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This is a guide to the city of Worthington, the county seat of Nobles County, in southwestern Minnesota. Topics related to Worthington Township may be included here, as well.

Worthington is mostly surrounded by Worthington Township, although a portion of the city extends into Lorain Township to the east. Nearby cities include Brewster (10.1 miles northeast), Rushmore (10.4 miles west), Bigelow (13.2 miles south-southwest), and Round Lake (16.4 miles southeast). Interstate Highway 90 (US 59) intersects Minnesota State Highway 60 in the northeastern part of the city. Other important routes through the city include County Roads 5, 25, and 35. Until 2004, Nobles County Road 25 was Minnesota State Highway 266, connecting Worthington with Wilmont and Reading.

The southwestern portion of the city is mostly taken up by Okabena Lake, a 776-acre body of water that is entirely within the city of Worthington. Up until the late 1800s, there were two lakes by that name near one another. The current lake was known as West Lake Okabena, while the other was East Lake Okabena.

When the Saint Paul & Sioux City Railroad was constructed through the area in 1871, its tracks were laid between the two lakes, with a station house built along the southeastern shore of West Lake Okabena, known as the Okabena Railroad Station. The steam engines used by the railroad at that time used large amounts of water, and water was drawn directly from West Okabena Lake.

By 1872, the railroad had brought enough settlers to the area to form a town. Situated between the two lakes, the town and the railroad station were named Worthington.

By 1889, when the Burlington Railroad built a line connecting Round Lake, Worthington, and Wilmont, East Okabena Lake had dried up, and the railroad built its track across the dry lake bed. There is speculation that the railroad had drained the lake for that purpose, as the lake was included in an 1884 map.

The original settlers of the town came in response to a promotion for a new colony, known as the National Colony, which was to be a village where Christians of various denominations could live without alcohol. However, since land was available through the Homestead Act, homesteaders came who had no connection with the National Colony, including Americans from the East and immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavia, who did not have a temperance mindset.

Despite the tensions, the town grew quickly, and there were nearly a hundred buildings by the end of 1872. The following year brought a grasshopper plague. Some discouraged farmer abandoned their claims, but others came, and the town continued to grow. By the time of the 1880 census, there were 636 people in Worthington and, other than a slight decrease in the 1980s, the city has grown every decade since, and by more than 100% in the 1890s.

Worthington is the regional hub of southwestern Minnesota. Although agriculture remains a significant part of the city's economy, the city has attracted large corporations that are involved in research, processing, and shipping, and other companies have been founded in Worthington. There is land available in Worthington to support additional growth.

Besides its public school system, Worthington is home to the Minnesota West Community & Technical College, a hospital, medical clinics, and a municipal airport.

City city is home to a regional shopping center, several commercial districts, hotels, and restaurants.

Additionally, the city offers a variety of recreational activities, many of which include Lake Okabena, as well as more than twenty parks, ball fields, a hockey arena, tennis courts, a golf course, boat landing, and a campground.

Pioneer Village, in Worthington, features forty restored buildings, as well as a museum displaying historical farm machinery. Situated within the Nobles County Library, the Nobles County Historical Museum has historical displays and archives heralding the early days of European settlement within the county. Restored and maintained by Historic Worthington, the Dayton House was built in 1890 for the George Draper Dayton family, and Spooner Classics displays hundreds of vintage advertising items for automobiles, implements oil, gas, and so on, including porcelain and neon signs and clocks, all in working order, as well as peddle cars and classic cars.

Websites representing the municipal, township, or county governments are appropriate for this category, along with those of businesses, industries, churches, schools, organizations, individuals, and events in Worthington, Minnesota.


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