovering, if not well. Mortgage foreclosures declined from a high of 71 in 1933 to 43 in 1934, 21 in 1935, and 13 in 1936. Families on relief dropped from 210 in 1934 to 120 in 1935. At the Ceamery in the late 1930’s, wages were increased from a minimum of 25 cents per hour for women to 32.5 cents and a minimum of 30 cents for men to 37.5 cents. Women were limited to 48-hour work weeks and men to 54 hours with a week’s vacation pay for both. This action was taken before the National Labor Standards Act went into effect in October 1938, setting minimum wages at 25 cents per hour with time and a half for overtime over 44 hours a week. The development of cooperatives was one spectacular feature of the depression decade, especially the REA. The Nobles Co-op Electric was organized in June 1936, for farm families in Nobles and Murray counties. Within three years it had grown to the largest co-op of its kind in the state with 2,050 stockholders. There were 1,172 farms getting electricity and there were 700 miles of energized line within the borders of the two counties by March 30, 1939. About the same time, Elmer Kane, president of the First National Bank, announced that deposits had passed the $1 million mark for the first time. This was considered an indication of marked revival of trade and former conditions. As bank deposits increased, so did loans, indicating renewed confidence in the economy. A Department of Commerce survey in the mid-1930’s showed that Worthington was the busiest city of its population in the state in terms of the number of stores (99), fulltime employees (227), and net sales.


An early day gathering Chautauqua Park

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Boote purchased a shoe repair shop here in September. Hog prices dipped following the end of World War I and brought farm income to the lowest level in four years. Late in the year 1920 there was discussion in the community regarding the lack of extra stocks in retail stores. Merchants were having special sales to enable the firms to obtain cash to pay utility bills. The school systems in city and county were planning a school lunch program to assure that each child received a proper diet; residential telephone rates were $1.75 per month; license



plate charges for the automobiles were based on what amounted to 2% of the list price of the car; and the golf course — now GreatLife — opened April 18, 1921. Harvest hands were earning $2.40 for a 10-hour day in the fields and the 18th Amendment banning liquor was adopted Jan. 16, 1920. Through the decade, the court records showed that not all the residents of Worthington and Nobles County believed Demon Rum was bad for their health. The reports of the era show that the Wilmont area was a prime source of illegally-produced booze. Also, the Worthington City Council purchased property for a new National Guard Armory at Third Avenue and Ninth Street for $8,500.

wild pony. Some of the local boys were allowed to help in the exciting WORTHINGTON — routine. As a reward Worthington’s Grand for the boys’ help, the Army of the Republic Natives offered one of Post was once Minne- the ponies to the lad sota’s largest. Orga- who could ride the nized June 29, 1872, wildest the longest. the post peaked from a membership of 35 First permanent founders to 125 by the house summer of 1873. WORTHINGTON — The local group also Worthington’s first established the first permanent house was GAR Auxiliary in the hauled down on wagon state. The large number from St. James in 1871. G.H. Hoffman spent of Civil War veterans in this area can be the winter trapping on attributed to the Home- Lake Okabena. His $600 stead Act of 1862. The profit convinced him of Act offered 160 acres the area’s desirability. of free land to ex-sol- He trekked to Osage, diers. Many veterans Iowa, sold his furs, then took advantage of the returned with a bungovernment policy and dle of willow cuttings to adorn his homestead. moved to the frontier. That fall, the small Worthington’s GAR disbanded during the wooden house was grasshopper infesta- transplanted on the tion that struck in 1874. future site of WorthThey reorganized on ington. His wife and two children joined July 14, 1883. The post was named him, and the Hoffmans Worthington’s in honor of George were Stoddard, the first Civil first family.

GAR post was state’s largest

War veteran buried in Nobles County.

Pawnee Natives herded horses through town WORTHINGTON — An annual attraction in the early days was the arrival of the wild ponies. Pawnee Natives from Dakota Territory herded their ponies through Worthington each year on their way to the eastern markets. They always set up camp along Lake Okabena for a few days’ rest. While here, they entertained the village youngsters by showing them how to break a

System of cisterns WORTHINGTON — Fire was a constant threat to early day Worthington. The city’s buildings were almost entirely wood and susceptible to any flame. The city’s first firefighting apparatus consisted of strategically located cisterns in the business district, plus a wagon with barrels of brine on top parked in a 24- by 30-foot shack on the courthouse square. The equipment provided a little security during the warm months, but as soon as the water froze, the entire system proved useless.


Andrew Dillman becomes first resident.


G.J. Hoffman builds first permanent home; St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad completed to Worthington.





Cash box used by the Worthington Federal from March 1935 to October 1945. $1,612,329.05 went through this box.

Original President of the Institution, Harry Tripp and employees.

Original savings passbook and loan register.

On July 17th, 1934, the Worthington Civic & Commerce Association expressed interest in helping organize a Federal Savings & Loan Association in Worthington. On January 16th, 1935, a representative from the Federal Home Loan Bank System was in Worthington to present organizational plans and on March 1, 1935, a meeting was held and the rst Board of Directors was elected. Worthington Federal was established to help the community prosper and make it possible for people to borrow funds to build homes. On March 30th, 1935, the rst loan went on the

Architect’s drawing of our former location on 10th Street.

books and was in the amount of $800.00. This was the beginning of our service to Worthington and the surrounding communities. Worthington Federal is proud of the number of loans that have been made and nanced locally. Worthington Federal continues to service all loans made. Although our location has changed a few times over the years and the cigar box once used to hold cash funds, has been replaced with state of the art technology. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the friendly, knowledgeable staff you’ve come to know.


418 Eleventh St., P.O. Box 339, Worthington, MN 56187 Phone: 507-372-2131






Billy Sunday vs. Satan: Worthington, 1906 Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Billy Sunday, the famous rip-roaring evangelist, descended upon Worthington like a Midwestern twister on Dec. 8, 1906. Thousands of local residents flocked to the tabernacle to hear the “man with a message” who fought the enemies of God, America, motherhood and hard work single-handed. They loved his broad smile, his boyish figure in the natty suit, his exaggerated grimaces, gestures and antique poses. Hundreds made The Decision and walked down the aisle to shake Billy’s hand and commit themselves to Christ. He had come to save Worthington, and few doubted he had failed after his monthlong crusade ended. Four things he made clear. “First, I love God. Second, I love humanity. Third, I am doing the best I can to help you — I’m here to fight — I’m here to fight ’til hell freezes over, and then I’ll buy a pair of skates, and fight it out on ice.” And fight he did. He would work himself into a rage against the devil until sweat poured from his forehead. Then he would shed his coat, vest and tie, roll up his sleeves and continue the battle crouching, jumping up and down, shaking his fist, and running back and forth across the stage. From 1883 to 1890, Billy Sunday played baseball with the Chicago White Stockings. He was the team’s fastest

runner and although he did not hit exceptionally well, once on base he was bound to zip home by stealing. One season he stole 95 bases. One night he ran smack-dab into a group of evangelists while staggering out of a saloon. He was converted on the spot. Since then he traveled all across the country preaching the gospel and convincing sinners to “get right with God.” Billy never forgot baseball. At times, he played the sinner trying to slide into heaven like a ball player. He would run the length of the stage and put on a fantastic hook slide. The line went, “Lord, there are always people sitting in the grandstand and calling the batter a mutt … O Lord, give us some coaches out at this Tabernacle so that people can be brought home to you. Some of them are dying on second and third base, Lord, and we don’t want that.” He also lashed out at the cheapskates who were too tight to pay for religion. The size of the collection determined a community’s real intentions. Charlie Won, local Chinese laundryman, never understood what the collection was for. Once he asked, “Who this man, Jesus Clist, who all-a-time bloke?” Billy always had a profound effect upon the communities he visited. Worthington was no exception.




School established during first year of town’s founding The Globe WORTHINGTON — The Worthington public school system expanded steadily during its first century, and that remains the case today with the soonto-be-open intermediate school along Crailsheim Road. The roots of our local schools reach as far back as the city’s founding in 1872. In December of that year, Worthington’s pioneers organized school district No. 5. The first public school consisted of 49 students and two teachers who met in various rented rooms throughout the village. In August 1874, Worthington adopted the independent school district plan. School opened in October with 160 pupils divided into three sections. Classes were held in Miller Hall at the center of Fourth Avenue and 10th Street. Plans for the first school building were approved in 1875. In January 1876, the hexagonal school was completed on land donated by the Sioux City and

St. Paul Railroad for educational purposes. Central Elementary School later occupied the site, which is now home to the Southwestern Mental Health Center campus. Eighth grade was the limit for local students until 1881, when the high school was established. Diplomas were first issued in 1887 to a graduating class of two. By 1888, enrollment reached 310 pupils. The hexagonal school was just too small. The next year it was replaced with a new Victorian, brick building at a cost of $40,000. The building was supposedly designed for future growth, but within 10 years the third floor had to be remodeled for class space. The building was still overcrowded. Superintendent E. C. Meredith initiated plans in 1908 for a new high school building that would relieve cramped conditions in the old building. The new $35,000 structure was erected in 1909. The city’s rapid growth during the 1940’s and 1950’s necessitated further construction. In

1956, a second grade school, West Elementary, was completed on Turner Avenue. About the same time, construction began on a new senior high school along Clary Street, on land that once was used as the Nobles County Fairgrounds. At the time it was constructed, the new high school was the largest single building project ever undertaken in the area. It took 18 months and $1.7 million to complete. Worthington High School has since gone through numerous renovations and building additions. Today, as Worthington celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding, Independent School District celebrates the opening of a new intermediate school for children in grades 3-5. The new building is in response to continued overcrowding in the district’s buildings. Prairie Elementary, located along First Avenue Southwest, contains Kindergarten through second grade. Worthington Middle School, at the intersection of Crailsheim Road and

Oxford Street, contains grades 6-8, and Worthington High School, still on Clary Street, is for students in grades 9-12. In addition, there is the Learning Center, also along Crailsheim Road, and District 518 Community Education, which will occupy a new building on the Learning Center campus within the next year.

Local college marks 86 years In 1936, Worthington established a junior college. It was an educational innovation to provide local graduates with a low cost twoyear college program at home. Six classrooms were added to the north wing of the high school and, on Sept. 14, 1936, Worthington Junior College opened its doors to 36 beginning freshmen. In 1964 the junior college left the school district and became part of the state system, eventually becoming Worthington Community College and now Minnesota West Community & Technical College.



First colonists arrive; Worthington founded; Union Church organized; Western Advance becomes first newspaper.

County Seat established in Worthington; Tragic blizzard strikes Jan. 7; Grasshoppers arrive and remain until 1879; Worthington Seminary founded; Union Congregational Church builds city’s first church.








Celebrating 150 years and poised for the next 150 MIKE

KUHLE Mayor, City of Worthington

WORTHINGTON — The city of Worthington in 2022 is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of our founding. The future of our city looks bright and promising for the next 150 years. In the first 100 years, early settlers arrived and with hard work and determination developed the city and the rich land surrounding it. These early pioneers were immigrants mostly of European descent. The early history of

Worthington was marked by remarkable work in agricultural production, manufacturing and marketing. The names are too numerous to mention, but their contribution to our community’s history is so valuable. It brought food processing companies such as Campbell Soup and Armour to our community that provided good jobs. The Armour pork processing plant is now JBS. Agriculture is, and always will be, a huge part of our community. Business and manufacturing leaders were very instrumental in developing Worthington as a prosperous place to live and work. George Dayton, E.O. Olson, and Robert Ludlow are a few of the

many that contributed to the economic success of Worthington. In the late 1970’s, the Veterinary Medical Center under the leadership of a group of very enterprising young veterinarians started a company called Oxford Labs. Some of the names involved were Schmidt, Freese, Pfeifer, Simonson, and others. They built up Oxford Labs and sold it to Upjohn, which is now Merck. This company is located on the south side of Worthingon and is thriving as one of our major employers. Then, some members of this enterprising group came together a number of years later to form and build up another company, Newport Labs.

