Worthington 150: story snippets – The Globe

The GAR post was the largest in the state

WORTHINGTON – The Grand Army of the Republic post at Worthington was once the largest in Minnesota. Organized on June 29, 1872, the position grew from 35 founding members to 125 by the summer of 1873.

The local group also established the first auxiliary GAR in the state.

The large number of Civil War veterans in this area can be attributed to the Homestead Act of 1862. The act provided 160 acres of free land to former soldiers. Many veterans took advantage of government policy and moved across the border.

The Worthington GAR disbanded when the grasshopper infestation hit in 1874. They reorganized on July 14, 1883.

The post was named for George Stoddard, the first Civil War veteran buried in Nobles County.

Pawnee natives drove horses through town

WORTHINGTON – An early annual attraction was the arrival of the wild ponies. Pawnee natives of Dakota Territory drove their ponies through Worthington every year en route to Eastern markets. They always set up camp along Lake Okabena for a few days of rest.

While there, they entertained the young people of the village by showing them how to break a wild pony. Some of the local boys were allowed to help with the thrilling routine. As a reward for the boys’ help, the Native Americans gave one of the ponies to the boy who could ride the longest the wildest.

WORTHINGTON – Worthington’s first permanent home was transported on a wagon from St. James in 1871.

GH Hoffman spent the winter trapping on Lake Okabena. His profit of $600 convinced him of the attractiveness of the region. He walked to Osage, Iowa, sold his furs, then returned with a bundle of willow cuttings to adorn his property.

That fall, the little wooden house was transplanted to the future site of Worthington. His wife and two children joined him, and the Hoffmans were Worthington’s first family.

Seminary opened as a community in 1873

WORTHINGTON — In December 1873, the Worthington Seminary Association was officially incorporated. According to its charter, its purpose was “to establish a seminary of learning for the education of persons of both sexes in the sciences, language, arts, and useful and polished literature.”

On the board of directors sat three men well qualified to undertake such an undertaking.

Professor RF Humiston has been an educator most of his life. In addition to teaching, he served as superintendent of schools in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Later, he founded the Cleveland Institute, a coeducational military training experiment.

CZ Sutton was a former professor of classical languages ​​at Oberlin. His home in Carlisle, Ohio was frequently visited by famous people such as Longfellow, Greenley, Bryant and Mark Twain.

Reverend BH Crever, a local Methodist pastor, established a private school in Milton, Pennsylvania, and was among the founders of Williamsport Dickinson College. He was an instructor there for two years before moving west. Crever was the principal of the seminary during its short existence.

The association appealed to the Minnesota Conference of the Methodist Church to accept patronage of the seminary. They agreed, and the school affiliated with St. Paul’s Hamline University.

Worthington Seminary survived intermittently for several years. The locust plague that ruined the national colony in 1876 also destroyed any hope of the seminary’s survival.

WORTHINGTON — Fire was a constant threat in Worthington’s debut. The city’s buildings were almost entirely made of wood and susceptible to any flames.

The city’s first firefighting apparatus consisted of cisterns strategically located in the business district, plus a wagon with brine barrels on top parked in a 24-by-30-foot shack in the Palace Square of justice.

The equipment offered a bit of security in the warm months, but as soon as the water froze the whole system was useless.

WORTHINGTON – Charles J. Smallwood founded the Worthington Telephone Exchange Company in April 1878. There were 100 local subscribers in the first year.

Smallwood’s sense of humor showed in that year’s list of numbers. Residents dialed one-one for Charlie Won, Chinese laundryman, and two-two for the train depot.

Visit of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson in 1960

WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s most elaborate turkey day crumbled into a soggy heap on Sept. 22, 1960, when more than three inches of rain washed it all away. In town that day, Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird were campaigning for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket, Republican National Chairman Thruston Morton, Senator Hubert Humphrey, Senator Eugene McCarthy, Governor Orville Freeman and his opponent Elmer Andersen, and the Army Golden Knight parachute jump. team, a company of men who were to launch a mock amphibious assault from Centennial Beach, and General John Gutherie who was to dedicate the U.S. Army Reserve Armory. Four years later, Lady Bird Johnson was to recall the visit to Minnesota as “the day it rained so hard”.

The last passenger trains

WORTHINGTON — Passenger rail service for Worthington ended in the late 1950s, but continued for a short time for several other communities in the area. It was in September 1963 that three-weekly mixed freight and passenger train service was canceled for Alpha, Chandler, Edgerton, Fulda, Fairmont, Iona, Jackson, Hatfield, Kinbrae, Lakefield, Myeloma, Okabena, Pipestone, Sherburn, Wells, Welcome and Wirock. The last passenger cancellation hearing in the area was told that westbound trains on the Milwaukee had not generated any revenue from passengers on westbound or eastbound runs for the first three months of 1963. During the entire l In the year 1962, the westbound train took in just 9.08 while the eastbound did slightly better with $11.45.

WORTHINGTON – Lake Bella was first proposed by Soil Conservation Service engineers at a meeting on Jan. 30, 1964. It was designed to help supply the city’s southeast well field with retaining water and retaining it above the wells. The lake was built in 1970.

WORTHINGTON — Pope John XXIII approved in 1964 the celebration of Mass in the language of the people rather than just Latin, as had been the custom for centuries. The first official English mass to be celebrated in the United States was that of Ret. Rev. Msgr. Stanley Hale at St. Mary’s Church in Worthington. The official Latin drop date was to be November 29, 1964, but Bishop Edward A. Fitzgerald, Bishop of Winona, gave Father Hale permission to “jump the gun”. The date of the first celebration was April 12, 1964.

Largest crowd ever at King Turkey Day 1966

WORTHINGTON – The largest crowd ever gathered in Worthington was on Turkey Day 1966 when Bobby Kennedy was the speaker. There were over 100 reporters from all major media outlets in the city. CBS news estimated the crowd at 80,000.

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