Minneapolis, MN

City of Madison: A small-town history you need to know

Paula Carlsen

MADISON, MN - When it comes down to history, Madison's people are what makes it so extraordinary. No amount of time spent with the people of Madison can be compared to.. Oh, and Madison, Minnesota is renowned as the Lutefisk Capital of the United States.

Madison was established in 1885 and is the county seat of Lac Qui Parle County. If you're not familiar with the French expression Lac Qui Parle, it means "Lake That Speaks." As a border between adjacent counties, the lake extends over a twenty-mile distance east of Madison.

A field of wheat was purchased from John Anderson in 1884, and the property was used for farming purposes. From the Lac Qui Parle Village, many residents moved away. Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad ran through Madison, making it a significant rail hub. As a nod to his previous home in Madison, Wisconsin, C.P. Moe proposed the name Madison. There was a first freight train as well as a first in 1884.

Back in 1885, there was a push in both Dawson and Madison to become county seats. Lac Qui Parle Village was the first county seat. In 1885, Madison had a population of 600 people.

Madison became the new home of The Independent Press in 1886. Residents from Lac Qui Parle Village migrated to Madison. An occasional prairie home might be seen moving the land on the horizon. The Lac Qui Parle County Fair was first held on the current site in 1886.

In 1889, Madison earned the right to be the county. When the previous school building was destroyed by fire in 1893, a new school building called "Lutheran Normal School" was constructed in Madison.

Incorporation was made in 1894 for the Madison Milling Company. As of 1895, the Common School District was reorganized as an autonomous school district. Madison High School graduated its first class in 1897. It took until 1898 for the second graduate to finished.

In 1903 City Hall was built, followed by a school expanded in 1908. It resulted from four separate fires. Main Street was devoid of wood-framed buildings and was instead dominated by brick constructions.

Madison's population peaked at 2,380 in 1960. Then come 1987 when the school was burned to the ground. Lac Qui Parle Valley Regional High School commenced courses in 1990. Along with Appleton, Milan, and Marietta, each city established a 7-12 school in the country that was conveniently placed.

New water and wastewater treatment plants and a water tower were constructed in the 90s.

Up until now, their northern European heritage, the people of Madison are incredibly hardworking, diligent, and industrious. Today's farms are big and well-equipped to meet the demands of modern farming. Corn, soybeans, wheat, and sugar beets thrive in the fertile soil. Massive livestock is grown, and the hog production is exceptional.

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History - City of Madison

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