150 years of leadership City has had 36 mayors since founding WORTHINGTON — The elected official to lead the city is the mayor, or before 1909, the president. That year, Worthington revised its charter and adopted the strong council, weak mayor form of city government, meaning the mayor only votes in the instance of a tie among council

members. This is how it remains yet today. Following is a list of Worthington’s presidents and mayors since the city’s founding: 1873: N. Sater (city incorporated, first election) 1874: J.C. Craft 1875: Albert C. Robinson

1876: Peter Thompson 1878: Albert C. Robinson 1879: Daniel Shell 1882: C.H. Smith 1884: George W. Wilson 1885: Daniel Shell 1887: H.C. Shepard 1888: C.H. Smith 1889: Daniel Shell 1892: H.E. Torrance 1893: Daniel Shell 1896: Azom Forbes 1897: Frank Glasgow 1899: E.C. Pannell 1901: J.R. Conway

City Council members through the years WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s official birthdate is March 8, 1873, the day it was incorporated by a small settlement of pioneers through an election of a mayor and council, and adoption of the city’s charter. Early city fathers selected a weak mayor-council plan form of government. While Worthington City Hall maintains all council meeting minutes, the early minutes are handwritten and a complete and accurate record of elected city officials is not available. 1909-12: W.E. Bloom 1909-12: I.F. Kelley 1909-11: M.J. Barber 1909-10: C.L. Maxwell 1909-13: W.M. Evans 1910-16: W.E. Oliver 1910-20: A.J. Goff 1911-13: William Schrader 1912-17: J.N. Gould 1913-18: G.W. Brammer 1913-17: A.E. Hart 1916-20: M.G. Hurd 1917-19: George Wiedman 1917-19: Newton Fauskee 1918-22: L.M. Herbert 1919-23: Ernest Sterling 1919-23: A.T. Latta 1920-22: J.J. Kies

1920-26: J.A. Albinson 1922-30: W.E. Madison 1922-24: H.W. Shore 1923-25: E.O. Olson 1923-25: Frank Baker 1924-30: C.M Smallwood 1925-37: A.J. Goff 1925-31: M.G. Hurd 1926-30: W.R. Graham 1930-38: William Schmidt 1930-35: David Anderson 1931-33: Carl Wolf 1931-36: Robert Wolff 1933-37: Ray Smith 1935-37: George Ehlers 1936-38: Ernest Sterling 1937-44: Alvin Graf 1937-38: J.A. Albinson 1937-41: P.O. Lien 1938-40: F. Hardy Rickbeil 1938-40: Edmund Swanberg 1938-50: Henry Hagge 1946-54: R.C. Madsen 1940-51: C.R. Kinsman 1941-47: G.E. Barber 1943-44: E.H. Ehlers 1944-54: R.C. Madsen 1944-46: D.R. Martin 1944-47: Louis Moeller 1947-49: H.E. Davidson 1947-57: C.C. Campbell


Worthington adopts Independent School District plan.

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Newport was then sold to a large Italian company and eventually sold to a German giant in the BioScience industry. And, by the way, this group of veterinarians located Newport Labs in the “Big Red Barn” in our new Bio Science Park north of Interstate 90. And now Cambridge, a third animal vaccine company, is being developed. The Bio Science Business Park represents the future of economic growth for high paying jobs and for advancement in animal vaccines and the Ag Bio Science business sector — not only in our region, but throughout the great state of Minnesota. Bob and Pat Ludlow

An undated street scene of downtown Worthington. started Bedford Industries in their garage/ home making, of all things, bread ties. This business has grown into a huge entity that sells to the world market and is evolving and re-inventing itself every day. New products such as Elasti-Tag are being developed every day. What Bob and Pat started back then. and now with the leadership of

1902: Frank Glasgow 1903: J.N. Gould 1906: W.E. Madison 1909: William Ronan 1913: William Schrader 1915: A.J. Ward 1919: W.E. Oliver 1921: A.J. Goff 1923: E.J. Jones 1925: A.T. Latta 1930: E.O. Olson (resigned May 13, 1931) 1931: E.J. Olson 1937: H.O. Kragness (died July 7, 1944)

1949-55: Charles Knuth 1950-52: Geryl Gardner 1952-54: George Peterson 1952-54: Gaylord Hay 1954-56: Geryl Gardner 1954-62: J.C. Hagge 1955-64: Floyd Smith 1956-60: H. Dwight Ludlow 1956-58: W.F. Meyer 1957-61: Earl Roberts 1957-59: Charles Banister 1959-61: D.R. Martin 1960-65: Joe Roos 1960-65: Arthur Leistico 1961-66: Ervin Heintz 1961-65: Don Rickers 1962-64: Harold Collingham 1964-66: A.W. Koelz 1964-66: Ned Batcheller 1965-67: Robert Johnson 1965-66: Robert Demuth 1966-70: Leo Lester 1966-70: Woodrow Glad 1966-74: James Gay 1967-67: Donald Rickers 1967-67: Verlyn Meyer 1967-73: Karl Schafer 1967-74: Philip Fiola 1970-76: Elmer Kuhl 1970-74: Robert Taylor 1973-75: Bruce Lease 1974-79: Peter Kaiser 1974-78: Richard Osness 1974-76: Ernest Gould 1975-81: Maurice Rubsam 1976-78: Orville Appel 1978-80: Philip Fiola


State Bank of Worthington becomes first bank.

the next generations that include Kim and Jay Milbrandt, is a true asset to our community. The immigration of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century built and made our community into what we are today. Our church communities provided the moral support necessary to enrich our community. The

MAYOR: Page B6

1944: H.E. Hagge (acting mayor) 1945: Alvin E. Graf 1947: L.V. Hartle 1949: J.C. Boote 1951: H.E. Davidson 1955: John E. Fenstermacher 1965: Joe Ross 1967: Robert J. Demuth 1971: Ray F. Schisler 1977: Harlin Owens 1986: Robert J. Demuth 2003: Alan Oberloh 2015: Mike Kuhle

1978-82: Leo Balk 1978-80: H. Edwin Roberts 1979-84: Ernest Gould 1980-82: Ron Heard 1980-85: Dewey Anderson 1981-84: Carol Dyke 1982-83: Elmer Kuhl 1982-84: Dennis Youngwirth 1983-86: Sterling Johnson 1984-90: Lloyd Phelps 1984-88: Earl Newburn 1984-88: Craig Deuel 1985-86: Jan Dybevick 1986-94: Jacob DeJong 1986-92: Don Gravon 1988-89: Gerald Hay 1989-2006: Leland Hain 1989-2000: Lloyd Standafter 1991-2000:Roland Bourassa 1993-95: Mike Driscoll 1995-2006: Roger Nelson 1995-2004: Jim Elsing 2001-2008: Bob Petrich 2001-2012: Lyle Ten Haken 2005-2012: Mike Woll 2007-2014: Ron Wood 2007-2014: Mike Kuhle 2009-2016: Scott Nelson 2013-2016: Rod Sankey 2013-2016: Diane Graber 2015-2021: Mike Harmon 2015-Present: Larry Janssen 2017-2020: Alan Oberloh 2017-Present: Chad Cummings 2017-Present: Amy Ernst 2020-Present: Chris Kielblock 2021-Present: Alaina Kolpin


Hexagonal school built; National Colony Company bankrupted; St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad extends to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.







City band’s roots can be traced back to 1893 Globe archives Editor’s note: This is a combination of two articles that ran June 26 and 28, 1993, when the Amazing Worthington City Band celebrated its 100th birthday. WORTHINGTON — The “Amazing” Worthington City Band has been around since 1893. First though, the Indian Lake Baptist Church, southeast of Worthington, had its own band following tradition from the German homeland. Otto Hotzler was the director. A farmer, Hotzler was fond of playing his gold-plated, rotary-valve cornet imported from Germany, and he liked to direct the band. By invitation, the band played on the steps of the Nobles County Courthouse. People who came to the city to shop on Saturday nights often paused to listen and stayed in town longer. Worthington businessmen noticed a social gathering had developed around the Saturday night concerts. When they realized it was good for business, they invited the band back several times. Joel Wood, a former Worthington High School teacher and band director, said sometimes the concerts had to be postponed. “Too many of the lads were out girlin’,” he recalled. Wood researched and wrote “The History of the Worthington City Band,” while working on his master’s degree at St. Cloud University. In that history, Wood included this sad note, “On this day of Otto Holzler’s funeral, his gold-plated cornet was stolen from his home.” When Worthington organized its own brass

Photos by Tim Middagh / The Globe The "Amazing" Worthington City Band has a long Mike Petersen directs the "Amazing" Worthington City Band in concert earlier this history of performing summer concerts at the summer in Chautauqua Park. Chautauqua Park Bandshell in Worthington.

band, the city hired Wilson Abbott as the first director. He played cornet and also gave private lessons. In a photograph of Abbott with his city band from 1909, the members — all male — wore dark green uniforms with white trim. Seven of the 26 played clarinets. The rest played brass instruments except for the lone drummer. In 1916, a hexagonal bandstand was built about 75 feet out on Lake Okabena at the foot of Third Avenue. “Colored lights were installed along the lakeshore and out on the pier,” said Wortington’s Ray Mork. “There were electric lights in the bandstand. The crowd of spectators sat along the shore. Kids sometimes ran out or sat on the pier. As I remember it, this was only used while Abbott was bandmaster. It was a beautiful location with the music coming in across the water.” The hexagonal bandstand was removed from the lake and later sold to Rickbeil’s. It used the building for its annual exhibit at the Nobles County Fair, and then gave the building to the 4-H club.

In 1968, when the city band observed its 75th anniversary at a summer concert, a director’s baton was presented to Glenn Evensen. He used it to direct some of the band members. The baton, carved by Wilbur Shore, was made from wood Rickbeil’s donated from the old band shell on the lake. In the band’s 100-year existence, there were only a few directors. Vie Moeller, a clarinetist, replaced Abbott. Moeller had been a member of Abbott’s Worthington Concert Band. The high school and city bands were one until Moeller separated them. Russel Eikenberry, Worthington, played under Moeller’s direction in the city band from 1927 to 1940. During those years, the band played concerts on the wide sidewalk in front of the 1894 brick courthouse. Lights were strung in the trees. The band played there until the present shell was built. In 1941, the city band summer concert setting changed when the bandshell at Chautauqua Park was built by the National Youth Administration. The bandshell still stands on the shore of Lake Okabena, and remains the

During the hard times in the 1930’s, Wood wrote that playing in the city band and attending the concerts were popular activities. He said the public found the concerts entertaining and relaxing, and the players “enjoyed the release they found playing in the city band.” Some city band members grew to be big time musicians. For example, Harold and Everett Edstrom organized a well-liked dance band successful in the Chicago area until World War II took several band members into the service. The Edstroms later established a music business, the Hal Leonard Publishing Company. In 1946, Vie Moller was replaced as director by Jerry Niemeyer. He directed the city band and the public school bands until both he and his wife, Iva, were killed in a two-car crash in the fall of 1961. Richard Larson, a Band was officially first-year junior high school band instrucorganized in 1953 tor, finished the year Though it had func- as city, high school tioned for years, the and junior high school Worthington City Band band director. officially organized on Glenn Evensen was Nov. 7, 1935, with elec- hired in August 1962, tion of officers. as city band and high site of the city band’s summer concerts. Eikenberry said the city band also played at the Nobles County Fair for many years. “All three days of the fair they played a halfhour concert before the grandstand show and then also played for the entire show,” he said. “This meant playing for two and one-half hours twice each day.” Women were allowed to become members of the bands in 1928. Doris Doeden, Mildred Nystrom, Edith Burnham and Vivian Rasmussen were the first to join. Moeller also started band instruction for fifth- and sixth-graders in 1935. Later that year, Worthington had two school bands for the first time. By then, the city band was also growing. Weekly winter practices prepared the players for summer concerts. Some members played in both the high school and city bands.

Memorial Auditorium was built in 1931 Globe archives WORTHINGTON — When Memorial Auditorium was built for $55,000 in 1931, you could buy a gallon of peaches for 47 cents at Silverberg’s or a man’s dress shirt at Wolff’s for 89 cents. An addition to the junior and senior high complex, the auditorium was designed with the classic art deco features so popular at the time. In his dedication address, George Wycoff, Minneapolis, said, “No matter how long these new structures last, their influence will go on and on through the ages.” Shared by the school and the community, Memorial Auditorium was used for athletic events, music and arts, Miss Worthington pageants, community worship services, commencements and even school lunches. Many memorable performers took the stage over the years, including actor Hal Holbrook, who gave one of his first performances of “An Evening with Mark Twain.” Beloved Minnesota personality Cedric Adams hosted a live broadcast to a capacity audience.

Special to The Globe

Worthington's Memorial Auditorium provides a great venue for music, theater and entertainment in the city. Following a new high school building in the 1950s and a new junior high building in 1947, Memorial Auditorium was often left unattended. When the old high school buildings were scheduled for demolition in 1982, the citizens of Worthington voted to preserve the auditorium. It became a municipal property, and an advisory board of directors was formed and renovations began. With the help of a bond, old locker rooms were converted into dressing rooms, a new heating system was installed, and a light and sound system was added. The main floor got a new coat of paint and new

bathrooms. Throughout the improvements, the building design was not altered. As established by the city council in 1992, “The purpose of the advisory board of directors shall be to advise the city council on the management and operation of Memorial Auditorium; and to engage in and conduct, as the board determines, various fundraising activities for the benefit of the facility; and to promote wider use of the facility for the benefit of the community.” A group called Friends of the Auditorium, incorporated in 1993, purchased new technical

equipment that same year, allowing the first showing of Corn Off The Cob. Sponsored by Friends and the Advisory Board, all work was done on a volunteer basis, and was the launching pad for future community productions. In 1994, the Friends held an organizational workshop to set future goals. That led to the hiring of Margaret Vosburgh as the first manager in 1995, a year that also brought a major restoration — the building got a new roof and windows, a refinished stage and terrazzo floors, and footlights. During the following season, the 1906 Steinway grand piano was restored and valued at $45,000. Today, Tammy Makram serves as the manager of Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium and continues to bring in numerous concerts, plays and performances each year. The facility has undergone some major upgrades in recent years, including all new seating on the main floor and balcony.


First courthouse built in Worthington.

