Happy 150th birthday Kandiyohi County!

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners recognized the county's 150th anniversary at the start of Tuesday's board meeting. The county, as it is known today, was officially established on Dec. 15, 1870, in what is now the city of Kandiyohi.

On Dec. 15, 1870, the first meeting of the Kandiyohi County Commission met in Kandiyohi Station, now the city of Kandiyohi, to merge Monongalia County to with Kandiyohi County into one single county. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — While it wasn't the celebration everyone had hoped for, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners did take a few minutes at the start of their meeting on Tuesday, to mark an important day. Even Commissioner Rollie Nissen, who is in the hospital recovering from COVID-19, wanted to make sure he could be a part of the recognition, even if it was only through a computer screen.

"As chairman of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, this is an absolutely momentous occasion," Nissen said. "You can't get more historic than 150 years of being in business as a county."

On Dec. 15, 1870, the first meeting of the Kandiyohi County Commission met in Kandiyohi Station, now the city of Kandiyohi, to iron out the final details of merging Kandiyohi to the north and Kandiyohi County to the south, into one single county.

"150 years exactly today," said County Board Chairman Harlan Madsen.

According to research from the Historical Society, Kandiyohi Station was the first official county seat of Kandiyohi County but lost the honor to Willmar a year later. Then-Governor Horace Austin officially made Willmar the county seat on Nov. 21, 1871, a "large and noisy delegation arrived at the 'Station' and removed all the county records" except for those pertaining to the judge of probate, reports state.


Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the plan had been for the 2020 County Board to meet in Kandiyohi , to mark the occasion. Unfortunately, that was canceled earlier this year, but plans are being made for a celebration next year.

"We are excited about the 150th anniversary and will be opening a display in 2021 to honor the 150th," said Jill Wohnoutka, director of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society in an email to the Tribune. "We are going to display 150 items from our collections to reflect the 150 years of history of Kandiyohi County.

When that exhibit and other events will happen next year will depend on the pandemic.

"We will also continue to share the history of Kandiyohi County and its 150 years on our social media pages," Wohnoutka said.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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