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New York Mills, Minnesota is in Otter Tail County. US Route 10 serves as the chief route through the city. Nearby communities include Amor, Basswood, Bluffton, Butler, Davies, Deer Creek, Dent, Heinola, Henning, Leaf River, Luce, Ottertail, Perham, Sebeka, and Wadena. Detroit Lakes is about thirty miles Northwest, Pelican Rapids about forty miles west, and Fergus Falls about fifty miles southwest of New York Mills. The area around New York Mills was once occupied by the Sioux, who initially maintained good relations with the early white settlers. Eventually, the Sioux moved north as more and more settlers began to come into the area, many responding to advertisements placed by the New York Mills Company, established by Dr. Van Aernam, Commissioner of Pensions in Washington DC, and his partners, Olcot P. Boardman and George L. Cornwell. A lumber mill was established there, followed shortly afterward by the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1871. By 1884, when New York Mills was established as a town, there were about three hundred white settlers there, a large number of them of Finnish descent. The town received city water and sewer services as a project of the WPA and PWA in the 1930s, and the city hall building was built in 1939. In recent years, tourism has become an important part of the community's economy. In the 1990s, the city invested in developing its arts community, contributing funds to convert a downtown commercial building into a multi-use arts and cultural facility. Never a large town, its population has remained relatively stable, with a significant increase in population during the 1990s, following a couple of decades of decline.



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