MAYOR From Page B5

teachers who taught all of the children in Worthington contributed to our success by providing a quality education. The last 50 years has been marked by a second wave of immigration in Worthington. Our churches in the early 1990’s started this change by sponsoring immigrants from southeast Asia; a worthy humanitarian effort! In the years since, Worthington has grown because of increased immigration from Latin and Central America and East Africa. Our companies need these workers to survive and expand. Worthington has been successful in welcoming these cultures into our community. While we have had challenges with immigration, we have worked hard and are providing a stable workforce for our companies. Immigration has been a big part of our last 150 years, and will define our future. Worthington leaders, with the help of our voters, are investing in amenities that will attract people and

school band director. He started something special, beginning each concert with the theme song, “Say it with Music,” and an arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Other musicians and performers were featured at intermissions. Each half concert usually consisted of a march, an overture, a waltz, a poo tune, a solo and another march. Businessmen and other community leaders usually were chosen to serve as masters of ceremony of the concert. On Memorial Day, 1988, Evensen conducted his last concert after 25 years of service as band director Following in his footsteps was Galen Benton, then an instructor at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Today, Mike Peterson leads the “Amazing” Worthington City Band. Evensen added the word “Amazing” to the band’s name because personnel at the concerts was always different from the group at that week’s practice session, “yet they got through the music somehow.” grow our community. The “Sales Tax” projects are providing improvements to our park system, a new indoor fieldhouse, 10th Street pavilion, outdoor aquatic center and ice arena improvements. We still have much more to do in Lake Okabena improvements and other projects to complete the legacy of these “Sales Tax” projects. The city, along with our partners such as Worthington Public Utilities, Housing and Redevelopment Authority and private businesses are also working hard to address housing in our community. If Worthington history gives any indication, it is that the future is secure and is full with opportunities for our visionaries and innovators to write the next chapter. We are not defined by one sector over another, we are part of the larger economy. Indeed, we are part of the world’s economy with multinational cutting edge companies that export ag and manufacturing products all throughout the world. Worthington is in a good position! Because of the last 150 years of work, we will prosper and grow. Happy 150th Anniversary, Worthington!



Advocates for granting liquor licenses win village election; longest and most severe winter.

Burlington Railroad extends north to Worthington.







Cooperative Energy Company History 1933 - COOP Established 1996 - Retail business purchased Thermogas 2003 - Purchased East Lyon County COOP 2004 - New Refined Fuels Bulk Plants erected in Sibley and Ocheyedan 2006 - Acquired Nobles County COOP 2006 - Renamed Cooperative Energy Company 2008 - Purchased Meester Oil in Worthington, MN 2010 - Acquired Lyon County Coop Oil 2012 - Cooperative Energy established in Spencer, IA 2013 - Acquired Boji Junction in Milford, IA


(507) 376-5121

2017 - Added fourth C-Store, Hartley Junction, in Hartley, IA 2017 - Acquired Kunkel Tire & Service in Hartley, IA; named Hartley Junction Service Center 2018 - Acquired Energy Division belonging to Cooperative Farmers Elevator 2020 - Purchased Hage Oil in Lakefield, MN; named Junction 86 2020 - Purchased Mini Mart in Larchwood, IA; named Wildkat Junction


2022 - Purchased Blue Line Travel Center in Worthington, MN; named Blue Line Junction

(507) 376-4480

24425 MN-60 WORTHINGTON, MN 56187

(507) 372-4038







Ice was major crop for seven decades

Teams of horses are used to assist with ice harvest on the shore of Lake Okabena. Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Harvest is a beautiful word which stirs visions of golden fields of grain, frost on the pumpkin and full moons. But for 60 years in Worthington, the word harvesting also meant the cold but exciting winter struggle of men and horses and machines against the frozen bosom of Lake Okabena. Ice harvesting was big business, a very

important form of seasonal employment. It bought the groceries and paid the rent for many local families in winter months when farm work was at a standstill. A month or two of work on the ice field was one of the nicest Christmas presents many families could receive. From photographs, we know an operation of some sort existed before 1890. Who started it and when are questions even

the fine historian, A.P. Rose failed to mention in his History of Nobles County. Why it happened is a question which can be answered. It happened because Worthington was a natural for the natural ice industry. The railroads were here. The lake was here. With the railroad tracks skirting the edge of the lake, there was no place any more favorable than Lake Okabena

for loading and shopping those massive chunks of congealed water. Furthermore, Lake Okabena was one of the few clear water lakes in the entire area. Ice harvesting started about Christmas time, depending on the whims and frigidity of the weather. Teams of horses scraped away the snow. The ice was marked in big blocks. A plow with a steel bar fitted with a series of sharp knives



Worthington charter amended, temperance clause repealed; George Draper Dayton moves to Worthington.

Burlington Railroad connects Worthington with Iowa.

was used in the early years to cut grooves in the ice so the cakes were easier to tamp loose and float to shore. Power saws were used later. The screech of saw against ice echoed across the lake. Steam engines and trucks replaced horses. Loading equipment improved. But basically, the struggle was the same: The ice had to be cut. Floated to shore. Loaded. It was hard work

and dangerous work and lives were sometimes lost. Men now and then fell off the rafts of floating ice they guided with poles. The overalls and jackets of the fur-capped men were frozen stiff when they stopped at the local pool hall after work for a warmer-upper. The frost of their breath was on their mustaches. Sometimes the horses’

ICE: Page B10


First Worthington High School built.


The History of The Stag


Barney Bishop was the first owner. He started Bishop’s Clothing in the early 60’s. Barney hired Orville Hokeness and they later became partners around 1966/1967. In 1972, Barney and Orville split the three stores they had and Orville became the sole owner and renamed it The Stag. Orville resides in Worthington. Dale Ryen and Stan Wendland then bought the store around 1992/1993 and rebranded the name to The Stag Clothiers Fashions for Men & Women. Dale resides in Worthington.

how it started

In July of 2008, owner Amanda Walljasper-Tate purchased Schafer’s Health Foods Center in downtown Worthington from Irma Schafer. The Daily Apple is the area’s largest health food store focusing on high quality vitamins and essential oils for great health. The store has expanded and now offers clothing and gifts. This location has been a health food store for 47 years. •FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA• www.facebook.com/TheDailyAppleWorthington Follow @dailyapple1 on Instagram 507-372-7127 207 10th St. Worthington, MN www.dailyappleonline.com

In 2016, Kenneth and Robyn Moser bought The Stag Clothiers.

Monday-Friday 9:30am-5:30pm | Saturday 9:30am-3:00pm




ICE From Page B8

breath froze over their nostrils making it hard to breathe. Then a driver had to stop and hold his hands over the horse’s nose to melt the frost. A system of chutes and conveyor belts was built and maintained for many years so ice could be hoisted over what is now South Shore Drive and loaded directly into railroad cars. There was a gap of about 100 feet between the lake and tracks which had to be bridged. Site of the operation was where Karley’s Drive-In and market is located, extending southwest toward Heles Supply. Records at the Registrar of Deeds office show the land was first owned by Valentine B. Hoffman and then by Joseph Davis. Davis willed it to Hamline University, which owned the land from 1883 to 1902. G.W. Patterson and Willia Ramage were the next owners. Both men were involved in the ice business but the beginnings preceded them by 12 or 15 years. It may have been Ed Pannell, an early auditor who ran a draying business, who started it. His name is written on the back of one of the old Buchan photos.

Crews push ice chunks toward the conveyor belt Worthington's Lake Okabena. In any case, by 1908, when William Stoutemyer became proprietor of the Worthington Transfer and Ice Company, it was a thriving business. Then the first of two major ice house fires occurred. In June 1911, three large ice houses, 80- by 30 feet each, were totally destroyed by fire which originated from the spark of a train locomotive . The nearby city bathhouse was endangered. About half the ice, packed in sawdust, was saved.

The loss was estimated at $10,000. Stouteyer had $500 in insurance. In the next few years to 1920, the property exchanged hands four times. Then came four owners who are all well remembered by local residents: Charles W. Guse who bought the business in 1920; Harry Butcher in 1926; Alvin Graf in 1932; and Lloyd Stowe in 1943. Horse-rigs were replaced with a modern cutter that received very favorable mention in the local paper in 1921. Up to



During the ownership of Guse and Butcher, aout 25,000 tons of ice a year were removed from Lake Okabena. The Omaha railway contract averaged 10,000 tons and the rest was for local and area consumption. Towns as far away as Valley Springs, South Dakota and Paullina, Iowa, depended on Worthington for their ice supply in the 1920s. Supplying the Worthington Creamery with ice was an important phase of the business too. The presence of the ice industry in fact, was a prime reason why the creamery came to be located here. Under Graf’s ownership, the business conHenry Blume tinued to grow, reaching as they harvest ice from a peak about 1937, when 130,000 tons of ice were then, all the sawing had cut for the needs of railbeen done with a horse- road houses in Omaha and St. James, the creamdrawn affair which was ery and the Worthington never too successful area. A crew of 120 men because the horseshoes was at work then when chipped the cakes of ice. the operation was going Guse bought a gas-mofull blast. tor driven saw mountThe Graf family, like ed on a steel sled, which the Butcher and Guse was pushed by two men. families before them, Working around the clock lived in the small house in three shifts, crews did by the icehouse, which much of the work on was built about 1912. the frozen field at night Mrs. Graf was active under lights. It was an in the business. She exciting thing for little answered the phone, boys and sidewalk super- ran the cash and carry visors to watch. business, boarded many



of the workers and sold Coolrator ice boxes. Small and frail appearing, Mrs. Graf often had to drag a 350-pound cake of ice into a truck. Customers could get ice right there from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 40 cents per hundred pounds. There were two tragic deaths at the site in the 1930s. Herert Vahlsing, 33, became tangled in a belt and shaft in 1937. Fellow worker Paul Schafer narrowly escaped. Two years later, 21-year-old LeRoy Stowe fell off an ice float when his guiding pole broke. He drowned. By 1940, Graf had a fleet of nine trucks for delivery service and a car icing hoist mounted on a truck for loading refrigerated cars. The horses were gone and along with them went the glamour and excitement of following the ice man down the street. In the 1940s, refrigeration came on strong and the need for natural ice diminished. Stowe set up an ice plant and eventually stopped shipping ice to the railroad houses. Then, in 1956, a final chapter was written to the industry. Fire again broke out. Everything but the house, no longer occupied, was destroyed.



Burlington Railroad extends northwest from Worthington.


Worthington City Band organizes.

First water works.


John Benson bought the funeral home and the furniture store in 1905 from the Swanson family.

The Fourth Street Funeral Home

B Phillip Benson Funeral Director M-3596





Alyssa Benson Funeral Director M-4110

1225 Ryan’s Road | Worthington, MN | 507.376.4477







They called area Hokah-be-na: “The nesting place of heron”

People enjoy splashing in Lake Okabena in this undated image from the Nobles County Historical Society archives. Globe archives WORTHINGTON — The first humans to stand upon the crest of the Coteau des Prairies, where Worthington would someday be, and view the land that time and nature created were the Sioux Indians. Once the Sioux were forest people who lived in the lake region of northern Minnesota. During the first half of the 18th century, French traders drifted up from the southeast, bringing guns to the Chippewas, bitter enemies of the Sioux. No longer able to defend themselves, and with a dwindling food supply, the Sioux moved south and westward. One branch of the Sioux nation, the lower Sissetons, were in this area and some made regular visits to the shores of Lake Okabena. In the Sioux Language, “hokah” means heron “be” means nest, and “na” is a diminutive suffix. To the Indians this area was known as the nesting place of herons. It was a place of abundant game and fish, and rich soil. There were very likely several different family groups camping near the lake at various times, since the Sioux were restless and migrant people. They despised restraint and wandered freely across the vast prairie, carrying their entire camp.

Henry Blume

The Little Sioux steam boat takes passengers for a ride on Lake Okabena. Sioux men hunted, fished and fought. They valued bravery, daring and cleverness above all else. For a young man, the surest and quickest way to ensure prestige and wealth was success in battle. War parties aroused special interest among the tribe. Any warrior might recruit and lead one. Its existence was temporary and membership voluntary. Women performed the vital but unheroic labor. They cooked, tended the crops, made clothing and maintained the camp. At times they inspired warriors to great feats with their devotion and admiration. Men and women cooperated in raising the children. Parents displayed overwhelming and unconcealed affection for their sons and daughters. They imposed almost no discipline and indulged every whim. The Sioux loved funny stories and practi-

cal jokes. They reveled in games of all kinds. Betting was universal. A ceremony developed from the nightly telling of the tribe’s legends and myths in which their history was preserved. Religion dominated nearly every thought and action of the Sioux. It reflected their intimate relationship with nature. Dependent upon nature’s gifts of survival, the Sioux felt one with his entire environment. Every natural manifestation was attributed to divine will. There were also malevolent gods whose sole purpose was to tempt and make trouble for the Indians. Every misfortune that befell the Sioux was attributed to one of the evil spirits. For example, Mini Watu caused decay and was perpetually trying to enter the human body and cause sickness. For this reason the priests of the tribe were called medicine men. It


Jail and sheriff’s office built.

Activity abounds in the early days on Worthington's Lake Okabena. was their duty to drive evil spirits away. The medicine men were perhaps the most powerful individuals of the tribe. These spiritual leaders were looked to for instruction and guidance in all areas of life. They often controlled the destinies of their people. The chief had relatively little power. His duty was to carry out the will of the majority — much like an elected official. It was his responsibility to protect the laws and traditions of his people. The position could either be inherited or earned through strength of character, success in war, or accumulation of wealth. The Indian culture along the shores of Lake Okabena remained undisturbed until the mid-19th century, when white settlers first moved into the area. The whites threatened the Indians’ way


New courthouse built; diversified agriculture replaces wheat farming as predominant type of agriculture; first electric light plant.

