Ellsworth, Minnesota

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Ellsworth is a city in Nobles County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 540 at the 2000 census. The local school district is the Ellsworth Public School.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.7 kmĀ²), all of it land. It is located in Grand Prairie Township in the far southwestern corner of Nobles County.

Main highways include:


Early History: Ellsworth is located in Grand Prairie Township in the extreme southwestern corner of Nobles County. The township was organized in 1873, though settlers had taken up residence in the township as early as 1871. One of these early settlers is known in history only as "Uncle" Stillwell. Mr Stillwell made a claim to the land where Ellsworth now stands, and he established a small store on his farmstead, supplying the needs of local farmers. He also operated a peddler's wagon in the vicinity. Mr. Stillwell had great confidence in the future of the region, and often remarked that a town would one day be located on his property, or very near to it. However, Stillwell packed up and left the area two years before the town of Ellsworth was eventually established in 1884. Ellsworth sits on Stillwell's former claim, and the business district of the town is located less than 1/2 mile west of Stillwell's cabin.

A New Railroad Town: Ellsworth came into existence as a result of construction of the Burlington Railroad in the summer of 1884. The site was selected by agents of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa & Northwestern Land & Town Lot Company. The site was surveyed by F. D. Randall, and dedication of the plat was made on September 29, 1884, by S. L. Dows and James B. Close, president and secretary, respectively, of the town lot company. When the rail line was completed, a box car was set off to the side, and this served as a depot until a more substantial structure could be built. The first structure in town was a saloon completed by Sam Stevens and Phil Lattenberger on September 1884. Construction of a dozen or more buildings were started at this same time, and before the close of the year, the booming town had about 150 inhabitants. During the winter of 1884-85, the Ellsworth postoffice was established with B. F. Garmer as postmaster. In July 1885, the Lyon County Reporter reported on progress in Ellsworth:

There are now four generals stores, four saloons, two hotels, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, three grain warehouses, livery stable, three farm implement establishments, harness shop, drug store, furniture store, lumber and coal yard, [and] newspaper. They have now raised $5,000 for the erection of a Catholic Church.

In the early fall of 1886, the town was selected as a division point of the Burlington railroad. The company built a five-stall roundhouse, put in a turntable, erected a substantial depot, and built a branch line from Ellsworth to Rock Rapids, Iowa.

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