Now in our second century, Truman has a proud past and a promising future.
The Truman Historical Association is a nonprofit group collecting and preserving
artifacts from Truman's 100+ years of history. Association meetings are
first Thursday each month at 7:00 PM. Meetings are held at the Museum
(address below). Their annual meeting is held in May, and membership is $10.
The historical association operates the Truman Historical
Museum, located at 109 West Ciro Street. Phone 507.776.7889. Scheduled
hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:00 - 4:00 PM in the winter, 1:00 -
5:00 PM in the summer. The museum will also open by appointment for tours and
classroom visits. Donations are always appreciated and much needed to
A chronological history of Truman is also available for
your perusal. Click here to
learn about Truman's first 100 years in a narrative
form or for a year-by-year review.
located on the north central edge of Martin County in Westford Township,
Minnesota. The first settlement in the township was established in 1857 along
Elm Creek. In 1862, many of the settlements in the area were burned during an
Indian uprising, but many residents soon returned to rebuild their homes and
building of the Jackson road from Winnebago to Jackson in 1865, more of the area
was opened up for settlement. Two post offices were soon established in the
area. One was located near a river ford, and was designated as the “West Ford”
post office, hence the name Westford, after which the township was eventually
In 1873 and
1874, grasshoppers devastated area crops, causing many to abandon their farms
and leave the area. By 1878, nearly three out of every four farms was vacant or
In 1878, an
east-west railroad was built crossing the county, and settlers once again flowed
into the region, reclaiming the abandoned farms and planting new fields across
the vast prairies. Another rush of settlement occurred with the opening of the
north-south railroad in 1899.
The city of
Truman was born with the railroad. The farmers of Westford Township were
prosperous, enjoying rich harvests as a result of the area’s fertile soil and
mild climate. The nearest rail station, however, was a distant 12 to 18 miles
away, a hard days travel for farmers with nothing but a horse team and wagon.
companies of the time were looking for more business, and the area of Westford
seemed an ideal prospect. A rail line ran east-west through Fairmont, but the
nearest north-south rail link to Minneapolis and St. Paul only ran as far as
Madelia. On January 16, 1899, the Watonwan Valley Railway Company was
incorporated for the purpose of building a railroad from Madelia to Fairmont.
Survey work for
the new railroad was completed during the winter of 1898-1899. On March 23,
1899, the Martin County Independent reported that a meeting was held at
the Westford postmasters home to locate a site for mid-line depot. Conflict
arose between Antrim farmers, who wanted the depot located on the county line
between Martin and Watonwan Counties, and farmers from Westford and Nashville,
who wanted it located several miles to the south. Finally, a compromise was
reached that placed the site of the new depot would be located “on the south
section of line 4 in Westford Township, extending north.”
of the site was left up to the railroad company, which selected section 9,
adjacent to section 4. Truman was named when the town was surveyed in the
spring of 1899.
derivation of the name “Truman” has been the subject of much controversy over
the years. According to Liva Haycraft Dodge, who wrote a short history of the
town in the Fairmont Daily Sentinel, in 1937, the town was named after
Truman Whited, one of the town’s original surveyors, and that Ciro Street,
Truman’s main street, is actually “Oric” spelled backwards, and is also the name
of one of the Truman’s surveyors. Most writers and residents, however, believe
that the town was named after Truman Clark, son of J. T. Clark, who was second
vice-president of the Chicago-St.Paul-Minneapolis Omaha Railway at the time the
town was surveyed.
was pleased with the name selection. As Nondie Ploom, a reporter for the
Martin County Sentinel wrote at the time, “The name of the station in our
town should have been Westford instead of Truman, as the township and post
office already bear that name.” However, the name Truman remained.
On April 20,
1899, the Martin County Independent reported that “dirt has commenced
to fly. The railroad has boarding tents and shanties scattered between
(Fairmont) and Madelia.”
A month later,
bidding was held for lots in the newly surveyed town of Truman. Over 300 people
attended, and they bought $10,000 worth of land in the original 20 plotted
blocks. The highest price paid was $46.00 from Clark of Granada State Bank, a
handsome sum of money in those days.
The ink was
scarcely dry on the deeds when building began. Several men had already made
plans for business establishments. All through the wet spring and summer wagons
hauled loads of lumber from Madelia and Winnebago. The first building to be
completed was a barn, where Bert Parks lived while he was building the Hinton
By the middle
of June, 1899, there were four commercial buildings underway: Richard Jones’
hardware store (24 by 80 feet), Hinton’s general merchandise store, a
restaurant, and a hotel. Several residents were also underway including those
of John Betts, Ed Calley, and Art Langman.
summer, work continued on the railroad. The first trains came through during
the third week of October, 1899. Soon there were two trains daily to and from
Minneapolis and St. Paul, so that one could leave for Minneapolis on the morning
train, shop or do business there, and return on the evening train. And of
course, the completion of the railroad also eased the burdens of area farmers,
who no longer had to haul their crops so many miles to the depot.
In order to
provide complete service from Fairmont to Minneapolis, the Watonwan Valley
Railway was affiliated with the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha
Railway. On December 14, 1899, the owners of the WVR sold their interest to the
CSPMOR. Four years later, the CSPMOR was acquired by the Chicago and
Northwestern Railway. They owned the line for many years, until the tracks were
removed in the early 1970’s and the line was abandoned.
In its early
years Truman boomed. By February 1900 there were over 214 inhabitants.
Businessmen came from all directions to establish their enterprises. On march
29, 1900, a special election was held to incorporate the town, with 65 voting to
incorporate, and 10 opposing incorporation. The newly incorporated town
occupied a full squire mile, plus a strip of land 40 rods wide around section
9. Later, much of this land was returned to the township under the provisions
of a Minnesota law.
of the first town council was F. Gleason. Council members included E. E.
