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Formed as a stop along the Great Northern Railway in 1871, the community was named for Joseph Woods Hancock, a Stevens County official. A post office was established there that same year. Its first settlers included people had migrated west following the American Civil War in 1865 seeking homestead lands. Its early businesses included a livery station, general store, lumber yard, implement shop, meat market, and saloon. Frank C. Mars, the founder of the candy corporation, Mars, Incorporated, was born in Hancock in 1883. A school district was formed in 1912, and new school buildings were built in 1922, 1960 and 1998, replacing the original 1912 building. In its prime, during the 1930s and 1940s, the city’s Main Street and side streets features about forty buildings, including several grocery stores, restaurants, banks, and implement dealers, as well as a theater. Minnesota Highway 9 is the main route through the city. Hancock is just south of Page Lake. Along Highway 9, Hancock is southeast of Morris and northwest of Contarf. Other nearby communities include Alberta, Artichoke, Chokio, Cyris, and Starbuck. Willmar is about forty-five miles southeast, Ortonville is forty-five miles southwest, Fergus Falls is sixty miles north, and St. Cloud is ninety-five miles east of Hancock.



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