Skip to main content

1892: History of Hardwick dates well before creation of town

Bits By Betty
Lead Summary
Betty Mann, president, Rock County Historical Society

The following appeared in The Rose History in 1911.
Rock County Village continued from 7-16-20 edition of the Star Herald.
         According to the last census figures, Hardwick ranks third in size among Rock county villages. It is a compactly built, neat appearing, prosperous little municipality located nine miles north of the county seat, at the junction of two lines of the Rock Island railroad. Otherwise described, it is in the southeast corner of Denver township, the platted portion of the village being on sections 26 and 35. Like Hills, it is comparatively new town but has outstripped some of the older places in the county.
         As a town, Hardwick’s history dates back only to the year 1892, but the actual history of the place began several years before that time. Prior to the fall of 1884 the site of the present village was unoccupied by human habitation, and the honor of erecting the first building on the site belongs to a young Norwegian emigrant, Knute Taamasgaard by name. At that time Mr. Taamasgaard, who was employed on the farm of Otter Otterson, made “squatter’s” settlement on the land in question and constructed a diminutive dug-out and sod shanty, in which he and his wife resided about two years.
         On the eleventh day of September, 1884, the tracklayers of the Burlington railroad, building from the south, reached the site of the present town. Rumors at once became rife regarding the establishment of stations on the new road between Luverne and Pipestone. During the month of September it was announced that one station would be located near Poplar creek in Pipestone county, to be named Trosky and another on Otter Otterson’s farm, the northwest quarter of section 26, Denver township, to be called Denver. During the next month the town lot company connected with the Burlington road started the town of Trosky, but no steps were taken toward the building of the village in Denver township, the name of which, it was announced in October, was to be changed to Jasper. Although land for depot grounds was deeded to the company by Mr. Otterson, the officials took no action in regard to founding the new station during 1884.16
         The people of northern Rock county, being long distances from market, were anxious for the opening of a station at some point along the line. The railway officials taking no action during the summer of 1885, the residents of Denver, Rose Dell and Mound townships circulated a petition in August, asking that the Burlington officials establish a station on Otter Otterson’s farm — the location previously selected. The petition was signed by sixty-nine settlers. Within a few days after it was presented, on August 19, 1885, E. S. Ellsworth, the Burlington townsite agent, came to the site and under his direction a section house was built on Mr. Otterson’s farm. Mr. Otterson was employed by the railway company to look after the shipment of grain from that point—and that was the extent of the preparations for founding a town at that time. The matter of platting a townsite was under consideration by the authorities for a few weeks, but no action was taken.
         “Rumors of the establishment of the station were received in the spring of 1886, but no action was taken until the fall of that year. In October the station was definitely located on the line between sections 35 and 2617 and a side track was constructed. In November a depot platform, 16x20 feet, was built, but the station was not named or put on the time card of the company until later. The grain buying firm of Cudahy & Butler bought grain at the new station that season. In the spring of 1887 the station was named Hardwick, in honor of J. L. Hardwick, the master builder of the Burlington road, and the next fall it was placed on the railroad time table. Otter Otterson bought grain and stock for E. A. Brown, who had succeeded to the business at the new station, during the season of 1887, and did a thriving business.18
                  16 “Nothing definite can be learned concerning the location of a station between this point and Trosky, but there is still reason to believe that the site originally selected on section 26 will be adopted.” —Rock County Herald, November 21, 1884.
         17“It appears to be definitely determined that the new station in Denver township will be located on the north line of section 35. The location is certainly not the best that could have been chosen to secure the most business for the company, but the location selected is probably more advantageous than any other for the town lot company,” — Rock County Herald, October 29, 1886.
         18“Since the crop of 1887 began to come into the market E. A. Brown has shipped fifty carloads of grain from Hardwick, the station in Denver township, and has shipped in all since that time over two hundred carloads of grain and livestock.” — Rock County Herald, January 13, 1888.
         The story of the village of Hardwick will continue in the July 30 edition of the Star Herald.
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.