Fletcher, E. Noonan, and R. D. Parks. The first treasurer was N. T. True, and
the first recorder (clerk) was R. G. Vandrey. D. Hadley and C. Cornell were
Justices of the Peace, and H. Fuller and W. L. Hoover were town constables. One
of the first actions of the town Council was to give the town “a touch of
respectability” by building permanent sidewalks. (Up until this time, planks
scattered on the ground had served the purpose of keeping pedestrians out of the
merchants, however, there would be no Truman as we know it today. Two general
stores were completed in Truman by the end of 1899, owned by W. A. Hinton and
the Vandrey brothers of Madelia. The Vandrey brothers had a store in Madelia,
and decided to open another in Truman. They came to Truman in lumber wagons,
and spent many nights sleeping in them, because there were no rooms available in
the few buildings that had already been built. A third general store was later
opened by D. Damon Company of Winnebago.
also flourished. Richard Jones, a country storekeeper, moved into town and
built one in the summer of 1899. Edward Noonan of Madelia also built a hardware
store, but soon sold it to August Ebert, who operated it for many years. A. A.
Williams and Merril built and owned the third hardware store. Williams first
bought grain and sold farm implements. With the coming of the elevators,
Williams switched to selling just hardware. Several years later, Jones sold out
to Ebert and Williams, who split the merchandise.
One of the big
unofficial holidays of the newly formed town was the annual “Twine Day”
sponsored by Williams and Merril Hardware. At harvest time, all the farmers
would come to town to pick up twine for the grain harvest. There was a band,
and plenty of strawberry pop for all the kids. Williams and Merril also took
the opportunity to demonstrate the “Majestic Range” stove. One year they baked
a three-tier “walking cake”. After being baked, it was wrapped in butcher
paper, and a clean plank was laid across it. About six women stood on the cake,
and then it was unwrapped and served with coffee to all who were present.
early years, Truman was host to two “large” hotels, the Pioneer Hotel, owned by
M. H. Clemons, and the City Hotel and restaurant, owned by M. E. Wallace.
Competition was fierce between them. In those days, a room cost a dollar a
day. A third hotel was constructed in 1905. Known as the Truman Hotel, it was
operated by Charles Eickhoff.
saloon was owned by Charley Becker. Charley’s first application to the county
commissioners to pen a saloon was rejected, but he persisted and finally won
approval. His success was short-lives, however, as a fire destroyed the saloon
in July 1902. Charley was killed in this fire when he went back in to try and
salvage something. It was Truman’s first fire.
saloon was the Sliding Mirror, owned by C. F. Cadman. A third saloon opened in
1905 in the new Truman Hotel.
prosperity, born of the railroad, depended on the farmers for its sustenance.
Within the first year, three elevators were erected: The Hubbard and Palmer
(Harry Fuller, manager), Truman Elevator and Flour Exchange (Christensen and
Henderson), and the Wolhueter Elevator Company of Fairmont.
In the spring
of 1903, Sam Bursell, a farmer who lived three miles east of Truman, hauled a
load of barley to Winnebago. He was paid 58 cents per bushel for it. The next
day, he took a load out of the same bin on his farm and hauled it to Truman,
where he was offered 50 cents per bushel. Sam refused to sell his barley at
that price to any of the three Truman elevators, and threatened to haul it all
to Winnebago. Finally, one of the elevators offered to pay him the Winnebago
his friend, I. C. Gilman about the barley sale. Gilman suggested that they meet
with other area farmers and start a farmers elevator company. Fifteen farmers
met and organized a farmers elevator company, selling shares of stock in the
proposed elevator for $15 per share. $2,100 was collected from 145 area
farmers, and Truman Farmer’s Elevator Company was born. The first board of
directors was comprised of L. A. Smith, S. Bursell, J. Robinson, J. Miracle, M.
Helvig, M. Olson, W. Ryder, and P. Sieg. Smith was elected as the first
president, and Bursell as secretary-treasurer.
Because of the
three elevators already in town, the railroad was initially reluctant to grant
an easement on any railroad right-of-way, necessary for the construction of a
new elevator. Persistence paid off, however, and the railroad finally leased
the new company the land where the main elevator sits today. A Minneapolis man
was hired to construct the elevator for about $3,000. It was completed in time
for the 1903 harvest. The new farmers co-op elevator was a success from the
start. Soon the Farmers Elevator Company bought out the Wolhueter Company and
expanded its operations. Over the years, the Truman Farmers Elevator has grown
and is today, with several operating divisions and enterprises, one of the
largest commercial firms in Martin County.
livestock buyer in early Truman was L. A. Dodge, who shipped via the railroad.
In 1929, trucks were introduced for hauling livestock, and Dodge’s son, S. E.
Dodge, opened a large stockyard and sales pavilion north of town, away from the
railroad. It still stands today, and is a buying station for the John Morrell
Company. (Since this story was written, the sales barn has been torn down but
the site remains a buying station.)
In 1900 a
creamery was moved to Truman from Darin Pesta’s farm in Nashville Center. In
1929, area dairymen decided to form a co-op and purchased it.
The first bank
in Truman was the Truman State Bank, with N. T. True as cashier. Two years
later, in 1902, the Truman National Bank was started by A. L. Ward, a wealthy
Fairmont businessman, with cashiers Jim Arms and Gus Seaberg. Peoples State Bank
was founded in 1916 by a group of eight investors. Three banks in a town of 752
were too many, and in 1920, the State Bank and the National Bank merged to form
the Truman National Bank. In 1946, the National Bank and Peoples State Bank
merged under the name of Peoples State Bank of Truman, as it continued to be
known until 2003. In 2003, Peoples State Bank merged with the Martin
County National Bank. As a result of this merger, Profinium Financial
established its' headquarters in Truman and maintained a branch in Fairmont near
Over the years,
many stores and businesses have come and gone. In the early years, some of the
more notable or longer-lived included a clothing and shoe store run by Stockman
and Julius Kaiser, druggists Dr. Donaldson and W. L. Hoover, barbers Clarence
Cornell and A. C. Metzgar, jeweler Charles Cummer, Hecht Brothers Meat Market,
Catlin and Wolf groceries, Ward Machine Company, harness shops owned by F. W.
