Tricounty News

History Matters - Kimball is prosperous village in southern Stearns County

Settlement at Kimball Prairie dates back to 1886 when Soo Line built through that area; William Lytle called first settler

Store and elevator built in 1886; post office established following year; Dr. A. Mumford was first physician; village is growing rapidly.

The first settler at Kimball, formerly known as Kimball Prairie, was William E. Lytle who built a small house near where the old livery stable stood in the center of the village. This was in the fall of 1886. About this time a survey was made and the township was platted on the "Soo Line." The first store was erected by E. Peck the same fall; and the following year H.P. and Oscar Morrey also put up a store building. The first elevator was built in 1886, and was completed about the same time that the first trains came into Kimball. This elevator was owned by R. Coefield, later of Annandale.

E. Mayhew was the first blacksmith, having a shop on the eastern edge of the townsite.

The post office was established in the spring of 1887, with Eliel Peck as postmaster. A post office had previously been established at Maine Prairie March 13, 1863, with Alexander Spaulding as post-master. He was later succeeded by Geo. R. Whitney and D.B. Stanley and the office was discontinued March 15, 1905.

One of leading town merchants: Leonhard Engel

One of Kimball's very best standbys is Leonhard Engel, who has conducted a general mercantile business under this firm name since 1905. Mr. Engel is a power for good in the community and has filled many positions of trust. He has been on the village council since 1903; clerk of the township of Maine Prairie since 1913, and has been clerk of the Modern Woodmen Lodge since 1904. He has served the village as its mayor three times. Mr. Engel is the kind of citizen that it pays to tie to and his judgement to all public matters is always considered.

Editorial note: L. Engel was the father of Hazel Eckman, 1901-1994.

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Thank you for visiting our booth during Kimball's annual community and business Expo March 26. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Door prize winners will be shown here in this column April 21.

Mark your calendars: Saturday, April 16, Historical Society Board Meeting at Kimball City Hall 9:30 a.m., (not 10 a.m.) April 26 "Sweetness from Mother Nature," carrying on a sweet tradition.

Celebrating Kimball's 125th anniversary will be a big event this year for Kimball's Historical Society that just celebrated their 10th. Every regular program that we present will be one you've never heard before. Details will appear in this column so watch for more right here.

As we keep collecting memories, we believe that the story we tell at the Kimball Area Historical Society has special relevance. It is our deeply-held belief that informed and educated citizens provide the best protection of our heritage. To become a member, find your history, submit stories and photos for this column, make tax deductible donations or for general information, we invite you to contact us at Box 100, Kimball MN 55353, (320) 398-5250, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Join us on Facebook; look for "Kimball Area Historical Society."

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Kimball's journey through the pages of history