Serving the Worthington Area for 28 years

of life and the Sioux reacted violently. A band of Sioux led by the renegade Inkpadutah in 1858 attacked settlers at Spirit Lake and along the Des Moines River through Jackson and Cottonwood counties. Later, during the Great Sioux Uprising in 1862, whites and Indians clashed at Lake Shetek, New Ulm and throughout southwest Minnesota. Both sides sacrificed many lives in the struggle for land. During the conflict, General Thomas’ soldiers pursued a band of Sioux to the shores of Lake Okabena. The incidents frightened potential settlers, and as the Sioux moved farther west, this area briefly was void of human habitation. After confidence was restored, both settlers and Indians returned and coexisted peacefully. In

September, 1868, a small group of Sioux from the north spent the fall trapping near Graham Lakes. They came back the following year and pitched their tepees on the west shore of Lake Ocheda. Another band moved to Indian Lake and greeted the first white settlers there. The settlers’ fears did not totally disappear though. As late as 1876, a rumor spread at Worthington that the Sioux were rebelling again. The rumor is said to have originated with a local boy named Hemphill who devised the plan to escape raking hay. The panicked community united and fortified Miller Hall. A scouting party was organized, but Indians were never discovered. The Sioux culture that once dominated this area eventually disappeared completely.


First drainage ditches constructed.


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Many Nobles County residents gave their life for their country

Globe archives Spanish-American War The three casualties of the Spanish-American War from Worthington’s Company H all died from typhoid fever: Everett Calvert, Wisconsin; Joseph Moffitt, Nebraska; and George Luther Michael, Worthington. Michael died Sept. 6, 1898, and is buried at Fort Snelling. World War I Adolph Michael Brabender, Adrian, Seaman 2/C; died of influenza Sept. 19, 1918. Leon C. Butler, Wilmont, private, Army; died Oct. 18, 1918, in France. Arthur Leonard Calvin, Worthington, Private; killed in action Sept. 17, 1918, Aire River.

Charles Christian Flentje, Round Lake, Private; killed in action Sept. 26, 1918, at St. Mihiel. Carl Joseph Hanson, Adrian, Private; died of influenza Nov. 9, 1918, at Camp Cody. Roy J. Hulett, Worthington, Private; missing in action, Aug. 3, 1918, at Chateau Thierry. Emil Kopping, Kinbrae, Private; died Oct 3, 1918, at Darford, England. Ferdinand Henry Koster, Fulda, Sergeant; died of influenza Oct. 7, 1918. Gilbert Joseph Larson, Ellsworth, Private; died of influenza Aug. 6, 1918. Alex Legdon, Round Lake, Private; killed in action Oct. 8, 1918, Argonne. Fred Charles Libaire, Adrian, Private; died of pneumonia at Fort Snelling, March 16, 1919.

Clyde James McConkey, Brewster, Lieutenant Colonel, died April 18, 1919, San Antonio, Texas. Rense Miller, Rushmore, Private; killed in action Nov. 4, 1918. William J. Mohr, Wilmont, Private; killed in action, Oct. 16, 1918. Carl William Nelson, Adrian, Private; fought in France, died of pneumonia Sept. 21, 1918. Selmer Melvin Ness, Rusmore, Sailor, died at Great Lakes hospital May 13, 1917. Charles H. O’Day, Adrian, Private; killed in action near Romagne Oct. 11, 1918. Roman Ferdinand Pass, Adrian, Sergeant; killed in action Oct. 18. 1918. Henry B. Pacholl, Wilmont, Private; killed in action Oct. 25, 1918, Argonne. Fredric J. Peters, Worthington, Pri-


Tragic flood in September.

Our Minnesota based leatherworks shop has been crafting Handmade Leather Goods since 1972.

1904 Carnegie Library built.

vate, died of pneumonia at Wilbur Wright Field Oct. 6, 1918. Harold Elridge Riggle, Reading, Cook; killed in action in France. Joseph Arthur Suding, Fulda, Private; killed in action Nov. 1, 1918, Argonne. Arthur S. Swanson, Worthington, Private, died Jan. 21, 1919, after being struck by a train. John Ternes, Adrian, Private; killed in action Oct. 23, 1918. Frank Kniess, Ransom Township, died in camp. William Frederict Licht, Reading, Private; died Oct. 1, 1918, at Camp Grant. Joseph Moser, Lismore, Private; killed in action Aug. 11, 1918.



Worthington Hospital established; first Chautauqua held on the lake; evangelist Billy Sunday arrives in Worthington.







World War II felt here at home Canteen Ladies and pilot training part of town’s history

Globe archives WORTHINGTON — The threat of war in Europe as well as in the Pacific was first felt directly in Worthington when the city’s Army National Guard unit, Co. F of the 215th Coast Artillery, was ordered to active duty in 1940, a full year before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The active duty status of the reserve forces was followed by a national draft — the first peacetime conscription in the nation’s history. By 1942, sons and husbands were in uniform, air raid wardens were appointed blockby-block in the city,

residents participated in practice blackouts, and the housewife had to remember to carry ration books as well as money when making a trip to the grocery. Gasoline was rationed with the ordinary car owner allocated an A sticker good for only a few gallons each week. Meat, butter, sugar and gasoline became precious commodities. New automobiles were not available and repair parts were in short supply. Farmers “made do” with old machinery. Worthington Junior College enrollment dropped to only dozens of students after many males in the area

changed from civilian clothing to military uniforms. Residents of the city collected lard, paper, tin cans and old tires — all to feed the world demand for arms and ammunition. Agricultural machinery, long abandoned in farm groves as outdated, became the scrap iron that went to produce tanks and battleships. Women, too, left the community for work in shipyards and defense plants. “Rosie the Riveter” was a popular song. The Red Cross, through an organization known as Canteen Ladies, saw to it that hot coffee was available at the Chicago


Worthington builds its first high school, facing on Seventh Avenue.

and Northwestern Railroad depot for servicemen on the way to new assignments. Many volunteers were available day and night to staff the canteen and to serve doughnuts and coffee. A pilot training program was organized at the Worthington municipal airport. Fledgling Navy pilots received their first hours in the air, operating from the grass landing strip north of the city. Classes were conducted through the local high school and junior college. Uniforms of the youthful cadets became a part of the city street scene. Small pennants were seen in the front win-


dows of many homes. One white star indicated one son in service; two white stars, two sons. A gold star signified a serviceman from the family had died fighting for his country. Victory in Europe came early in May 1945. City stores closed and special church services were held. The point system for discharge from the military was initiated and the high point men were to be released first. Victory in Japan followed three months later, after two atomic bombs were dropped. Again, city stores closed and a prayer service was held.

Rationing ended, it was possible to pull into a service station and say, “fill it up,” and uniforms filled the streets as the returning servicemen arrived and registered for the 52-20 club — $20 each week in unemployment benefits for 52 weeks, or until a job was found. Worthington brought in surplus housing units from Baraboo, Wisconsin, and created a veterans housing project on Milton Avenue; enrollment at the college soared as veterans took advantage of the GI bill, and employers welcomed the return of workers to the civilian force.


E.O. Olson purchased Worthington Creamery and Produce Co., later to be owned by Campbell Soup Co.; Hotel Thompson marks grand opening in downtown Worthington.

City’s first paving program makes 56 blocks of concrete out of prairie mud.


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Settlers built one sod house for two families Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Two Swedish immigrant families, hopeful of owning a piece of the earth’s surface, came to Worthington in the fall of 1871 and built a 12- by 20-foot sod dugout which four adults and five children shared for almost a year. It was not the first sod hut on this grassy, treeless, windswept prairie. But it may have been the first and only intentionally made for duplexstyle living. Pressed by the arrival of winter, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Larson and Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Moberg only had time to build one dugout. They constructed the shanty so the lot line between their claims ran through the middle of the tiny room. Under one roof, each family could then sleep and live on their own side of the room and thus meet the legal claim requirement of the Homestead Act. In June 1972 — 101 years and four generations later — the descendants of the pioneering couples, Norman Larson and John Moberg, still farmed side by side on those original claims. An indentation where the two-family dugout stood could still be seen in Bigelow Township 26. The two-family story of neighborliness began in Jemtland, Sweden, as was the case with many homesteaders in the Worthington area, especially in Indian Lake and Bigelow townships. The Mobergs and Larsons came to America together in 1870, an arduous journey by boat, foot, wheel car and railroad. Unable to find work in Chicago, they pushed on to Minneapolis, then a city of shacks and saw mills, of soldiers and Swedes. The men did some lumberjacking and worked off and on for the railroad. It was a letter from

Hans Nystrom, another friend from Sweden, that lured the two families to Nobles County. Hans had already taken a claim and urged them to come immediately. The men made two trips here in the summer of 1871. They walked from Mankato to Worthington the first time. A few weeks later, they took the train to St. James and walked from there. On that journey they picked out side-by-side claims and walked on to Jackson to make the official filing. By October, the railroad had pushed on to Windom so the two families rode that far on the caboose of a construction train. The children at that time included Lewis and Jake Larson, ages 11 and 4, and Anna, Neils, and Christine Moberg, ages 9, 4, and 18 months. Life seemed bright, full of promise. They were finally within reach of owning some rich farmland of their own. Building that sod duplex was the first thing they had to do. Scooped deep into an earthen embankment, the home was much like the so-called potato cellars used by later generations. The roof was just three feet above ground at the front of the hut and 10 inches above ground at the back. The floor was dirt. Walls above ground were sod and boards. There was a stove in the center of the room and wooden bunk beds at each side. Years after his boyhood experience, Lewis Larson was once quoted as saying this about life in that sod hut: “The space was pretty well taken up when all the folks were in the room.” Nine people. Twelve by 20 feet. Peter Larson, asleep in the northeast quarter of the section which he claimed, may well have stretched out a foot in the

VETERANS From Page B11

World War II Frederick E. Aeilts, Ellsworth, lost Aug 11, 1944, on a mission to strafe enemy ships near Utarom, New Guinea. Clifford J. Anderson, Worthington, died Jan. 11, 1943, at sea. Loyd Loren Apel, Worthington, killed April 23, 1943, in the Gulf of Mexico. Leonard A. Baumgard, Worthington, died March 25, 1945 in bomber crash. Raymond Earl Bengston, St. Paul, killed May 4, 1945, in plane crash. Cletus F. Broich, Wilmont, killed in action July 12, 1944, in Battle of St. Lo. Glen Bucher John A. Cramer, Worthington, killed May 25, 1945, at Luzon. Floyd Edward Easterday, Brewster, killed Jan. 27, 1941, at Pearl Harbor. Luverne E. Gibson, Wortington, killed Jan. 4, 1945, in action at Bastogne, Belgium. Jerome E. Godfrey, Worthington, killed in June 1944 on a bomber crash south of Ropen, Austria, while serving as deputy flight commander. Floyd L. Good, Rushmore, killed in action March 28, 1945, near Dillenberg, Germany. Roger Melick Hagerman, Brewster, killed in action July 3, 1944, in New Guinea. Ray Hansen Floyd Fay Heath, Round Lake, died at base hospital, West Palm Beach, Fla. Lamber C. Heikes, Ellsworth, died July 11, 1943, in plane crash over Gulf

night into the northwest quarter which belonged to Jonas. And vice versa. Although they could look forward to delicious meals of fresh fish and prairie chickens, the eating was very skimpy that first year. There had been no time or money to put in the simplest provisions like spuds or meat. So they ate what they had — 100 pounds of flour. Sometimes when they could get milk from neighbors, they mixed it in boiling milk. They call it “greit” and they served it in a dish and ate it with a spoon. It was about as tasty as wallpaper paste. Fuel was a constant worry to the early pioneers, too. There were few trees on the prairie except along the lakes and creeks. They kept warm mainly by burning twisted hay. Somehow, in January 1872, the two fathers managed to walk to Heron Lake and purchase a cow which they herded back over the snow drifts. The journey took one week. When spring arrived they also bought a team of oxen and went into a partnership of sorts with Erick Mahlberg, another early pioneer who already had a team. With Erick’s help, Mrs. Larson and Mrs. Moberg broke up 70 acres of prairie that spring while their husbands worked on the railroads. This was the only means they had to accumulate cash with which to buy seed from Peter Thompson, one of Worthington’s early store keepers. In the fall of 1872, before the full year of duplex living was over, the families built small, simple frame houses for themselves on their own claims. One of the early frame houses on the Moberg farm was still used a century later as a chicken house.