Altenberg, Leo Gieriet, Rudy Weinkauf, W. E. Teskey, and H. Vosberg, a livery
barn operated by J. D. Herrick and son, blacksmiths Ike K. Scribner (who sold it
to August Zenk) and Elmer E. Fletcher, and lumber yards run by Ruge Gleason,
Weyerhauser Lumber, and Lam Lumber.
“Dad” Young was
the early undertaker and furniture dealer for many years. He sold out to C. A.
Baker, who in turn sold out to his son-in-law, E. E. Olson. Olson Furniture
Company, as it is now known, and the Olson Funeral Home continue in operation
In the early
years, Truman was fortunate to have a good photographer. In those days,
photography was a specialized occupation, with large heavy cameras and
accessories. Photographers did their own developing and printing with materials
and chemicals that were often temperamental. Still, they turned out beautiful
and often timeless work. Family portrait-taking was a big event, and regularly
practiced. In those days, travel was arduous and difficult, and portraits often
took the place of visits to distant relatives. An enterprising and competent
photographer could easily make a comfortable living. G. E. Burnett was Truman’s
first resident photographer. He was in business only a few months when he sold
out to C. D. Caulkins and moved away. Caulkins, however, liked the town and
stayed for many years.
doctor was Dr. A. F. Hunte. For the first few months he “commuted” to Truman on
his bicycle from Granada several times a week – a distance of 13 miles, over
roads that only barely existed! In 1900, Dr. Hunte moved to Truman, and
practiced there until 1930.
R. D. Armstrong
built Truman’s first telephone exchange in 1899. In 1909 there was a terrible
blizzard which caused over $2,000 damage to the telephone lines. Most of the
lines on the main street were down, and in replacing them, the poles were
relocated to the alleys, which improved the appearance of the streets.
“post office” operated out of Hinton’s store, much like the “contract” post
offices of today. Mail was brought in from the Westford Post Office and
distributed. In December 1899, the Westford post office was moved to Truman.
George W. Sprague was Postmaster. Rural delivery was started in November 1900,
and included 25 miles, 144 homes, and 648 persons. A carried received $500 a
year at that time.
No small town
is complete without its newspaper. Truman’s first newspaper was started in
January 1900 by W. R. Estes of Madelia, who would send a reported once a week to
Truman to gather the news. A. E. Brough was the editor of this paper which came
out every Friday and cost $1.50 per year. Apparently the Martin County Sentinel
did not appreciate the new newspaper, and editorially attacked the new Truman
Tribune. The Martin County Independent came to defense of the Tribune,
stating: “It is to be regretted that the 23 year old Sentinel should
make such a bitter attack on the just-born Truman Tribune. Calling
names, imperging the honesty of others, is the worst side of journalism. We are
of the belief that the attack was made in the absence of Editor Day by some of
the young men of the office. The Independent looks for an apology for
the language used by that paper to its young member of the fraternity.”
apology was ever delivered is not known. Two months later the Tribune was sold
to E. N. Disney. He edited the paper for a year and a half before selling to
Lawrence Doolittle. In 1906, Doolittle sold the paper to Frank Whiteney who ran
it for a number of years. Since that time the paper has changed hands several
times, but is still published once a week. Its most recent owners have included
George Almen, Don & Martha (Almen) Peterson, and Vickie & Rick Greiner.
were organized in Truman before 1905. The first was the Methodist Episcopal
with Rev. Hayes as minister. Next was the German Lutheran with Rev. Ahl as
pastor. St. Paul’s Lutheran was organized under the direction of Rev. Roloff in
the fall of 1899, but Rev. H. H. Heinemann served it for many years beginning in
1900. A Baptist Church was also organized in 1900 under the leadership of Rev.
Reeves who preached hell, fire, and brimstone. The Church of Christ was
organized in about 1905. A dispute over baptism split the church, with part of
the congregation leaving to form a new Church of Christ.
school was completed in December 1900. Before this, the lower grades were
taught by Miss Lottie Betts in the Methodist Church. The upper grades attended
a small country school taught by Mr. Schuyler C. Pew. Mr. Pew later became the
first principal of the Truman Schools. In 1901 all eight grades were moved into
the new brick building in Truman. The new building contained four classrooms
and office space, and was located on the present school site. The new school
was under the supervision of Ethyle Webster. All eight grades were instructed,
with two grades per classroom. The first school board consisted of six
members: J. H. Atkinson, Dr. A. F. Hunte, A. E. Wilson, C. C. Donaldson, C. C.
Poole, and I. Brownlee.
In 1912 a
six-room addition was erected and a high school course included in the
curriculum. In 1913, Edward Olson finished Truman’s 4 year high school program
as its first graduate, and the only graduate for that year. The following year
three graduates, Elizabeth Lewis, William Poole, and Dennis Spencer completed
the four-year program.
By 1921 the
school had grown to 243 pupils and 11 teachers. The next 19 years saw little
growth, as in 1940 there were still only 11 teachers and 243 pupils. The
original 1900 building was demolished in 1935 and a large high school wing added
to the 1912 building. Early in the 1950’s a statewide trend toward rural school
consolidation made it necessary to add an elementary wing. This wing included
six classrooms, a music room, and an elementary gymnasium. The cost for this
addition was approximately $100,000. Local residents voted a $30,000 bond to
help pay for construction of the new wing, with the balance paid for with state
education department building funds.
In 1959, two
new high school wings and an industrial arts building were added, with one wing
including a new heating plant for the whole school, lunch kitchen, dining room,
and storage space. The other two-story classroom wing included administrative
offices, a commercial department, a visual aids room, library, teachers’ room,
six classrooms, a three-room home economics department, two science classrooms,
an art room, industrial arts facilities, and toilet facilities. The cost for
this new facility was $796,000. Enrollment that year stood at nearly 725, with
beginning, Truman provided many public conveniences to its residents. The water
works system was built in 1903. It had a pressure system in which air and water
were pumped into a huge pressure tank housed in a building. It was not until
1928 that the water tower was constructed, providing natural gravity flow
pressure to the system.
Also in 1903,
gas lighting was installed on main street. This was finally replaced in 1916
when electricity was brought to town by the Madelia Electric Company. Three
years later the Interstate Power Company took over supplying power to the town.
