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The city of Atwater is in central-eastern Kandiyohi County, Minnesota. Once the largest village in the county, Atwater was formed around a railroad contractor’s store in the summer of 1869 by Christopher L. Peterson, when a post office was moved there from Summit Lake, two miles west of the townsite. Prior to the village’s incorporation in 1876, the community was known as Summit Lake, Stockholm, and Gennessee. Upon incorporation, it was named for Dr. E.D. Atwater, who was with the land department of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Mark Piper opened a general store there in 1871 and, before long, there were other stores, a hardware firm, lumber yard, a hotel and grain elevators. Four churches were organized between 1868 and 1891. Most of the town’s early residents came from Sweden, Norway, and Germany. US Highway 12 passes through the center of town. Nearby communities include Crow River, Grove City, Kandiyohi, Litchfield, Manannah, Rosendale, Spicer, Strout, and Wilmar. St. Joseph, Minnesota is about fifty miles northeast of Atwater.



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