Hector, Minnesota

 

Mayor and Council

 

Hector, founded in 1878 and organized in 1881, is a Minnesota Statutory City with a Standard Plan A form of government.  It has a mayor elected at large for a two-year term and four council members also elected at large for four-year terms.  The professional staff is appointed and consists of a City Administrator and Deputy Clerk, Water and Sewer Department, Parks and Streets Department, Airport Manager, Chief of Police and fulltime Police Department, Volunteer Fire Department, Volunteer Ambulance Service (BLS/ALS), Library Manager, Pool Manager and seasonal staff, City Attorney, and project engineers.  The Hector City Council meets on the second Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the Hector Community Center. The workshop starts at 5:00 p.m. (when scheduled).

 THE FOUNDING OF HECTOR

(The following information was presented to the City of Hector by Hector Resident Curtis Sampson on January 6, 1980) 

            Hector was founded in 1878 when the Hastings and Dakota Railway Company constructed the railroad on the north side of the original townsite.  The ten-block townsite survey was completed September 14, 1878, on land owned by the Hastings and Dakota Railway Company, but some enterprising businessmen were already "squatting" on the site by then. 

            The site of Hector was one of the most unlikely spots that could be imagined for the location of a thriving, active village.  Marshes and mud holes furnished home for muskrats and refuge for waterfowl.  In the firm places, just north and west of the site wound the desolate tract of the old Cedar Mill, Hutchinson, Hector, Plainfield, Beaver Falls stage route.  The Hector post-state stop was kept by John Baker in the northeast corner of the southwest quarter of Section 2, about 4 miles northeast of the village site.  J.B. Parkins held the Plainfield post office in the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 30, about one and one-fourth miles southwest of the village site. 

            When the railroad came through, the nearest building to the site was the home of August Mahn, which was about 1,500 feet northwest of the depot and near the site of the present Dave Spreiter residence.  The August Prelwitz home in Section 29 was 3,000 feet southeast of the depot and on the current William Roebke residence site. 

            The first building built on the townsite was a warehouse constructed by Charles Lang on the site that later became the V.H. Smith Elevator's site, which was between the present Fullerton Lumberyard office and the railroad track. 

            In July 1878, Marion Abbott moved his goods (general merchandise) to Hector from Preston Lake Township, where he had a store south of Preston Lake.  His was the first business in Hector.  When the townsite was surveyed, he bought lots 1, 4, 5, and 8 of block 4 (present Joel Best Service Station site), where he constructed a general store and moved to that site.  This was the site of the first Sunday school held in Hector.  Marion Abbott was a profoundly religious man that had memorized 45 chapters of the Bible by the time he died at the age of 90 in 1927. 

            Also, in July, Hogland and Stranberg constructed a shanty near the depot, which was used as a blacksmith shop and later relocated to lots 2 and 3 of block 8, the present Hector Mirror site.  Cornish and Bourne started the first lumber yard with an office by the depot.  This business was soon moved to the current Fullerton Lumberyard site and was operated for many years as the McGregor Lumber Yard. 

            In September 1878, W.D. Griffith came from Hutchinson and built a general store on lots 2 and 3 of block 3 (present Bargman Oil site) and opened for business on October 1, 1878.  He was commissioned postmaster on October 8, 1878, and the postal supplies were moved to his store from the John Baker farm.  The Plainfield Post Office was discontinued a few months later. 

            G.H. (Charley) Nixon moved to Hector from Fort Ridgely and had a store built on lots 21 and 24, block 4 (present Red Owl Store site) and opened for business about November 1, 1878.  The carpenter was John Trueman, from Fort Ridgely, who then built a drug store for B.A. Knopp on lot 17, block 4, and a hardware store for himself on lots 7 and 10, block 3 (present Hector Plumbing and Heating site).  J.B. Perkins, who had been the Plainfield postmaster, built a hotel on the east side of lots 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, and 11 of block 4, facing the railroad tracks and along the alley on the former Service Implement site west of Abbott's store.  The room over the kitchen was the site of the first school in the village and was taught by Minnie Podden.  Religious services were also held first in J.B. Perkins hotel by Reverend George Potter of BoonLake. 

            Oscar H. Baker constructed the first dwelling house in the fall of 1878 on lots 1 and 4 of block 7 (the present bank site), and his son, Guy, was born in this house, the first child born on the townsite. 

            G.H. Nixon, O.P. Peterson, and John Trueman were appointed commissioners to organize the village after the Legislature incorporated Hector approved February 23, 1881.  They were in charge of the election held on March 11, 1881, and the elected President was W.D. Griffith.  G.H. Nixon, O.P. Peterson (who came to Hector in 1878 and entered the firm of Peterson, Nelson, and Company), and Bart W. Schoulweller, who opened a general store in the front of the Oscar Baker store, were elected trustees.  The elected recorder was H. Simmons, and the elected treasurer was Marion Abbott.  Andrew Strom was elected justice.  He came to Hector in 1879 from Beaver Falls and constructed a combined store and dwelling house on lot 5 of block 7 (first lot south of Dickman Drug) that in 1880 was stocked with drugs and general merchandise.  Jones Chapman, who had the Fancy Grocery business on lot 15, block 3 (present Parris Law Office site), was elected the village's first constable. 

            The village was named after the township of Hector, which had been organized in June of 1874.  It had initially been called Milford but found it necessary to change its name when it was learned there was another Milford in Minnesota.  After a hotly contested debate between those who favored the name Plainfield (after the stage stop and post office) and those who favored the name Hector, a township in New York on the east shore of Seneca Lake where many of the early settlers came from.  Hector, New York, was named after the bravest of the ancient Trojan warriors whose story is an integral part of Homer's get epic, "The Iliad."  So by succession, Hector was named after the brave Trojan warrior, and it has always shown a fighting spirit befitting its name.