However, their service was so undependable that in 1938 residents built their
own power plant. The plant continues to serve today as a backup generator, with
most power being purchased less expensively from the interstate power grid.
In the 1930’s,
in the height of the depression, the city council decided to pave the main
street. The $28,000 price tag was substantial for the times, but the project
engineer said it was probably the most inexpensive job of paving done in Martin
Truman has long
enjoyed a varied and diverse social life. A Democratic Club was organized early
with I. C. Gilman, C. C. Poole, and N. T. True as officers. A Prohibition Club
was organized by W. E. Cooper, Mrs. M. J. Young, and Mrs. Donaldson. For those
who enjoyed secret societies, there were four: The Truman Lodge I.O.O.F., the
Sunrise Rebekah Lodge, the Truman Camp M.W.A., and the Truman Lodge M.B.A.
Truman also boasted a good baseball team, which played regularly with
neighboring towns. In 1902 the first band was formed with W. E. Wallace as
director. It was called the Truman Concert Band and provided entertainment at
many of Truman’s social functions. Other entertainment included turkey shoots
In 1902 the
first plays came to “Brownlee’s Opera House”. One of the first productions was
“Old Maid’s Companion”. The firs theater opened its doors in 1913 with the
showing of silent movies. Talking pictures were first shown at the Cozy Theatre
The first child
born in Truman was Florene Jones, daughter of Mrms. Richard Jones. The first
automobile was a red two-seater with no top or windshield, and was owned by
Harry Fuller. Residents described it as a “one-lung Cadillac”. The second car,
a Hudson, was owned by S. S. Rector and was called the “Truman Lily”. At that
time almost anyone who owned an automobile became an agent. Soon almost anyone
who wanted to elevate their social standing was buying a car. The first
automobile accident occurred on July 22, 193, when Tony Hoover raised so much
dust that the car it passed (with H. G. G\Catlin and Rev. A. L. Hill and their
families as passengers) ran into a ditch and turned over. (No one was hurt, but
the car was totally wrecked.)
voted in Truman in 1911. Also in 1911, Herman Hanson, or “Dad” Hanson, as he
was familiarly called, went into the ice business. He got himself a two-wheel
car that would hold about four 100-pound ice blocks, and hauled it from house to
house selling ice for people’s ice boxes. Ice was cut out of Perch lake in the
winter, and packed in sawdust in an ice house located in the back lot of the
Hanson Saloon. Those who didn’t have ice boxes kept their milk and perishables
in pails or large kettles suspended in wells or cisterns, or in cool cellars.
owned the first mechanical cooler or ice machine in town, and had the first soda
fountain and ice cream parlor in his drug store. His mechanical cooler had one
major drawback, however. It functioned by compressing ammonia, and often the
safety valve on the compressor would malfunction, releasing ammonia gas into the
store. The store would have to be completely aired out, which was hard on
business, especially if it happened on Saturday night when the ten booths in the
store were usually filled with customers eating sundaes, malts, and sodas. For
most of the years that George Foster had the drug store, he also carried a full
line of jewelry, and employed a watchmaker.
In the early
days, the building now occupied by Olson Furniture was occupied by Ward
Implement Company, and was managed by Hiram Jennings. The second floor was a
big hall, known as Ward’s Hall. In this hall a dance orchestra, Pearson’s Band,
put on dances every Thursday night. At midnight on those nights, everyone would
go across the street to the hotel run by Dan Ross for coffee and pie or cake,
and would then go back up to the Hall for more dancing until 2 a.m. The public
dances in Ward’s Hall were like a big weekly party, as everybody was acquainted
with everybody else, friends, relatives, and neighbors.
continues to change and adapt itself for the future. The railroad and many of
Truman’ once-thriving businesses are gone, fallen victim to declining farm
populations, migration to the cities, the automobile, superhighways, and
regional shopping centers. Yet, as always, Truman’s real wealth lies in the
energy, tenacity, and vision of its residents. Born of the railroad and raised
on the farms, Truman continues to reach toward the future as a community of
caring, supportive neighbors, a rural survivor.
written by Chris Nelson-Jeffers.
- The first
settlement in Westford Township was established along Elm Creek.
- Many settlements
were burned in an Indian uprising.
- Jackson road was
built from Winnebago to Jackson.
1873 and 1874 -
Grasshoppers destroyed the crops.
- Watonwan Valley
Railroad Co. Was incorporated for the purpose of building a railroad from
Madelia to Fairmont.
District #77 began in a farm home.
- The School
district was established.
Lots were sold
to a townsite company and Truman was laid out.
A meeting was
held at P. M. Loose’s in Westford for the purpose of locating a site for a depot
on the railroad. A lot was purchased for $40 for the depot and the first train
came through Truman later that year.
- By the end of
1899, two general stores were completed; they were the W. A. Hinton store and
Hunte from Granada rode his bike 14 miles several times a week before he moved
to Truman as the first permanent physician; he stayed 30 years. He also saw the
first train pull into town.
Post Office was moved to Truman in December.
- A special election
was held for the purpose of incorporating a village; the vote was 65 in favor
and 10 against it.
donated land for a public school. The town’s census was 214.
Bank was established with N. T. True as cashier.
Armstrong built a telephone exchange.
delivery for mail was started in November which included 25 miles, 144 homes and
648 persons; a carrier received $500/year for his services.
newspaper was started in January by W. J. R. Estes of Madelia; it cost $1.50 per
1900 - 1905 - Churches,
including the Methodist, the German Lutheran affiliated with the Ohio Synod,
Baptist, St. Paul’s Lutheran, the church of Christ, were established.
- Otto Graf donated
land for a city park which bears his name.
elevators were erected: The Hubbard and Palmer; Truman Elevator and Flour
Exchange, and the Wolhueter Elevator Co. of Fairmont.
- Charley Becker’s
Saloon, the first in Truman, was destroyed by fire. Charles was killed in the
fire when he tried to salvage some equipment.
