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Located in northern Martin County, in south-central Minnesota, about twenty miles north of the Iowa border, the city of Truman was founded as a railroad town.

The first settlement in what was to become Westford Township was in 1857, along Elm Creek. However, many of the homes and farms in the area were burned during the Dakota War of 1862, but several residents returned to rebuild their homes. When the Jackson Road was built from Winnebago to Jackson in 1865, more settlers came to the township. Two post offices were established, one of them being West Ford, for which the township was later named. In 1873 and 1874, grasshoppers destroyed the crops in the region, prompting people to abandon their farms. By 1876, about three-fourths of the farms in Westford Township were abandoned. However, in 1878, an east-west railroad was constructed through the area, and settlers again came to reclaim abandoned farms and to clear new fields. In 1899, a north-south railroad brought another wave of settlers.

The Watonwan Valley Railroad was created to build the north-south railway from Madelia to Fairmont, and a depot was built in Westford Township. The town of Truman grew up around the railroad depot.

There is some dispute as to the origin of the city's name. One history claims that the town was named for Truman Whited, one of the town's surveyors. Others claimed that Truman was named for Truman Clark, the son of J.T. Clark, the second vice-president of the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railway at the time that the town was platted. Perhaps both were led to believe that the town was named for them.

The West Ford post office was renamed Truman.

Once the site was chosen for the railroad depot, the town grew quickly. Within weeks, there were four commercial buildings under construction. The first building was a barn, where Bert Parks lived while building the Hinton Store. The others were a restaurant and hotel.

The Watonwan Valley Railroad soon became affiliated with the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railway, and was purchased by the CSPMOR in 1899. which was itself acquired by the Chicago and Northwestern Railway a few years later. The tracks through Truman were removed in the early 1970s.

By the turn of the 20th century, Truman had a population of over two hundred, three general stores and three hardware stores. Early in its life, Truman was also home to two large hotels, the Pioneer Hotel and the City Hotel and Restaurant, and a third, the Truman Hotel, was built in 1905.

Within the first year that Truman was in existence, three elevators were built: the Hubbard and Palmer Elevator, the Truman Elevator and Flour Exchange, and the Wolhueter Elevator. In response to a dispute over pricing, local farmers organized the Truman Farmer's Elevator Company, which began operations in 1903, and is one of the largest commercial firms in Martin County today. In 1900. a creamery moved to Truman. The first banks in Truman were the Truman State Bank, the Truman National Bank, and Peoples State Bank.

The Truman Post Office was originally operated out of the Hinton Store, but its operations were handed over when the Westford Post Office moved to Truman.

Although it has changed hands several times since it began publishing in 1900, the Truman Tribune remains in operation.

Truman had five churches before 1905. These were a Methodist Episcopal church, a German Lutheran Church, a Baptist church, and two Churches of Christ.

The first school in Truman was taught for children in the lower grades at the Methodist church, while those in the upper grades attended a small country school. In 1901, all grades were moved into a new brick building that was built for that purpose on the current school site. Additions were built onto this building in 1912. In 1940, the original building was demolished, and a large high school wing was added to the 1912 building. An elementary wing was added in the 1950s, and two new high school wings were built in 1959.

The city of Truman is served primarily by Minnesota State Highway 15, which connects the city to Lewisville to the north, and Northrop to the south, both about seven miles from Truman. The unincorporated community of Nashville Center is about seven miles east of Truman.

The focus of this guide is on the city of Truman, Minnesota. Websites representing the municipal government or any of its departments or facilities are appropriate for this category, as are local churches, schools, organizations, businesses, and individuals.

 

 

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