- 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.
- 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 & 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.
- A Nicollet High School student was a finalist for the Minnesota State High School League Triple-A award in 2012. Sean Murphy was recognized for his achievements in Academics, the Arts, and Athletics.
- 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. The school board also approved a 2-year contract for Jennifer Baumgartner to serve as Nicollet School Principal. She previously worked as a Spanish teacher at Waconia High School.
- KNUJ’s Hometown Hero for June 2012 was Nicollet School Daycare Provider Amy Broring. She was honored by the Nicollet School Board for saving the life of a 1-year-old child. Broring was reportedly holding the infant when she noticed that the child had stopped breathing. Her training then kicked in, and she was able to revive the infant. She was presented a lifesaver award for her quick reaction.
- A new Miss Nicollet was crowned during the communities Friendship Days celebration in June of 2012. Named Miss Nicollet was Anna Drummer, the daughter of Matt and Karen Drummer. Crowned First Princess was Megan Wilking, the daughter of Larry and Marlene Wilking, and named 2nd Princess was Brianna Hall, the daughter of Jerod and Jennifer Hall.
- 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.
- Nicollet High School crowned Homecoming Royalty in September of 2012. Named Homecoming King was Evan Guffey, and crowned Homecoming Queen was Carissa Woller.
- The Nicollet School District got a new Dean of Students and Athletic Director in December of 2012. Kevin Christensen served as a 6th-grade teacher for the past 25 years, and had recently received his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, as well as a specialist degree, and his K-12 principal licensure. He also serves as the Nicollet Community Ed Director.