National Bank was established by A. L. Ward, a wealthy Fairmont businessman,
with Jim Arms and Gus Seaburg as cashiers.
The first city
band (named the Truman Concert Band) was organized with W. E. Wallace as
One of the
first plays came to “Brownlee’s Opera House” with the production of “Old Maid’s
- A group of farmers
were dissatisfied with the prices paid by the elevators and organized the
Farmers Elevator Company and built an elevator for $3,000.
A water works
system was built. It had a pressure system where air and water were pumped into
a huge tank housed in the building.
was installed on main street.
grade was added to the public school.
1906 - 10th
grade was added to the public school.
- A new four room
brick school was built.
Twine Day was established when the farmers came to town to pick up twine for the
grain harvest. The Majestic Range Stove was also demonstrated on this day.
- A terrific
blizzard caused $2,000 damage to the telephone lines; new poles were erected in
the alley instead of on the main street.
- The first 4-year
high school was established.
- Ed Olson was the
first and only graduate of the 4-year high school.
theater opened its doors with silent movies.
1916 - Electricity was
brought to town by the Madelia Electric Company.
- Mayor A. M. Hinton
and councilmen H. Brownlee and B. J. Dallman met.
65 votes were
cast in the March election.
The Red Cross
sale was a big success with $5,700 raised.
council voted to obtain an apparatus to oil the dusty streets.
graduated from THS.
electricity was brought to farmers in the Truman vicinity.
The TFE took
over the International Harvester Co.
closed for four weeks due to the flu epidemic.
- Peoples State Bank
got a new electric posting machine which took the place of posting by hand.
car sold for $735 at Truman Motors.
Fire Department was reorganized with 30 members.
City Band was organized with B. W. Butler, director.
Olson took over the Baker Furniture Store, which later was named Olson’s, a name
it bore until 1998.
Legion Post #115 was organized.
A Boy Scout
troop was organized.
Christian opened a machine shop.
between Truman and Fairmont was graveled and graded.
Brothers had a going-out-of-business sale.
Power Company took over providing electricity to Truman.
1930 - In January, new
talkies (movies) attracted large crowds to town.
Manager of the Truman Flour and Mill, announced that remodeling of the plant had
was elected president of the Truman Cooperative Creamery.
installed the very latest model of the Victor X-ray machine.
figures of census show a population of 730, down 22 since 1920.
Jensen, buttermaker at Truman Cooperative Creamery, was national winner of the
MN butter contest, over 284 entries.
Christianson will be speaker for graduation, May 29th.
J. H. Wolf was
elected president of the city council with 249/196 votes.
1931 – City fathers decided
to pave Main Street.
leases local bakery.
(Harlem) Globetrotters played a team in Truman. The basketball teams were
composed of five of the outstanding stars in ball handling and shooting.
Professional and Business Directory included entries of Dr. V. M. Vaughan, Dr.
E. Olson, Dr. J. N. Campbell, H. A. Edman, Drs. Louis and Rose Stern, Lloyd
Parson, E. W. Sprague, Ted Heineman, and Truman Motel.
FOR SALE – a
good milk cow – Roy Clow, Truman
H. A. Edman
has been practicing law in Truman and will be acting Martin County attorney
during the absence of C. E. Gaarenstrom.
opens a gas station located at the east end of town on Highway 15.
Dr. E. F.
Pirsig opens dental office in the Hunte building.
In August, L.
J. Hinton sold his interest in the Mertz Motor Company to his partners, Harvey
Mertz and R.
L. Steelsmith, they will continue the business under its present name.
1932 – The annual Commercial
Club meeting elected G. T. Almen, president.
and businessmen donated a car of oats for drought-stricken South Dakota farmers.
took 6th place in the Mankato checker tournament.
lost 3 good horses. They were poisoned eating moldy beet tops.
Festival included the celebration of the paving of Ciro Street at a cost of
1933 – Back rooms of the
National Bank Building were completely gutted by fire. It was also the
dressmaking establishment of Miss Lydia Metz.
an Extra Edition headline stated “Hinton Store Burns”. Several people were
injured in the explosion. $25,000 loss estimated for the first general store in
town, erected in 1899.
Elevator voted unanimously to renew its corporate existence for 30 more years.
was re-elected president.
men who gave their lives in service to their country were honored in the
official nomenclature of Camp Ripley Military Reservation. Those honored were
Arthur Graf, Lee Oles, George Reader, and Fred Reis.
Westford, and Nashville voted 188 to 78 to stay “dry”, not in accord with the
wet wave sweeping the nation.
1934 – Three robberies of
gas and oil at the B. C. Henton, E. Wilkinson, and J & V Service Stations.
horseshoers outpitched the Fairmonters.
opened for the first time.
Wilkinson, Truman air pilot, scored at the Mankato Air Show.
1936 – Another addition was
built onto the public school.
class presented a play based on the immortal Samuel Clemons’ Huckleberry Finn at
the Avon Theatre. “Huck” was played by William Zehnder.
Domier – Old and new time music Saturday, January 4th and Whoopie
John in February ~~Admission - $.25 at the Lorig Pavillion.
E. E. Olson
buys out Fairmont Furniture.
Elevator buys out Home Oil Co.
hatchery – Roy Wiggins and Rare Johnson, proprietors.
Truman is the
eighth team to join the Martin County Baseball League.
“I will be
back in Truman to practice veterinary medicine as soon as an office is
available” – Announcement by Dr. H. H. Kanning.
Martin and Faribault counties. Rural schools demolished - $10,000 damage at
Night Club at Hand’s Park – Hundreds of farm homes struck.
Graebe Haberdashery – Now open for business. Complete line of men’s wearing
1937 – County Poor Farm
Franklin Roosevelt begins second term.
Vandrey’s to open General Store.
to vaccinate to stop small pox spread.
Truman High School number 25.
has record enrollment, 270 students.
1938 – Truman built its own
Company holds official opening.
citizens attend mass meetings on municipal power plant – special election on May
– election results: 350 favor – 129 opposed.
Hardware began erecting a new building on the lot between the post office and
the Truman Tire Shop. The cost for completion will be about $5,000.
