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Hawley is situated along the Buffalo River in Clay County, Minnesota. The city’s name changed six times since 1871, and has been known as Hawley twice, becoming permanent the second time. In its history, it has been known as Reno’s Camp, Buffalo Crossing, Muskoday, Bethel (New Bethel), Hawley, Yeovil (New Yeovil), and Hawley. If squatters hadn’t grabbed the land that the Northern Pacific Railroad wanted, forcing the railroad to take the next best spot at the crossing of the Buffalo, its first name might have been Churchill’s Camp. Five of its six names were chosen by the railroad, the seventh by the Yeovil Colony. Its current name was in honor of Thomas Hawley Canfield, who was in charge of selecting names for the stations along the rail line. Bethel, Maine was the hometown of Canfield. Hawley is located along Interstate Highway 10. Nearby communities include Averill, Dale, Downer, Glyndon, Hitterdal, Lake Park, Manitoba Junction, Muskoda, Rollag, and Winnipeg Junction. Detroit Lakes is just over twenty miles east, and Fargo, North Dakota is about the same distance west of Hawley. The city’s population has increased each census year since it was first recorded in 1880. Situated outside of the city, Hawley Township is a separate political entity, but topics related to the township are also appropriate in this category.


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