of Mexico. Richard Eugene Horak, Worthington, killed in action April 22, 1944, while on mission over Germany. Paul Williams Janssen, Worthington, reported missing Dec. 10, 1942, later declared lost between Greenland and Labrador. Duane R. Jenkins, Round Lake, killed Dec. 3 in plane crash with Japanese plane near Solomons. Cleophus Kellen Edward A. Kent, Worthington, killed in action Oct. 25, 1944, in Germany. Harold Killen Arvin Knuth, Wortington, killed July 23, 1944, in plane crash at Norman, Okla. Charles Lowell Knuth, Worthington, killed Oct. 20, 1944, in plane crash near Freeman Field, Ind. Carlyle J. Kopp, Worthington, instructor at Wold-Chamberlain Field until his death July 21, 1943, near St. Paul. Donald A. Krogman, Dundee, killed April 8, 1944, in plane crash. James C. Krull, Rushmore, died Sept. 2, 1946, in Nurnberg, Germany. Davis Vernon Kruse, Adrian, killed in action July 5, 1944, in Saipan. Lloyd W. Mayo, killed Jan. 31, 1944, while landing plane in California. Leonard Meier, missing in action Oct. 25, 1944, on Leyte; later presumed dead. Marvin M Menke, Wilmont, killed Jan. 20, 1945, in Battle of Belgian Bulge. Julius A Middendorff, Wilmont, killed in action May 18, 1945, on Okinawa. Leland Nelson



eral years. The grassThe last hopper plague that bankrupted the Nation- passenger trains al Colony in 1876 also WORTHINGTON — destroyed any hopes Railroad passenger WORTHINGTON — for the seminary’s service for Worthington In December 1873, the continuance. ended in the late 1950’s Worthington Semibut it continued for a nary Association was For train, call short time longer for officially incorporated. several other commuAccording to its char- two-two nities in the region. It ter, its purpose was “to WORTHINGTON — establish a seminary of Charles J. Smallwood was on Sept, 1963, that learning for the educa- founded the Worth- tri-weekly service on a mixed freight and pastion of persons of both ington Telephone senger train was cansexes in science, lan- Exchange Company in guage, arts and useful April 1878. There were celed for Alpha, Chandler, Edgerton, Fulda, and polite literature.” 100 local subscribers Fairmont, Iona, JackOn the board of within the first year. son, Hatfield, Kinbrae, directors sat three men Smallwood’s sense of Lakefield, Myeloma, who were well quali- humor revealed itself Pipestone, fied to undertake such in that year’s number Okabena, sherburn, Wells, Wela venture. listing. Residents dialed come and Wirock. The Professor R.F. Humis- one-one for Charlie ton was an educator Won, Chinese laundry last passenger cancelmost of his life. Besides man, and two-two for lation hearing in the region was told that teaching, he served the train depot. westbound trains on as superintendent for the Milwaukee took the Cuyahoga Falls, Lyndon and Lady in no passenger reveOhio schools. Later he nue at all on either the Bird Johnson visit founded the Cleveland westbound or the eastInstitute, a coeduca- in 1960 bound runs for the first tional experiment in WORTHINGTON — three months of 1963. military training. For the entire year of Worthington’s most C.Z. Sutton was a for1962, the westbound elaborate Turkey Day mer classical languages teacher at Oberlin. His collapsed in a soggy train took in only 9.08 home in Carlisle, Ohio heap on Sept. 22, 1960, while the eastbound slightly better was frequently visited when more than three did with $11.45. inches of rain washed by such famous personalities as Longfel- out the whole thing. First English mass low, Greenley, Bryant In town that day were Lyndon Johnson and WORTHINGTON — and Mark Twain. The Rev. B.H. Crever, Lady Bird campaigning Pope John XXIII gave local Methodist pas- for the Kennedy-John- approval in 1964 to tor, established a pri- son ticket, Republi- celebrating Mass in the vate school in Milton, can National Chairman language of the peoPa., and was among the Thruston Morton, Sen. ple rather than only in founders of Williams- Hubert Humphrey, Sen. Latin as had been cusport Dickinson College. Eugene McCarthy, Gov. tom through the cenHe was an instructor Orville Freeman and turies. The first offithere for two years his opponent Elmer cial English mass to before moving west. Andersen, and Army’s be celebrated in the Crever was the semi- Golden Knight para- United States was by nary’s principal during chute jumping team, a Ret. Rev. Msgr. Stancompany of men who ley Hale at St. Mary’s its short existence. The association wer to put on a jmock church in Worthingappealed to the Minne- amphibious assault of ton. The official date sota Conference of the Centennial Beach, and for dropping Latin Methodist Church to General John Guthe- was to have been Nov. accept patronage to the rie who was to ded- 29, 1964, but Bishop seminary. They agreed, icate the U.S. Army Edward A. Fitzgerald, and the school became Reserve armory. Four the Bishop of Winona, affiliated with St. Paul’s years later, Lady Bird gave Father Hale perJohnson was to recall mission to “jump the Hamline University. The Worthington the visit to Minnesotas gun.” The date of the Seminary survived as “the day it rained first celebration was intermittently for sev- so hard.” April 12, 1964.

Seminary opened in community in 1873

John Williams Parker, died March 6, 1945, from wounds received in action at Iwo Jima. Willis M. Parker, Worthington, died March 20, 1945, in plane crash in the Aleutian Islands. Duane M. Peterson, killed April 1943 in crash at Trail Peak, N.M. Charles Pfeiffer, killed in action July 4, 1944, on Saipan. Melvin J. Rarich, Worthington, presumed dead Feb. 19, 1945, while on mission from Kodiak, Alaska. Philip R. Remhof, Worthington, drowned March 23, 1945, near Ramagan, Germany. Richard Saxon, Worthington, killed in action Feb. 12, 1945, at Luzon. Robert Paul Schafer, Worthington, reported missing in action Feb. 16, 1945; later reported killed in action. Henry J. Schuman, Adrian, seaman, missing in action and presumed dead Oct. 18, 1943. Bruce D. Singer, Worthington, killed Nov. 1, 1945, in plane crash near Karlsruhe, Germany. Norbert Springman, Lismore, missing in action May 24, 1945, on raid over Tokyo. Palmer N. Storey, Worthington, drowned April 4, 1945, in Irriwaddy River at Bhamo, India. Richard I. Stowe, Worthington, Navy, killed in action. Elmer Swaving, killed June 22, 1943, in crash in Salinas, Calif. Herman A Thelder, Kinbrae, reported missing Dec. 5, 1945, while training over Atlantic Ocean. Lous Uphoff, Adrian, killed in action Nov. 16, 1944. Henry Van Beest, Adrian, lost Octo-

ber 1943 in sinking near Truk Island. Walter Van Cleve Edward Van Rakum, Adrian, killed in action March 7, 1945. Raphael Lloyd Vogt, Wilmont, killed in action March 25, 1944, at Anzio Beach. Henry Wallace, Adrian, killed in action July 4, 1944, in France. Wilbur C. Wright, Kinbrae, killed in Battle of Belgian Bulge. Leighton Keith Zeiner, air corps, killed Dec. 30, 1943, in parachute jump at Hawkinge, England. Korean War Burton Brown Albert Edwards Henry Jansma George Kinkhammer Robert Kraft Clarence Nieboer Robert Terry Vietnam War Ronald Van Regenmorter, killed in action Jan. 12, 1967. Randall Young, killed in action March 3, 1968. Joel Anders, killed in action March 26, 1968. Ronald Redenius, killed in action Oct. 5, 1968. Lauren Fritz, killed in plane crash Dec. 24, 1969. Jerry Russell, killed March 1970 at Tay Ninh. Robert Shurr, killed April 13, 1970. James Krull, killed June 14, 1970, in Cambodia. Daniel Klein, killed Sept. 6, 1970. Ralph Anderson Jerry Bearden Robert Griffith Dave Henrichs



City’s first golf course, now GreatLife, opened April 18.

Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium was built. In 1982, citizens voted to preserve the building.


Farm mortgage foreclosures reach a high of 71.







Worthington’s first 100 years Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Every decade since its founding has seen Worthington undergo changes befitting a growing city. But one of the unchanging constants through most of the time has been the economic base upon which the entire city has been built. That base has been farming. The business of this city traditionally has been serving the needs of farmers. In the 10th decade, however, some rather remarkable changes took place. Worthington’s economic base began to broaden from the narrow pedestal of farming to the much broader one of agriculture. Where the main business was supplying farm and household needs of farmers, it shifted perceptibly toward processing the produce of farmers. Where Worthington had been supplying labor for farmers, it began to be a place where the sons and daughters of farmers found employment when squeezed off land by the technological revolution. In the process, the city cast off its traditional social make-up and became multi-racial and vastly more cosmopolitan in its social outlook. And the city was forced to strengthen its municipal skeleton at vast expense to meet the needs. In the closing years of the 1950’s, Camp-

Worthington Freezer Warehouse which was built in 1965. Late in the decade, another major industrial development came. Star Homes, a division of Boise Cascade Corporation, announced July 16, 1969, that it would build a plant in Worthington to produce mobile homes. It became the second An Independence Day celebration takes place on the major industry in the decade to build here. yet-unpaved 10th Street in downtown Worthington. As a result of these bell Soup Company for the first time the city activities, Worthingbought from the Swan- became truly multi-ra- ton’s employment shot son Company what had cial. That didn’t prove upward. In fact, it grew been the old Worthmore to be as much of a prob- substantially faster creamery complex and lem as did the matter of than the population. In went into heavy pro- finding housing for new January 1960, the total duction of chicken and citizens. Worthington number of job-holders turkey soup compo- had filled every existing was 3,553. It went past nents. Employment dwelling. Two families the 4,000 mark to 4,035 shot upward toward lived for much of that in mid-1963, the first a thousand people. fall in the city park in time in history it had This followed by other tents. A housing bureau done so. It went to 4,372 major developments. In was set up and volunteer in November 1964 and 1962, the city opened workers manned the hit its all-time peak of its northeast industrial phones. Some workers 5,077 on July 15, 1968. It tract. Fleetwood Homes lived for weeks in hotels fell back in response to was the first tenant. and motels, but finally national trends but still Factory built housing a place was found for stood at 4,884 in the components were the everyone wanting one summer of 1970. product and many farm and Armour became an Most employees were and non-farm homes important corporate engaged not in farmbegan to roll out the citizen. Mayor Joe Roos ing but in processing of wide doors by Christ- appointed the city’s first agricultural production. mas of that year. human relations council The city invested On March 14, 1963, on Dec. 22, 1965. heavily in public facilArmor & Co. announced Satellite indus- ities during the decade. it would close its Sioux tries sprung up around It put $1.5 million into City, Iowa plant, a facil- Armour. The largest was the new sewage plant ity which employed 1,100 persons with a payroll of $7 million. The reason given was the fact the plant could not be modernized economically. Worthington establishes Junior College Among the workers transferred in were with Sept. 14 opening; Nobles Cooperative 39 blacks and several Electric organizes in June; Local turkey Native Americans, and


industry exceeds $500,000 mark.

and another $500,000 into new lagoons. Sewage treatment is for a population of 100,000. It invested $1.4 million in 1963 to improve local water mains, build additional storage capacity and to develop the south well field. Included was 10.25 miles of 20-inch pipeline, which took 65 railroad carloads of pipe to build. The city found it necessary in 1964 to invest heavily in school additions at West and at the high school. At the time, the schools were 12 classrooms short. The new county library was built in 1963 at a cost of $250,000. Late in the decade, hospital improvements costing $2.8 million were planned including a 40-bed convalescent and rehabilitation wing. Worthington was quite a different town in 1970 than it was in 1960. It had 20% more people at work. They were doing in many cases work that wasn’t even thought of 10 years previously. The companies for which they worked were pouring dollars into the economy. Campbell’s announced at the end of 1967 that

it had spent $9 million for wages, supplies and services that year in the local area. Armour said it paid out $43.35 million to area farmers for livestock in the year ending October 1969. It paid out $300,000 on one single day of October that year. Hog production shot upward. From 1964 to 1969, it was reliably estimated production went up 20% in the area and prices were holding 50 to 75 cents above the regular market. And the city looked different even though cynics said it smelled the same. The aromatic old sewer plant across the street from the high school was gone. In its place was the facility near the airport and the aromatic lagoons to the northeast. A single quarter in Section 18 of Lorain Township which had grown corn in 1960 had sprouted millions of dollars worth of industries by 1970. For better or for worse, after the 1960’s Worthington would never be quite the same again. It would never be a small farming town again. It had begun to make noises like a city.


130,000 tons of ice were cut from Lake Okabena and sold to railroad houses in Omaha and St. James, the creamery and Worthington area

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First shipment of clothing reaches Crailsheim on February 6, 1948 Committee member recounts sorting everything from dresses and suits to shoes Globe archives Editor’s Note: This story of the distribution of clothing in Crailsheim was written by Ersilia Schuler, a teacher in the Crailsheim schools. It was printed in the Daily Globe April 23, 1948. CRAILSHEIM, Germany — You will have heard, no doubt, in the meantime of the festive reception of your shipment of clothing on Feb. 6 and probably you will find in your papers the pictures taken by the American and German journalist at our time. It was a great day for our city, and everybody was aware of it. It had been very long on its way, but it did arrive after all just before the coldest period of this winter and so served its purpose well and was of great help. Unfortunately, there is no suitable building or even large room left in our city where we could have unpacked and sorted the various articles of dress. So we had to resort to the kindergarten, which was lent to us for a few days only, as all the Crailsheim children are taken care of there by a number of governesses. There, we unpacked the 121 sacks. (“We” means Mr. Denneler; Mr. Leibersberger and myself as members of the committee, and about 10 church confidence women as well as some of our Red Cross nurses.) Our helpers used to come either in the morning or afternoon, so that there were generally about eight of them in

The people of Crailsheim gather to get supplies sent over in a shipment from Worthington residents. readiness, whereas Miss Frand and myself stayed there most of the time, day and night. It was a hard task to do things properly as we had not enough room, first of all, not enough time and only a few makeshift tables to put treasures on. The unpacking was the most exciting part. I wish you could have heard our cries of delight when we beheld all the lovely things the sacks contained. We would run to each other just to show the latest item “our sack” had yielded and to admire the treasures the clothes had delivered. But then the difficulties began. We had to pile the coats and dresses and suits and other things on top of each other on the few makeshift tables and stuff most of the shoes under the tables and into every nook and corner that was not taken. For two weeks we worked, as I mentioned before, all day and the

best part of the night, some of us deciding which of the items on the applications we could give and others making bundles of, say, a coat, some underwear, two pairs of shoes and some baby things. You will surely have had many letters by this time of those who were eager to express their gratitude for what they received, and so I think I need not tell you about it all; those letters will speak for themselves. As they often had to pull things out from underneath others, some of the addresses that had been pinned on came off and got lost in spite of all admonitions to be very, very careful. And some of the packages (for instance, Mrs. Rawlings’ printed material, clothes for babies and various things for a little girl of 3) were not kept together, but given to different families, which is all due to hurry, in which we were forced to do the job.