R. G. Vandrey
and Son, pioneer general store, started their “Quitting Business Sale”.
There was an
organizational meeting to start Cub Scouts.
headline: “What Are We To Do About Our School?” When the bids were opened on
November 21st for the erection of the proposed new school building,
they were all too high. A school election of December 19th brought
out 332 voters granting the school board permission to issue bonds for $15,000
so a new school could be built. Votes were 290 ayes and 42 nays.
1939 – The Legion rabbit
hunt ended on January 3rd with a game bag of 191 jacks and 64
1940 – Poles were set in
Nashville Township for the new REA line.
1941 – Mr. & Mrs. E. E.
Olson held open house for the new funeral home in Fairmont.
to open at Light Plant building.
won national music contest in St. Paul, playing his saxophone.
Harold Stassen speaks at 10th Annual Harvest Festival.
Dr. Kanning to
build new office and veterinarian hospital.
1942 – Charles Beaubien
became the new superintendent of the municipal light and power plant.
1943 – The village council
leased land from John Peets for a dump grounds along the east bank of Perch
1944 – The first Truman
basketball team to go to the regional tourney was coached by Bill Kramer who
went on to become THS principal.
1945 – Art & Ruth Jones
opened a new variety store in the Rare Johnson building across the street from
A welcome home
dinner for all WWII vets was prepared by the Legion/Auxiliary and served by WWI
Club sets grand opening of its new location west of town.
1946 – Donald Malherek opens
dry cleaning plant in Truman.
moves implement business to new building on Highway across from Stan & Mary’s.
Bank assumes deposit liabilities of the Truman National Bank and moves to that
purchases Parson’s Barber Shop.
Dr. C. G.
Kelsey buys Hunte building.
cases in Truman: Barbara Laube and Ann Seldon.
A.J. Cole resigns as
superintendent of schools and Al Larson assumes the position.
Festival was cancelled because of the polio epidemic.
open new Gamble Store.
Mr. & Mrs. Bob Connolly, take over Modern Cafe.
1947 – Truman boys
basketball team bows to Welcome 31-30 in tournament. Season ended with 13-4
buys out Lou Van Brunt Trucking.
Dr. C. G.
Kelsey sells dental practice and office building to Dr. T. H. Miller of New Ulm.
W. E. Kirsch
sells Truman Flour and Feed to St. James party.
of Commerce organized and Myrvan Heinemann was elected president.
votes to install lights at Truman’s athletic field. Local businessmen had
pledged $1,141.00 towards the project.
Peterson to open electric shop in Truman.
Furniture holds grand opening of newly remodeled store.
1948 – Thirty-one persons
gathered at the Ole Peterson home to organize Trinity Lutheran Church.
Mary’s added a 13 X 16 ft. Addition to their tea room plus restrooms, cloak
rooms, and a new gas station office.
Mother’s Club celebrated its 10th anniversary.
1949 – Truman celebrated its
professional directory included: E. E. Olson, funeral director; Hubert L. Cave,
lawyer; Dr. H.
veterinarian; Dr. C. F. Medlin, physician and surgeon, Dr. T. H. Miller,
dentist; L. H. Rector, farm and city property insurance loans; and Dr. V. M.
Vaughan, physician and surgeon and glasses fitted.
1950 – A new fire truck and
street grader were added to the village equipment.
homes boosted revenue in town.
Jorgenson, 17, returned from 4 months at U Hospital for treatment of paralyzing
effects of polio.
city streets was still not accomplished because of failure to advertise for
After 17 years
in grocery business, John & Laurin (Ban) Wolf sold their Super Valu Store to
Paul Schulz of Glencoe.
new Marshall Wells Store Owner, had grand opening sale ads in paper, offering
pliers for 23 cents.
1951 – Community Memorial
Building was dedicated with C. Fred Hanson, Douglas County attorney, speaker on
Jr. Chamber of
Commerce was deactivated because the majority of potential members were being
Two of the
worst blizzards of the season hit in close succession and stranded students in
The merger of
all or part of 21 surrounding school districts to join with Truman to form one
main district was set for May 8th.
1952 – Penny post card no
longer existed – now it costs 2 cents.
bond issue carried for school expansion.
outside telephone plant cost $19,000 and new telephone numbers were listed in
1953 – Gov. C. Elmer
Anderson visited the polio patients at Sheltering Arms Hospital in Minneapolis
to kick off the March of Dimes campaign. He visited Curtis Kettner, 9, son of
Fred and Paula Kettner of Truman.
Dr. T. H.
Miller sold his practice to Dr. J. M. Dobie to take a post at U of Iowa.
1954 – Municipal Light Plant
undertakes $142,000 expansion program to meet new electrical current demands.
The #2 well in
village went dry and Walt Hoppe was seriously injured when chain fragment lodged
in his neck while drilling for a new well in the southeast part of town.
Dr. M. J. Heng
opened chiropractic office in former Hub Cave home.
1955 – The Truman branch of
the Martin County Library had a successful grand opening with over 200 visitors.
and P. M. Hinton purchased a 50 foot frontage from Dr. Vaughan as a speculation
site for the new Peoples State Bank building.
announced the arrival of the new polio vaccine.
budget was set for $35,000.
sanitary sewer proposal was brought before the council but was defeated in a
special election by 290 to 263 votes.
1956 – Bert Seldon sold his
drug store to Charles Dietz and Mr. Thro of Mankato.
Heinemann, 18 year telephone operator for the local system, announced her
decision to move to Lakefield as Truman was going to a dial system.
manager Jack Wiebersch resigned. Erhardt Grefe was named superintendent.
Peoples State Bank, built by Bosshart Construction, was dedicated.
resigned as fire chief after 10 years as head; he was replaced by Russell
1957 – Legion voted to open
bowling alley in basement of Memorial Building. Instead, a new building was
erected just east of Clark’s Garage on Ciro.
voted to liquidate assets and discontinue operation.
closing of country districts, the Truman school was overcrowded with an
enrollment of 628 and a proposed bond issue for $1,135,000 was voted down, 485
was elected mayor and Paul Schulz, councilman.
