The public school system in Nicollet is one of the town’s major employers. Their nickname is the Raiders.
Some of Nicollet’s large businesses include: Hewitt Machine and Manufacturing, a maker of roll-a-docks and boat lifts, Nicollet Food Products, makers of dried milk and other food, and Schmitt Meat Market.
The Nicollet Public School completed their last major expansion in 2006 adding a new community center, an auditorium, a new gym, a fitness center and walking track, a teen center, expanded day care facilities, and other amenities.
Schmidt’s Meat Market of downtown Nicollet took home 5 awards during the 2009 Minnesota Association of Meat Processors Convention in St. Cloud. Schmidt’s was awarded Grand Champion for their Dried Beef, and Reserve Grand Champion awards for their Bacon, Original Beef Jerky, Sweet Mustard Brat and the Wild Rice and Blueberry Brat. The competition involved over 447 entries in 24 product categories.
Festivals and Events
Nicollet’s big celebration of the year is “Friendship Days.” The annual summer festival is held in June, and features a queen coronation, softball tournaments, a parade, carnival rides, fireworks, and much more.
The Nicollet American Legion holds a Fish Fry every year, typically on the first Saturday in February. Thousands of people flock to the event to feast on fish.
The Nicollet American Legion holds a popular Steak Fry on the last Saturday of every month.
The 3rd Saturday of every month has a Pork Chop Fry at the Nicollet Conservation Club.
Nicollet holds a city-wide garage sale every year, typically in May.
The current population of Nicollet is approximately 1,000 people. The Mayor is Fred Froelich.
The oldest continuous registered Holstein herd in the nation celebrated 125 Years in 2010. Forest-Lawn Holsteins of Nicollet marked the landmark day with numerous events, including a celebrity milking contest where Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau came in first, Ruth Klossner second, and KNUJ’s Jim Bartels taking third place. Paul and Cindy Swenson are the 5th generation to run the farm.
An addition to the Nicollet City Hall was constructed in 2012. The 4,900 square-foot addition cost the city around $382,000, or approximately $78 dollars per square-foot.
The Nicollet School Board approved a 2-year contract for a new superintendent for the school district in 2012. Blue Earth Area High School Principal Jack Eustice began his duties in Nicollet on July 1st of that year.
Nicollet Elementary School was named a “Reward School” by the Minnesota Department of Education in 2012. The designation comes from being among the top 15% of schools in the state.
A new Miss Nicollet was crowned during the community’s Friendship Days celebration in June of 2013. Named 2013 Miss Nicollet was Julia Giefer, the daughter of Brett and Bonnie Giefer. Crowned First Princess was Sara Meurer (MY-er), the daughter of Wayne and Shirley Meurer, and Second Princesses were Ashley Zutz (ZOOTS) and Lynn Braun (BRON).
Nicollet High School crowned Homecoming Royalty in September of 2013. Named Homecoming King was Matt Christenson, and crowned Homecoming Queen was Julia Giefer.
Nicollet High School had 2 students named KNUJ Players of the Year in November of 2013. Dalton Elliot was named the Offensive Football Player of the Year, and Matt Christenson the Defensive Player of the Year.
The City of Nicollet was founded in 1856 by several different people. It was named after the French explorer Jean Nicollet.
The City of Nicollet is located in Nicollet County on Highways 14, 99, and 111. It is near Swan Lake.
Nicollet has several founders and various locations at first. At one time it was known as “Eureka” and then “Swan City” as well as “Dakota City.” None of these sites were very successful until the railroad came through the area. The name of Nicollet was decided upon in 1858.
The present-day town site for Nicollet was founded by James Stewart in 1874. The location was chosen due to the railroad.
The Sisseton Sioux Indians led by Chief Sleepy Eye called the area home at one time. They lived in an area near Swan Lake.
During the heyday of the railroad, Nicollet had up to 6 passenger trains running at one time.
The 1st fire department in Nicollet was created in 1893.
The 1st school in Nicollet was a private school in an old feed mill in 1883 taught by Miss Nette Wethille. The 1st public school was built in 1885 for $1,450 and the first teacher there was Gustav Chilgren.
Many years ago, pike were forked out of Swan Lake by the wagon load. Some were even used by local farmers for fertilizer. There is a picture of fish 5-feet long taken from Swan Lake.
Ice was a big industry in Nicollet at one time. Ice from Swan Lake was taken for both commercial and residential needs and stored away for use during the summer.
Nicollet had a “Pest house” at one time. Any single man who had a communicable disease had to live in the pest house until he recovered.
In 1905 an epidemic of influenza made life miserable for a good share of Nicollet’s population.