Volunteers weigh boxes of items ready to be shipped to Crailsheim, Germany. I hope your people will not mind too much if some of the receivers thank them for an article they did not send. I picked up as many of the stray addresses as I could get and told the people to write and thank you all for what they got, so that kind givers should not be disappointed. And they all do want to write and thank you all for what they have received. Of course, there are always some who will never be satisfied with whatever you give them, generally those who used to be the bestknown petitioners at every welfare organization of the second and third Reich and are now again besieging the relief institutions of all creeds and nations. But as a rule the receivers were more than grateful and not satisfied with merely say-

ing, “Thank you.” They would say, “Vergelt’s Gott,” which means “God may pay it back to you (the giver).” When I took up my lessons again, my boys and girls met me in order to show me joyfully what they had received. They were so-o proud! I wonder whether we did it all according to your plans and intentions, especially by not only providing for the “poorest of the poor,” as some would have it, but by giving a share of it to all those who had lost their belongings, their houses and furniture and clothing and their merchant goods by actions of war and cannot buy what they need. Though they may have the money, as everything is rationed and even if you do get a special voucher, the articles in nine cases out of 10 are not to be had.

I had a list made of the people who got the coats and suits. There are switchmen and truck drivers, chemists, instructors, widows, chairwomen, students and disabled veterans. We have not had time yet to find out how many residents of our town did receive some of the clothing, but should say about 4,000 or more. Many residents had not made an application, but being aware of their sad plight we provided for them, too. I must not forget to mention that we were surprised not only by the quantity and quality of your gifts, but also at the good shape in which they arrived, which was certainly due to the careful packing. We hope and pray that the joy you have been giving may some day come back to you.

Theodora Cashel founded partnership of peace Globe archives Editor’s note: This was originally written as a tribute to Theodora Cashel, who died in 1922. It has been updated to reflect the ongoing partnership. WORTHINGTON — In 1946, Theodora Cashel was stimulated through the sponsorship of her 11-year-old daughter, Martha “Marnie”, for a Finnish girl who really wanted shoes Looking beyond that incident, Theodora wanted to develop a sponsorship of a German city, similar in size and structure to Worthington. Following up on a suggestion from the U.S./ military/government, she looked for a city in the U.S. zone. The 70% destroyed city of Crailsheim was chosen for the sponsorship. In those days, Crailsheim had a population of 8,700. In spite of some opposition in this country — and in this area — the plan of a first American-German city partnership was carried through. The sponsorship was to bring material help, but also to bring human

Much of Crailsheim was destroyed by bombings shortly before the end of World War II.

Worthingon receives World Brotherhood award for Crailsheim partnership

Martha Cashel (with letter) initially sought to help her Finnish pen pal by gathering shoes to send to Finland. Her idea prompted her parents to provide aid to warravaged Europe on a grander scale, and that's what led to the sister city partnership with Crailsheim, Germany. relations between both From this help and cities. The first of this other aid, personal letaid — six tons of cloth- ters and pen friending and other dona- ships passed back and tions — arrived on Jan. 6, 1948. CASHEL: Page C5

Globe archives WORTHINGTON — The simple act of three Worthington youngsters in 1947 not only gave way to the Worthington-Crailsheim partnership, but also won Worthington the first ever World Brotherhood award. Given June 3, 1958, in New York, the award recognized the city’s humanitarian efforts through Worthing-

John Fenstermaker and Theodora Cashel, founder of WCII, made the trip to New York to receive the award at the World Affairs Center of the Carnegie Endowment Building. Also present at the ceremony was Mrs. Edwin Kerwin, the Crailsheim representative appointed by Wilhelm Gerbhardt, Bürgermeister of Crailsheim.

AWARD: Page C2



Worthington celebrates first King Turkey Day.

ton-Crailsheim International Inc. (WCII). It was given to Worthington, the winner for cities with a population less than 10,000, by World Brotherhood, an international humanitarian organization. Reports of the award winners were broadcast over national radio and television networks on April 30, 1958. A group of Worthington dignitaries, including Mayor


Bandshell constructed by the National Youth Administration in Chautauqua Park.

Worthington develops sister city partnership with Crailsheim, Germany.







Jack Boote ‘Boots’ lived fabled experience Worthington's Jack Boote poses for a photo in a private rail car in this undated image.

Globe archives WORTHINGTON — He leaned back in his swivel chair, scratched his gray crew cut and started thinking back. Jack Boote, still one of the most controversial figures in town, sat in his basement office at Second Avenue and 11th Street in 1972. Not a very pretentious office for a rich man. The walls are dark and show the stains of flood damage. There’s a “Top Farmer of America Award” hanging on one wall, along with some aerial photos of farms. Here and there are old yellowing signs with aphorisms like “Every Ass Loves to Hear Himself Bray” and “Here Every Employee Is Assistant to the President.” At age 80, the president would rather talk about the future of Boote’s Fishing Paradise and Incubator Company, rather than the past. He has a remarkable memory but his life has been jampacked with events. He’s made more than one fortune. He’s lost fortunes. Where do you start? Jack started as an immigrant shoemaker and went on to lead a flamboyant rags-toriches life. He was part of an interesting era in Worthington’s history. It’s an era and a life that could never be repeated. He came from Holland at age 15, worked

on farms in South Dakota, and lived with a poor aunt and uncle. They ate pancakes three meals a day. On Sundays they put syrup on them. By the time he came to Worthington in 1920, Boote had acquired a wife, an infant, and a $2,900 loan which he used to buy a shoe repair store. Within two years, he was making more money than his banker. “One thing about shoe repair,” Jack says, “It’s always good in hard times.” The theory he used to make money there was the same theory he used later in other enterprises: Big volume, low profit. About the time Boote came to town, so did businessman Bob Wolff. Bob bought out a clothing store and with it, about 3,000 pairs of shoes with outdated Cuban heels. Jack pulled off the heels, put on new style heels, and made a tidy profit. In two years, he had saved enough to retire from shoe repair forever. From that point on, Jack was involved in a variety of enterprises: sugar beets, eggs, turkeys, chickens, butter making, fertilizer, farming, livestock, grass seed, horses, roller skating rinks, restaurants, real estate, muskrat farms, plow distributor and more. He tried lots

Jack Boote, with a cigar in his mouth, holds a couple of boxes of turkey poults that are being loaded into his plane for delivery. of things, made lots of money. Sometimes he lost a bundle. “One time I lost the hatchery business,” he admits. “Nobody knew it but the bank. In six months I had it back.” Jack estimates his enterprises have handled about $1.5 billion since he started banking in Worthington 52 years ago. Of all his many enterprises, it probably was the hatchery business that was most important to Worthington because it came at a crucial point in history. The development of the turkey business by the Worthington Creamery and Produce Company, under E. O. Olson, and Boote Hatchery kept the area from having as devastating a depression as it might have had.

Hundreds of area farmers got involved in the turkey business. How did these two business geniuses get along? “We fought like hell,” Jack says bluntly. “But the last three years of his life, after Mr. Olson retired to Florida, we became the best of friends. He was a great man and did more for Worthington than anyone. It’s a damn shame we couldn’t at least name a street for him.” At the peak of his hatchery business, Jack had as many as 31 branch hatcheries in six states and up to 720 employees. Most of these plants were sold to managers in the 1940’s. His produce plant here was sold to Swift and Co. in 1946 and his last hatchery was sold in 1951.

In 1944, he purchased 27 farms in five days and turned his interests to livestock breeding, tilling, building silos, and other improvements. Each new challenge he met with zeal. Advertising campaigns and promotion stunts were always part of his life, too. The Boote Hatchery was one of the first sponsors of Lawrence Welk back when Lawrence played live polka music on WNAX, Yankton, South Dakota. Lawrence himself, still a personal friend of Jack’s, would play “Mighty Like a Rose” and then tell the folks that “Boote’s chicks are bound to live.” Jack calls himself “the meanest man in the world to do business with” and “the worst mayor Worthington ever

had.” He held the office for one term in 1949. There are some who would agree. Yet the tenure and loyalty of some former employees hints his evaluation may be a bit harsh. Two of his secretaries worked for Jack for 19 and 23 years. Since having 85% of his stomach removed in 1955, Jack changed his lifestyle somewhat. In 1986 he stopped smoking his usual 12 cigars a day. But even in 1972, he’d hop in his car and drive 600 miles at a stretch to visit some place of interest. He’s traveled all over the world, has fished in the Arctic 12 times and has a deep love of country and nature. Last year he traveled 36,000 miles in 36 states “just to look at things.” He’s gone through 29 Cadillacs since 1933. Three times in his life, Jack tried to retire but it just didn’t work out. He’s much happier being in Worthington, making plans for his new business. Just recently he hired a full time bacteriologist. “I know people are laughing at me,” Jack said, eyes twinkling. “I’ve lost a lot of money on this fish hatchery. But just wait. This is going to be the biggest thing yet. It’s very complex, you know.” And so is Jack Boote.

Peter Thompson bought first lots sold in town Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Peter Thompson had the distinction of purchasing the first three lots sold at Worthington, two on Ninth Street and the third on Third Avenue. He had many more distinctions, having come to Nobles County with the vanguard of colonists and identifying with the business, social, religious and political life of the community. A native of Sweden, born there Jan. 27, 1839, Thompson came to Wisconsin with his parents at the age of 11, and to Carver County in Minnesota three years later, in 1853. He had clerked in a general store and on board a steamboat, plying the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers,

before coming to southern Minnesota as early as September 1871, and filing — at Jackon — on land in Elk Township. His close friend, ex-Gov. Stephen Miller, kept him informed of the colony plans and in October 1871, he came to Worthington. The next day, surveyors laid out the town and he purchased the first lots. The following April, Thompson returned on the first regular train to Worthington, bringing with him several carloads of lumber with which to build a store on Ninth Street. He sold his store to B. W. Lyon in 1879, and went into the farm machinery, warehouse, grain, real estate and abstract business. He founded the Nobles County band with George J. Day and, in 1894, sold


First shipment of clothing reaches Crailsheim on Feb. 6.

it to Lynd & Evans. Until 1910, Thompson owned the Worthington Globe Printing office and was holding both city and county offices. His most notable accomplishment was in 1911, when the four-story hotel which bears his name was built, with 118 feet of it faced on 10th Street and the courthouse square. It extended 100 feet along Third Avenue. Completely modern, it had 150 rooms, its own water, light and heat. The grand opening was held in March 1912. C. A. Sampson, St. Paul, was the first manager. He was succeeded by his son, Lyman, after which Thompson took over the management until leasing to Tangney & McGinn. The first businesses to occupy the ground floor were Casareto’s

The Thompson Hotel is seen in this undated photo of Worthington's 10th Street. fruit & confectionery, the Grand theater, Sterling Bros. clothing and Herbert Drug. The Globe and the Ideal Cleaning Works were in the basement.


Student exchange program developed between Worthington and Crailsheim, Germany. Worthington High School is built, with additions made in 1964, 2000, 2015 and 2020.

Since 2020, the historic Thompson Hotel has been transformed, with fully renovated apartments on the upper three floors, and a variety of recently updat-

ed or new businesses at street level, including El Mexicano, the Thompson Mexican Grille, El Rinconcito, a barbershop, clothing boutique and beauty salon.


Worthingon receives World Brotherhood award for Crailsheim partnership; Ice harvesting on Lake Okabena marks final chapter.





SMITH TRUCKING HISTORY 1946 Joe Smith started Joe Smith Trucking in 1946 hauling grain and livestock, and doing corn shelling for local farmers. Later, sons Keith and Phil came on board and the name was changed to “Joe Smith and Sons”. Dump trucks were purchased and they began hauling black top and gravel in the summer and soft water on the side.

1970s 1999. Pat, Rita, Phil, Mike & JoAnne (Left to Right)

In the early 70’s, Joe’s sons, Keith and Phil, became partners with him and they purchased their first over-the-road semitractor. They added a couple of trucks over the next several years while hauling packaged candy for Sathers Candy out of Round Lake, MN. In 1977 Joe passed away, just a year before the newly named “Smith Trucking” obtained its own authority and began hauling boxed meat and general commodities in 48 states.