The new school
bond issue for $796,000 passed 551 to 229.
1958 – The Rialto Theater
closed its doors. Rudy Graf, who had managed the theater for nine years, took
over as night manager at the light plant.
destroyed buildings and killed turkeys as it touched down on farms east of town.
pool organization elected Jep Bosshart as president. A total of $10,000 had
been raised through coffee parties, auctions, and pledges.
1959 – Truman’s new $796,000
school addition was dedicated.
Francis Hughes was hired on a permanent basis at $325/month and 10 cents mile
for his car.
retired after 38 years as mail carrier.
The new dial
telephone change over occurred in August.
elevators at Truman reached the 115 foot mark. Six new storage bins were
1960 – More than 2000
attended the dedication of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Judy 24th.
The voters of
Lewisville and a part of Dist. #2481 are considering consolidating with Truman
School, effective July 1, 1960.
of Carrol’s Market. It moved to its present location in the remodeled creamery
1961 – Ebert Hardware closed
ending a chapter in Truman business history that extended 50 years. Sold by
Reuel Ebert to Bill Berzinksy.
left Bowl-A-Way to accept a position at Olson Furniture.
Tip Top Cafe
installed two new ovens to please taste buds of pizza lovers.
Attorney General Walter Mondale was guest speaker at Truman Farmers Elevator
teacher receiving $6,598.00 per year.
1962 – New business on Ciro
Street, Bill Brummond will feature a complete line of livestock equipment and
Walt Hoppe will have a complete line of fixtures and supplies for wells and
pumps, water purification, filters, heat lamps, etc.
opens in Truman with Lloyd Julin as manager.
1963 – Property tax bills
reach record high!
addition was built on the public school, including a gymnasium, industrial arts,
Vo Ag and the music department.
On February 26th,
Oscar Olson put down the presidential gavel at TFE. The company was 60 years
old and for 43 years, Olson served as president.
1964 – Commercial Club
exhumed two civic projects long since believed dead, the swimming pool and rest
Mrs. Jaycees hold first anniversary banquet. Major triumph of their first year
was Perch Lake Park project. Jaycees went on to receive Minnesota Outstanding
First Year Chapter.
resigns from Truman School music post.
scholarship to be awarded for the first time.
Utermarck opens law practice in Truman.
Festival parade was largest, most elaborate parade ever held in Truman.
Lutheran Church members approve a new church building.
1965 – Jennings Implement
closes after 50 years.
Rossow and William Kramer were Truman High School’s first merit finalists.
Paul Flatley speaks at athletic banquet.
The site for
the nursing home selected, building to begin in the spring of 1966.
crowned Truman’s first Junior Miss.
opened Sarge’s 66 Station.
School Christmas concert features 51 voice choir.
Baptist Church changes its name to Emmanuel Baptist.
1966 – Peoples State Bank
celebrates 50th year and hits an all-time high of $4 million in
first Middle Seven Conference wrestling tournament.
Vikings star fullback, spoke at Athletic Awards Banquet.
All-school Reunion is a success.
buys Marland Chevrolet.
approved construction of a new municipal building, swimming pool and a park
sells Utilitas Dairy to Oak Grove Dairy.
1967 – Dr. V. W. Vaughan
passes away suddenly.
swimming pool opened ahead of schedule.
stockholders vote to build a new $200,000 elevator.
is appointed postmaster.
Club and Jaycees were working on street signs for Truman.
Department held open house at new civic building.
foreign exchange student arrived from Denmark.
1968 – As of January 8th,
33 inches of snow fell which was nearly double the entire last year’s snowfall.
After 17 years
as custodian of Trinity Lutheran Church, Mary Olsen laid down her mop.
1969 – In February, on one
day there were 122 absentees at school due to the flu.
Huemoeller reports the final OK is received from the state to begin work on
Lutheran Retirement Home.
Mr. & Mrs.
Charles Krueger assume ownership of Truman Motel.
question of whether sex education should be held in school.
Eckmanmn to operate barber shop formerly occupied by Mr. Jaqua.
1970 – The Lutheran
Retirement Home was dedicated on May 24th with 1500 in attendance.
Vandrey retired from Peoples State Bank after 40 years in the banking business.
1971 – Fire at the Municipal
Light Plant caused $10,000 damage.
went from 6 cents to 8 cents.
school board voted to close their elementary school.
the first LRH Auxiliary newsletter was published.
died; she and husband Lawrence operated Vandrey’s Market from 1937-1948.
piano and organ to countless area pupils.
1972 – Minnie Senne’s Flower
Shop discontinued wedding and fresh flowers after being in business for 22
1973 – Dutch Elm disease was
identified positively in Truman.
The last train
passed through on August 2nd, ending a 74 year service to the
For the first
time in history, a Martin County farm near Ormsby brought more than $1,000 an
around the clock for 6 days and 5 nights, major construction of the TFE $850,000
grain terminal at Fairmont was completed with erection of four 135 foot silos.
1974 – The village of Truman
officially became a city.
celebrated its Diamond Jubilee; Gene Mager was the unofficial spark plug.
Hagedorn, area farmer, became the Second District Congressional Representative.
Baptist Church observed its 100th anniversary. Rev. J. Alan McShane
was appointed to St. Katherine’s, Truman, replacing Rev. John Were.
Al Larson retired after 35 years and was replaced by Raymond Norsted.
1975 – TFE sells Fairmont
terminal to Brenge Corporation.
and TV robbed of $1,500 in inventory.
S. L. Hansen,
local International Harvester dealer sells out to partner Ave Prust.
resigns as principal of schools effective end of school year.
named new principal of schools.
classes will be offered for the first time next year at the high school.
Dahlberg is new Lutheran Retirement Home Administrator.
Lutheran Church to celebrate 75th year.
Russ Utermarck dies in plane crash.
comes and goes in Truman.
abandoned railroad bed.
1976 – Martha & Don Peterson
celebrated 30 years as publishers of the Truman Tribune.
accepted for construction of the William Booz Apartments, sponsored by Emmanuel
1977 – The LRH dedicated
Utermarck Park on June 12th to the memory of one of its board members
who was killed in a plane accident.
