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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

Eagle Grove

In 1881 the city of Eagle Grove Junction was platted as a junction point between two railroads, and named after nearby Eagle Creek. Judge Sumner Hewett Jr. donated land for one of the railroads, plus the railway yards, shops, and depot. Judge Hewitt was also a farmer, raising Shorthorn and Jersey cattle. Partially swamp land without a tree in sight, as merchant settlers arrived they built to the higher ground to the east or to the west. As with other booming Wright County towns, Eagle Grove soon had a furniture store, general store, drug and grocery stores, hardware, carpenter, blacksmith, millinery, hotel and more.

Since there were now two business districts, rivalries developed! Businesses, school policies, politics – even boys “gang fights” took a stand. The east side was called “Dublin” as an early leader was Irish, and the west was “Boston” for it’s leaders Massachusetts background. The west side eventually won out, as the east had a devastating fire and the west was tiled and swamp land disappeared. Prior to drainage, wooden sidewalks were built on stilts, allowing about 2 feet of space. Perhaps the greatest incident which proved the need for the drainage was the drowning of a small boy, Glenn Scott, in 1882 in the swamp.

The first settler arrived in 1854, but only stayed one year. Others who came in 1856 were N. B. Paine and S. B Hewitt Sr, and Jr. Paine, who first built a log cabin, by 1870 had a “splendid farm house with beautiful shade trees” along with flower beds and grape vines. Mr. Paine would tell the story that once over 500 wigwams were in an Indian Village near Eagle Grove, but they had moved further west.

Electricity came in 1894, followed by gas in 1905. 1908 brought the first hospital. 1913 a fire destroyed 20 buildings. A tornado in 1884 took out the Methodist church and 26 other buildings, and the Catholic church was destroyed by another tornado in 1894. An explosion in 1993 resulted in 13 deaths and 3 businesses along Broadway.

Claim to fame: Birthplace of Governor Robert Blue in 1898. 30th Governor from 1945- 1949.

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