Sioux City Terminal in Iowa

1990s - 2000s In 1996, a new company logo was created, with all new trucks ordered in black instead of maroon. 2019, Phil, Rita, Pat, JoAnne & Mike at new truck shop in Worthington

The decision was made in early 2000 to move the terminal from Round Lake, MN to Worthington, MN with plans to grow. At that time there were 19 trucks in the fleet. In 2018, a second terminal was added in Sioux City, IA.

2022 With over 75 years of experience, we have worked hard to become a Premier Refrigerated Carrier with long-haul, shorthaul and regional lanes. Our fleet today is comprised of 150 top of the line, Kenworth T680’s and Freightliner Cascadia’s, and 290 Great Dane refrigerated trailers. 2019, Smith Trucking Head Office & Terminal in Worthington, Minnesota

In God We Trust 1451 JOOSTEN ROAD WORTHINGTON, MN • 507-376-5080










E. O. Olson: Stubborn Swede with social conscience built up region’s largest industry Globe archives WORTHINGTON — “Luck and Pluck.” The story of Worthington’s E. O. Olson is a real-life tale. It is the story of the phenomenal growth of a local industry — a 200,000-pound output the first year to millions of pounds of foodstuffs annually — as the “poor boy triumphed in the face of numerous obstacles.” A shrewd, stubborn Swede, tall in stature, “Creamery Olson,” as he became known, was left fatherless at the age of 7. His father, a Swedish emigrant who had homesteaded near Grandy, Minnesota in 1869, died in 1885, leaving his wife and several small children in hard financial straits. School was two and onehalf miles away and the youngsters could attend only in the fall and spring months. Bad roads and cold weather kept them at home in the winter. Their main source of living depended on the little income they earned from their few cows. Ten years later, after the death of their mother, the children were “farmed out.”

In 1898, young Erick became a helper in the Grandy creamery, remaining there two and a half years. He then attended dairy school at St. Peter, after which Professor Haesker helped him get a job as a buttermaker at Grove Lake. From there he went to Brooten, where he was a buttermaker and where he and Bella G. Pladson were married Dec. 21, 1908. Next, he became buttermaker and part owner of the Sunburg creamery, south of Brooten, and then he became renter and full owner of the Swift Falls Creamery northwest of Sunburg. He built a new creamery at Swift Falls but sold both this and his interest at Sunburg in 1911 and rented a creamery at Adrian, his first venture in southwest Minnesota. After more than a year of successful operation of the Adrian creamery, Olson left there, purchasing the privately-owned Worthington Creamery and Produce Co. plant at Worthington from William Burchard for $3,100. He made only

industry with a handsome annual payroll.” Millions of pounds of poultry were purchased and prepared for market in cities throughout the nation, with a big share going to New York and eastern markets. With an average weight of four pounds per bird, 250,000 foul went through the local plant per year. In the seven months preceding 1919, the average monthly payroll was $1,000, with an annual payroll budget of $40,000. Weekly ads informed the public that Worthington Creamery & Produce paid the highest cash price for eggs, sold cracked eggs for half price, offered free buttermilk — for “health and longevity” — left over from the heavy E.O. and Bella Olson feeding season. Furthermore, women could earn from $20 to butter and ice cream room into a mammoth cents for spring chickens at first. industry and produce the two pounds and over, $30 per week for pickThree years later the city’s most highly-re- 15 cents for old roosters ing chickens, $18 weekly first plant was outgrown spected benefactor? and ducks and 10 cents as butter wrappers, and $20 as poultry packers. and, in 1915, Olson built During the heavy for geese. By 1920, the plant at a brick structure at the poultry-dressing season At the same time, eggs corner of Fourth Avenue in 1915, the local cream- brought 43 cents, going Fourth and Ninth had and Ninth Street. ery was paying 25 cents up to 63 cents in the become too small. That Who could have for hens four pounds and winter. By Jan. 1, 1919, spring, construction of guessed that his mod- over, 23 cents for those business had develest start would mush- under four pounds, 30 oped into a “mammoth

OLSON: Page C8


New Nobles County Library constructed.



King Turkey Day begins Great Gobbler Gallop, a race down 10th Street between Worthington’s turkey, Paycheck, and Cuero, Texas’ turkey Ruby Begonia.


New Nobles County Government Center constructed on courthouse square in downtown Worthington.

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George Dayton resided in community for 19 years Globe archives WORTHINGTON — During his 19 years in Worthington, George Draper Dayton revealed the dynamic qualities that would later distinguish him as the founder of Minnesota’s largest department store complex. Dayton recognized Worthington’s potential and worked diligently to establish a thriving agricultural community here. Backed by eastern investors, the 26-yearold Dayton trekked to Worthington in 1883 to take control of the Worthington Bank. Days before he arrived, Dayton learned the banking business in a few nights’ coaching from George S. Price, later treasurer of the New York Central Railroad. He set up business on Worthington’s 10th Street and soon became an influential member of the community. Dayton prospered as owner and president of the Worthington Bank and later organized the Minnesota Loan and Investment Company. He served 12 years on the local board of education and proved a valuable member of West-

The home of George Draper Dayton and his family for the 19 years they lived in Worthington remains today at the corner of 13th Street and Fourth Avenue. The Dayton House is now a bed and breakfast and a community gathering space. minster Presbyterian church. He accepted the responsibility of Sunday School Superintendent and chairman of the building committee. The Dayton family lived in the large house on the corner of Fourth Avenue and 13th Street, which is presently part of Cashel’s Boarding Home. The house featured New England design with twin chimneys, widow’s walk, iconic pillars and an immense porch surrounded by spacious lawn. Here the Dayton boys, Draper and Nelson, who would expand


Worthington Middle School is built, with additions coming later in 2000 and 2010.

the business empire their father founded, grew up. As a citizen and banker, Dayton worked to attract settlers to the area. At times he virtually drafted men to agricultural duty. One discouraged citizen who gave up his property to work in town was prodded back to the country with land Dayton sold him at $8 an acre. Dayton threw in 19 cows plus enough capital to make a fresh start. He also recruited one of the





in 1958, when she was decorated with the From Page C1 “Bundersverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse.” In 1972, after 25 years forth between Worth- of this friendship, a speington and Crailsheim. cial exhibition in the A street in Crailsheim, Ratsaal recalled the histhe Kronprizen- tory of this partnership. strasse, was renamed Four Franconian cosWorthingtonstrasse. tumes were given as a A student exchange present to Worthington, program was initiated in where they were worn in 1956 with two students the Turkey Day Parade. from Worthington going The Costumes are now on to Crailsheim in 1956- display in a special exhib57. In the following it in the Nobles County school year, two stu- Historical Museum. dents from Crailsheim Never forgotten and came to Worthington. remembered fondly is An organization, even- Theodora Cashel’s countually named Worthing- terpart in Crailsheim. ton-Crailsheim Interna- Isolde Matthes, who, tional, Inc., was started from the very beginning with much support from and for 38 years until her Theodora and a group death in 1985, cared in a of people in Worthing- very intensive and speton who were eager as cial way for the connecshe was to try to devel- tion between Crailsheim op better relationships and Worthington. with other nations in Her friends in Worththe world, but especially ington presented a plaque with Germany because to her at the first Worthof the fairly large con- ington Choir exchange. centration of German At the 40th anniversary ethnics in this area. of the partnership, the In April 1958, Worth- plaque found a signifiington received the cant resting place in the first World Brotherhood Rathaus in Crailsheim. A Award for its promo- copy was given to the tion of internation- Nobles County Historical al understanding and Museum in Worthington. friendship. With the Theodora Cashel visaward came financial ited Crailsheim in Sepawards that Worth- tember 1967. Many still ington shared with her remembered the wellpartner, Crailsheim. dressed woman with a The founder of strong personality, but this unique partner- also a mature woman ship visited Crailsheim whose feelings for people


Hotel Thompson added to National Register of Historic places on Feb. 16.



were reflected in her light blue eyes. In September 1987, Crailsheim celebrated the 40th anniversary of this unique friendship, not only the first of its kind, but also a lasting one that will always be remembered. Theodora Cashel was present at the 40th anniversary festivities to receive an honorary citizen award that has only been granted six times in the history of Crailsheim. Crailsheim also renamed a street in honor of the partnership founder: Theodora Cashel Strasse. Since then, long-time Worthington Mayor Bob Demuth was also honored with a street, Demuth Allee, in Crailsheim. The city of Crailsheim hosted a group from Worthington in 2017 — including the “Amazing” Worthington City Band — to celebrate the sister city partnership. Earlier this summer, the cities of Worthington and Crailsheim celebrated 75 years of partnership with a celebration in Worthington. More than 70 individuals from Crailsheim traveled to Worthington, including the Crailsheim Stadtkapelle and Crailsheim Oberbürgermeister Dr. Christoph Grimmer.


Worthington hosts its first International Festival.

59 Years of Service

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DGLOBE.COM Paycheck and Ruby Begonia race team members get ready to chase their birds down 10th Street in one of the early days of the Great Gobbler Gallop. Globe archives

Turkey Day origin was frantic crowd on court square fighting for live turkeys Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Picture the courthouse square on a December day with hundreds of outstretched hands reaching skyward. Suddenly the air was filled with 100 flying turkeys and guinea hens which had been dropped from the top of the courthouse tower. As the birds neared the earth, the crowd of 3,000 pushed and shoved. A cheer went up as two of the frightened birds put on a sudden burst of speed. One landed on the roof of a building across the street. Another land-

ed in a store awning that was soon torn to shreds. Still another landed in a tree. Several boys tried to scramble up the tree. Others tossed snowballs at the turkey. It was a noisy, hilarious and potentially dangerous scene. But the merchants of 1934 declared it a huge success. It was their best day’s business yet. Long before the first King Turkey Day was celebrated in 1939, this was the sort of Turkey Day our town observed, along with a Chick Day and a Rooster Day.

Enticing a big crowd to town for Christmas shopping was the purpose of the Goodwill Turkey Scramble, as it was sometimes called. Catch a turkey and you had yourself a free Christmas dinner. As the crowds grew, so did the possibility of accidents and injuries; turkeys are skittish and unpredictable at best. People were serious about wanting to catch one, to say the least. In 1938, the merchants sent balloons aloft containing slips for free turkeys instead


Worthington High School teacher Mary Beth Blegen named Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

of the real thing. Even this proved potentially dangerous. Some of the balloons blew out on Lake Okabena. Four boys fell through the ice chasing them. Chick Day in May was a big spring promotion sponsored by the Civic and Commerce association in the 1930’s. For every dollar that a shopper spent in Worthington that day, he received a coupon which could be traded for three (two after 1939) baby chicks at the Worthington Creamery or Boote’s Hatchery.

The limit for a single shopper was eventually set at 150 chicks for $50 spent. Many farm wives did their major shopping on Chick Day and thus stayed in the chicken business. The chicks in 1937 were worth eight cents each, so little profit was realized for participating merchants. The promotion was considered a good way to extend Wortington’s trade territory, however. Sometimes Worthington had a “Swap the Rooster Day,” too, when farmers were urged to

rid their flocks of surplus males. To round up the barnyard alarm clocks, the Creamery and Boote’s Hatchery offered a premium above-market price for the birds. Merchants gave extra bonuses if the special rooster checks were spent in Worthington. More than 20,000 pounds of chanticleers were snatched from flocks one Rooster Day. Anything for some extra cash. So even before Turkey Day, it was a wing-ding of a town.


Mary Beth Blegen honored as National Teacher of the Year.


Worthington hosts its first Windsurfing Regatta.

partnership of friends, family and

ical The City of Worthington’s munip , and liquor store first opened in 1952 was operated out of City Hall.

In 1977, the store moved to the Diagonal Road location.


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Horace Ludlow developed Okabena apple From hat salesman to grocery store and sewing machine manager and horticulturist Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Prior to coming to Worthington in 1875, Horace J. Ludlow, a native of New Jersey, had learned the sewing machine business from an uncle and had been manager of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. After coming to Worthington, he bought land, in addition to hardware stock from Hewitt & Martin, which he kept for 12 years before going into the grocery store business. In the fall of 1882, Ludlow purchased 87 acres of the old Hoffman homestead on the south shore of Lake Okabena. This was the first land farmed in the vicinity of Worthington. G.J. Hoffman had taken a claim here before Worthington was founded and before the railroad was built in the county.

The noted Okabena apple was started from seed Hoffman had procured from Peter Gideon, Excelsior, and was developed by Ludlow. After a few years on the farm, Ludlow returned to Worthington, putting up a residence here and starting a nursery business. In 1895, he returned to the farm, acquired 208 acres of lake shore land and, in 1907, erected his spacious stone and frame home, long noted for its hospitality. The residence later became part of the Lake Haven nursing home complex (now South Shore Care Center). Ludlow spent thousands of dollars in fruit experiments, and his 400-acre Okabena Apple Orchard became well known throughout the state. He and the former Mary E. Barlow had married April 4, 1873 at

Ripon, Wisconsin. Of their three sons, Herbert Dwight was the only one to continue in the nursery business. Milton engaged in farming and J. Burr, one-time mayor of Rushmore, had many business interests in that community before becoming a banker at Minneapolis and then at Sibley, Iowa. The Ludlows also had two daughters, Una, who died as a child, and Helen, who became Mrs. Frank Hansberger and made her home in Ohio.




to attend the ceremonies and present the citFrom Page C1 ies with a citation scroll adorned and signed by his characters, Albert the Philippine ambassador Alligator and Beaurigard Carlos Romulo, World the Dog. Kelly, who had Brotherhood co-chair- just returned from a trip man, presented the around the world, was award to Worthington. convinced of the need “Building interna- for greater international tional relations on a understanding. community-to-community basis … represents a new approach to democracy.” said Romulo, who was quoted in the June 3, 1958 Worthington Daily Globe. “We call it a ‘citizen diplomacy’ and I feel that as it develops and multiplies around the world, our opportunities for building a lasting peace will also increase.” Rear admiral H.B. Miller, Pan-America World Airways, presented Worthington with a community friendship award grant for the exchange of community leaders in the world. Worthington later gave the grant to Cashel, who could take a trip wherever she wanted. Walt Kelly, creator of Pongo comic strip, took it upon himself


Prairie Justice Center completed to house Nobles County jail, courts system and probation.