1978 – Rev. Daniel Preus
installed as the 5th pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
800 THS grads
gathered for an all-school reunion.
Citizens program began with a Mr. Verbrugge from Windom helping set up the
1979 – Ground breaking
ceremonies were held on Mary 20th for a $160,000 addition at St.
School for two additional classrooms, a meeting room, two bathrooms, a library
and a kitchenette.
Kanning took down his shingle after practicing veterinary medicine for 42 years.
being made for the 50th anniversary of the TFE John Deere department.
1980 – Truman’s oldest
resident, August Schultz, dies at age of 102.
advances to state wrestling tournament.
town baseball team begins their first year of play.
closes blacksmith shop that has been in Truman for 75 years.
Breitbarth is ordained into ministry.
opens law office in Truman.
purchases Rossow Radio and TV.
1981 – On March 19th,
Alfred Cole died; he has served as superintendent of schools from 1939-1946.
1982 – Dennis Hovey becomes
sole owners of Big A Auto Parts.
David M. Jennings elected house minority leader.
Vic & Lilah
Franke sell out hardware store.
Barb Mager and
Linda Zehnder open new business, “The General Store”.
and Jack Jacobsen purchase the Big A Auto Parts store.
football team wins Class C Champion ship at Prep Bowl I at the Metrodome.
housing complex, Truman Manor, is being built adjacent to the Lutheran
Bank purchases former office of Dr. Lester, and turns it into their insurance
1983 – Dave Jennings retires
as mayor and Joyce Malherek retires from post office after 25 years. Ardyce Orr
becomes new postmaster.
hired as Truman’s new city clerk.
Brad & Brian
Nickerson begin construction on Nick’s Body Shop on Highway 15.
Service closes its doors after 47 years in business.
moves into Nickerson Service building.
Tom Schutter moves to Truman.
begins remodeling of former Sarge’s 66 Station.
Don & Elaine
Berhow sell Snack Shack to Gerry Henning.
sells Super Valu Store to John Meng after 33 years in business.
years, THS football has built a record of 178-80-20.
Armitage opens the doors of Truman TV.
investigating public interest in cable TV for Truman.
1984 – Bob Grefe named
superintendent of Truman Public Utilities.
battle fire at Mike Kuehl home for 9 hours in –80 degree wind chill.
Standard Station robbed of $700.
Lyle & Mary
Larsen purchase Family Drive-In.
opens American Family Insurance office.
renovation dedicated in memory of Erhardt Grefe for his many years of community
at Peterson & Vogt, implement dealers.
Life came to a
standstill when a December 1st snowstorm dumped 10-20 inches,
accompanied by high winds.
1986 – Garbage rates
increase from $5 to $6.50 a month.
Trading opens commodity office in Vic Franke building.
retires after 30 years at Peoples State Bank.
Construction receives national award from Ceco Corp. For most unique building of
retires after 20 years at post office.
City plans for
multi-million dollar wastewater treatment plant.
Jennings will run for governor; Gene Hugoson files for Jennings’ state
district has lowest mill rate in the county.
Rockwell print is discovered at Truman Tribune.
Bank’s “Shop at Home” promotion earns national coverage on CBS evening news with
1987 – Three blocks of
streets were reconstructed this summer; they had been torn up to install a new
interceptor sewer line.
Building had a new face lift done to the interior.
1988 – The Hometown Bakery
opened in downtown Truman.
An open house
was held for the newly completed wastewater treatment plant, a million dollar
1989 – Graf Park was now
open for picnics in the newly built shelter.
1990 – An old building in
Truman torn down; Seldon’s Drug and Meat Locker. They are to be replaced with a
park in the business area.
A study made
on school consolidation of Truman and Madelia; it was decided not to
consolidate, although the two shared a football program.
that housed Truman Bakery burned on December 29th with $60,000
1991 – The All-Class Truman
High School reunion was held with a large turnout.
moved to its new building in late November.
of the TFE Cenex Convenience Store November 12-14th.
1992 – Two day auction to
disperse Raymond Peets’ estate, which included valuable collectibles of
tractors, steam engines, and antiques.
1993 – Electric scoreboard
presented to Truman School district in memory of former graduate, Brett Graham.
broke ground along Highway 15 for its new building.
1994 – Several residents
took time off May 10th to observe solar eclipse and capture it on
1995 – The City of Truman
received $150,000 from the Dr. & Mrs. Victor Vaughan Estate, ½ to be used for
park and recreational items.
On May 7th,
the LRH celebrated its 25th anniversary with 800 in attendance.
THS set new
dress code, not allowing caps, hats, or sunglasses to be worn in classrooms; no
pop allowed in class.
1996 – The LRH opens the
special care wing on West Ciro.
1997 – Police officers
Reggie Worlds and Lee Williams assisted motorists stranded along Highway 15
during a winter storm on Christmas Eve. Approximately 15 persons spent the
night at the fire station until their stranded vehicles could be dug out the
1998 – Truman participates
in the 8th annual Make A Difference Day.
Megan Lenz is
chosen as Truman/Lewisville Area Junior Miss.
Morgan & Jan
Tennyson donate a former clothing store to the Truman Historical Association for
Work begins on
refurbishing Evergreen Road wing and lounge at the LRH in the Centennial theme:
“Proud Past, Promising Future”.
1999 – The cost to mail a
first class letter goes to 33 cents.
prepares for its biggest of all birthday parties, its Centennial celebration to
be held on July 22-25th; it will include an All-School Reunion for
Truman High School.
is inaugurated Governor of Minnesota, appoints former Trumanite David M.
Jennings to position as Commissioner of Commerce.
School wrestling squad sends three members to the State wrestling tournament:
Senior-Philip Schwans, Junior-Aaron Stickler, and Freshman-Adam Leiferman.
bid farewell to a landmark in 1999 as a new water tower will be built to allow
for greater water capacity. A 300,000 gallon water tower will be located on the
eastern edge of Truman.