Dayton House added to National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 23.


Worthington later reprised the ceremony at Memorial Auditorium. Dr. Everett Clinchy, administrative president of World Brotherhood, and Perry Lust, Minneapolis regional director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, attended the celebration.


Prairie Elementary opens.








:LQGVXUIHUV UDFH GXULQJ WKH :LQGVXU¿QJ Regatta on Worthington's Lake Okabena. Photos by Tim Middagh / The Globe

Worthington hosted first Windsurfing Regatta in 2000 Globe archives WORTHINGTON — The idea for a windsurfing regatta in Worthington was planted long before it became a reality, and involved local businessman Bill Keitel and a conversation he had with a local weather expert who believed Worthington was the second windiest region in the United States. “Fargo (North Dakota) is indisputably the windiest. Fargo doesn’t have a lake, but Worthington does,” Keitel shared in The Globe in early June 2000. “The Department

of Public Service has put together some very definitive maps that prove this is the windiest spot in the Midwest that has a lake.” Keitel had been windsurfing for at least a dozen years, and Jeff Hegwer for about eight years. Both spearheaded Worthington Okabena Windsurfers, and know firsthand that Worthington’s Lake Okabena has prime conditions for the sport. “This is not just a contrived event,” emphasized Keitel. “People look at Worthington now and

say this lake does have the best wind.” “High and consistent wind,” added Hegwer. “We’d been kind of thinking, having good intentions, for six years, and good intentions turned into actions when the Worthington Convention and Visitors Bureau became involved (in planning a windsurfing event).” Leading up to Worthington’s first-ever windsurfing regatta in 2000, Keitel and Hegwer spread the word to fellow windsurfers and listed the event in the U.S. Wind-

surfing Association calendar of events and with the Minnesota windsurfing organization, which has called the Worthington regatta “the event of the summer.” A regatta is a term that generally denotes speed — seeing which sailing vessel can go the fastest. But the Windsurfing Regatta will be more about promoting the sport and Worthington’s natural resource — Lake Okabena. At least 50 confirmed reservations were received from Midwestern windsurfers of var-


National Guard Armory added to National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 27.


Chautauqua Park Bandshell added to National Register of Historic Places on July 21.

OLSON From Page C4

a “mammoth fireproof building” was begun on Second Avenue, with Omaha railway trackage. The new building, later site of the present Campbell Soup Co. sprawling complex, offered 35,000 square feet of floor space — three times that on Fourth Avenue. Sam Swanson was contractor for the two-story brick and concrete building, which included a high basement. Plans also included poultry-receiving rooms on the first floor; a cold-storage area with 10-carload capacity — of 10,00 pounds of butter, 15,000 dozen eggs and 10,000 pounds of dressed poultry. A poultry-feeding plant with a 40,000head fowl capacity would be located on the second floor. This required special sanitary engineering. Sunshine and fresh air were needed and birds were to be penned in the latest steel “batteries.”

DAYTON From Page C5

city’s infamous drunks and set him up on what became a remarkably prosperous farm. Dayton was perhaps the most influential person in changing the local agricultural landscape. During his Worthington years he broke the farmers’ stubborn prejudice for wheat, and corn became the chief crop. He convinced clients that hogs would pay off the mortgage quicker than anything else, thus stimulating livestock production. Because Dayton missed

At this time, the plant employed 20 men and 30 women, and was headquarters for 28 stations within a 50-mile radius of Worthington, doing an annual business of well over $1 million. In the new and continually expanding plant, Frank E. Mixa and R. W. Olson managed the new hatchery operation. R.W. Bergstrom, Nick Hand and R.W. Hoxie are but a few of the names long associated with Worthington Creamery & Produce. Hoxie was with the creamery before railroad cars were refrigerated. Poultry had to be shipped live to Chicago and New York and he traveled right in the cars with it, making sales at stops along the way. By 1936, more than 600 cars of processed dairy and poultry products were shipped by rail and 300 cars of raw materials arrived during the year. At this time, the “Worthmore” label was used on products. Tom Hauge oversaw buttermaking; R. H. Sampe,

cheese production, and Fred Hyke, ice cream. Christmas parties for employees began in December 1939, with more than 1,000 attending the first party at the local Armory. E.O. Olson’s daughter said it was impossible to estimate the number of employees he had, and the impact their earnings made on the local community. Suffice it to say, it was substantial. After E.O. Olson’s retirement in 1944, when he sold the entire business to C. A. Swanson and Sons, Olson still “sat in the driver’s seat” community-wise. Quietly and behind the scenes — many of his acts are unknown to the general public because he wanted it that way — he put money to work on behalf of the community where he had made his fortune. His main interests were an ample water supply for Worthington, better recreational facilities for its citizens, and a YMCA to build better young people.

the New England fruit orchard, he offered to pay the cost of the original plantings for anyone interested in such an experiment. Soon apple orchards flourished on local farms. Worhtington survived the panic of 1893 due to Dayton’s faith in the recuperative power of the agricultural community and his own determined will to survive. The Worthington Bank remained open during the initial run. Dayton reassured clients and met every demand. At one time he charged into the kitchen of a woman who had withdrawn all of her money

and told her briskly that he needed the money worse than she did, so he took it. At the end of the nation’s financial crisis, Dayton published an advertising leaflet whose cover read, “After a cyclone has swept over the country, the trees left standing are considered first-class timber.” By the turn of the century, prosperity had returned to Worthington. Dayton prospered also and eventually expanded into activities that took him from Worthington to Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, he founded Dayton’s department store.

ious skill levels, and the organizers hoped to entice a lot of locals into giving it a try. “It’s more about fellowship,” said Hegwer. “The main requirement is entertainment and fun. We’re not stressing competitiveness.” The gathering place for the regatta was the east lake edge, near the former power plant site — a spot now dubbed Sailboard Beach. A two-block section of Lake Street was barricaded to facilitate the gathering. The two-day agenda included a swap meet

where people could buy used equipment, get instruction and attend clinics, and participate in surf activities and attempts at formations. There was also entertainment, a hog roast and community mixer. Events were scheduled hourly beginning at 9 a.m. both days, but a lot will depend on wind conditions. “Windsurfers recognize that the wind doesn’t blow all the time,” said Keitel. “It’s not a sure thing.”



The new Learning Center opens for students.

More than just a hearing aid store





International Festival draws thousands in 1994

Globe archives WORTHINGTON — Teamwork. It’s what the game of soccer is all about. It’s also what made International Festival 1994 an overwhelming success on Sunday, July 17, 1994. Sponsored by the Worthington Cultural Diversity Coalition, the festival was intended as a celebration of the area’s cultures. It centered upon a soccer tournament, since the globe’s most popular sport is enjoyed by many of the diverse cultures in the Worthington area. The teamwork involved in putting the festival together culminated Sunday morning, when volunteers began arriving at daybreak at Worthington Junior High School. In order to be ready by the 11 a.m. starting time, the volunteers began working shortly after 7 a.m. “The setup itself was really something,” said Sara Taylor, one of the festival’s organizers. “Everyone worked together to make this happen.” Spectators nibbled on international delicacies such as crab ran-

Tim Middagh / The Globe

The Chinese ceremonial Lion Dance group works the crowd at the 28th annual Worthington International )HVWLYDO 6DWXUGD\ DIWHUQRRQ -XO\ goon, tamales, apple strudel, Greek delicacies and German pretzels as they watched the teams compete on the soccer fields. Others gathered on a grassy knoll overlooking the field to listen to a Laotian vocalist or Mexican folk band, or to watch the Tapestry of Youth, a local dance troupe. Areas also were available to view ethnic crafts and for preschool-aged children to play. Both were busy for the duration of the festival. Taylor said about 25 people were involved in the advance planning of

the event. The weather cooperated perfectly for the festivities. Parking spots were hard to find, people lined up at the food stands at lunch time and a large crowd surrounded the soccer fields and other areas on the school grounds throughout the day. Crowd estimates soared into the thousands, with between 1,000 and 2, 000 people on hand at the height of the festival. “I think it was a great success and I think it can be an even greater success next year,” said Worthington Mayor


From Page C8

The event was deemed a rousing success after the fact, with all of the elements coming together — wind, waves, surfers and sun. Colorful sails filled the lake as sailboarders danced their way across the waves, sometimes racing in organized events, sometimes just honing their freestyle skills. By noon on that Saturday, more than 75 windsurfers had reg-

Tim Middagh / The Globe

Peter Hartwich, of Excelsior, Minnesota sails on Lake Okabena between races during the 2022 :RUWKLQJWRQ :LQGVXU¿QJ 5HJDWWD

ISD 518 completes construction of new intermediate school.

Truly grateful for 30 years of serving our community Z

The original funeral home building in Worthington, owned by Dick and Diane Lynch.

The Dingmann Funeral Home & Cremation Services horse drawn carriage

Groundbreaking for the new Dingmann funeral home took place in the fall of 1998. Dan and Monica Dingmann moved to the area in 1993 to help Diane after the passing of Dick Lynch. They eventually procured the four area funeral homes. Paul Larson and Kurt Haugen joined Dingmann in 1994. Dan and Monica’s son, Jordan, joined in 2019.

WORTHINGTON 1545 N. McMillan 507-372-4250

ADRIAN 109 E. 7th St. 507-483-2761

LUVERNE 300 N. Kniss 507-283-4567



istered, hailing largely from the Twin Cities area, but also from Fremont, Nebraska; Dallas Center, Iowa; and Yankton, South Dakota. And by the end of the day Sunday, more than 115 individuals had registered. The winds had calmed on Sunday, facilitating beginners’ lessons. The more advanced windsurfers offered their skills for teaching instead of surfing. Organizers estimated that at least 50 people hopped on a board, achieving varying levels of success.


COVID-19 pandemic strikes, leading to temporary school and business closures and ultimately that year’s cancellation of the Regatta, International Festival, Nobles County Fair and King Turkey Day.


Bob Demuth. “The food was good, the musical arrangements were good and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.” “You never know what to expect, but it (the turnout) was just about what I expected,” said Jerry Fiola, another organizer. “We’re hoping to make this an annual event and we’d like to see the thing grow even more.” “This is by far the coalition’s most successful event thus far,” said Brian Emmel, a member of the Cultural Diversity Coalition who was involved in the planning. “And for the first time we’ve got a mixture of all the cultures together in one place.” In 2022, the Worthington International Festival celebrated its 28th year. The celebration moved downtown to the Nobles County Government Center lawn years ago, where entertainers perform on stage, numerous ethnic groups set up tents with displays, and food trucks line Third Avenue between Ninth and 10th streets.



Pictured in 2019 Above: Paul Larson - Funeral Director; Dan Dingmann - Funeral Director/President, Kurt Haugen - Funeral Director, Monica Dingmann - Pre-Arrangement Specialist/Vice President; Jordan Dingmann - Funeral Director Intern.

Serving your family with dignity, compassion & excellence. Traditional Funeral Services ⬤ Immediate Burials ⬤ Cremation Services Anatomical Donation Services ⬤ Out-of-Town Arrangment Services Preplanning Programs ⬤ Aftercare Services








Do you know the year First State Bank Southwest was founded? First State Bank Southwest has been rooted in Nobles County since 1903 and the City of Worthington since 1984.


Do you know the location of all 6 First State Bank Southwest locations? 30


202 8th Avenue SE Pipestone, MN 56164 (507) 825-0055

Edgerton Leota

760 Main Street Edgerton, MN 56128 (507) 442-5000


11665 110th Street Leota, MN 56153 (507) 443-6741

Sioux Falls 4400 East 57 Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57108 (605) 271-0517



75 90





103 N Thompson Ave Rushmore, MN 56168 (507) 478-4121

1433 Oxford Street Worthington, MN 56187 (507) 376-9747

Then and Now: See how we’ve changed!

Original Rushmore Building 1903

Original Worthington Branch Building 1984 1210 Oxford Street

First State Bank Southwest Worthington %UDQFK७PRYHG७RɚFHV७௿ఇఆఆ 1206 Oxford Street

First State Bank Southwest, New Building, 1993, 1433 Oxford Street

A note from the CEO, Greg R. Raymo.

The growth of the Worthington community has provided us signiȴcant opportunities to succeed over the past 38 years. We are truly fortunate that our former leaders made a very strategic decision to come and grow with the Worthington community. – CEO, Greg R. Raymo.

:RUWKLQJWRQ७2ɚFH७௶ః௾అ௷७ఁఅఄ௻ఇఅంఅ 5XVKPRUH७2ɚFH७௶ః௾అ௷७ంఅఆ௻ం௿ఀ௿ firststatebanksw.com