Town Days Tour 2013 Truman

TRUMAN DAY —- History

– The first settlement in the township was established in 1857 along Elm Creek.  In 1862, many of the settlements in the area were burned during an Indian uprising, but many residents soon returned to rebuild their homes and farms.

– The City of Truman was founded in the year 1899 when the railroad came through. It was named after Truman Clark, the son of J.T. Clark, Vice President of the railroad.

– Truman is in Martin County on Highway 15. It is near Perch Lake.

– Truman is the hometown of former Speaker of the House Dave Jennings.

– In 1873 and 1874, grasshoppers devastated area crops, causing many to abandon their farms and leave the area.  By 1878, nearly three out of every four farms was vacant or abandoned.

– During the early years, Truman was host to two “large” hotels, the Pioneer Hotel and the City Hotel and restaurant. Competition was fierce between them. In those days, a room cost a dollar a day. A third hotel was constructed in 1905, known as the Truman Hotel.

– In 1903, gas lighting was installed on Main Street. This was finally replaced in 1916 when electricity was brought to Truman by the Madelia Electric Company. Three years later the Interstate Power Company took over supplying power to the town. However, their service was so undependable that in 1938 residents built their own power plant.  The plant continues to serve today as a backup generator, with most power being purchased less expensively from the interstate power grid.

– In 1931 the N.Y. (Harlem) Globetrotters played a team in Truman. The basketball teams were composed of five of the outstanding stars in ball handling and shooting.

– The last train passed through on August 2nd, 1973, ending a 74 year service to the community of Truman.

– In 1974, the village of Truman officially became a city.

– Dr. August Hunte was the first permanent doctor in Truman. Prior to moving to the town he rode his bike 14 miles to Truman from Granada every day.

– In 1901 Otto Graf donated land to build a school and park in Truman.

– Edward E. Olson was the first 4-year graduate from Truman High School in 1913. He was the only one in his class. He later owned Olson Furniture and the Olson Funeral Homes in Truman and Fairmont.

– In 1919 “Old Highway 15″ – located 1 miles west of the present Highway 15 – was graveled and graded. The present Highway 15 was built in 1936.

– In 1923 an alleged Ku Klux Klan meeting was held in rural Truman, under the secrecy of the night.

– Judge Haycraft sentenced some Truman chicken thieves to attend church every Sunday in 1926, or go to jail.

– The Truman Gun Club was organized in 1945, and is still operating to this day.

– Lights were first erected on the Truman High School football field in 1947.

– The Rialto Theater in Truman closed its doors for good in 1958.

– The Truman Municipal Swimming Pool opened in 1967.

– The Lewisville School consolidated with the Truman School in 1971.

– In 1982 the Truman High School Football Team won the first Prep Bowl I Class C State Championship against Belgrade. The Metrodome was brand new. Truman won in the last minute with a field goal by the coach’s son, Ron Peterson.

– Truman celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999. That was the same year the town’s new water tower was built and 2 of the oldest businesses in town, Olson’s Furniture and the Truman Farmers’ Elevator both went out of business.

– Truman suffered a disastrous flood due to heavy rains in 2010.

– Truman elected its first woman mayor, Lynn Brownlee, in 2010.

–Truman holds the Minnesota record for the earliest tornado of the year: March 18th, 1968.

– Truman holds the state record for the best voter turnout. On November 7th, 1950, there were 559 eligible voters in Truman. A total of 542 of them voted that day, a 96.9% turnout! 


TRUMAN DAY —- Businesses

– Truman’s schools are paired with Madelia for some sports. When paired with Madelia, they are the Jayhawks. When alone in sports such as basketball and volleyball, they are the Blue Jays. The 2012-2013 school year saw the school team up with Granada-Huntley-East Chain for football as well

– A $1.9 million construction project was completed in Truman in 2005. The Schwan’s Food Company constructed a bigger distribution center that serves customers within a 100-mile radius of Truman. The 7,000 square-foot facility houses 23 employees and 15 delivery trucks.

– Truman is home to Prairieland Compost, which has an 8-million dollar facility.

– The Truman Farmers Elevator serves farmers from around the area. It is affiliated with Watonwan Farm Services.

– Area farmers are able to purchase their equipment in Truman at Martin County Implement.

– Truman is home to an assisted living facility, the Lutheran Retirement Home.

– Truman is home to nationwide trucking company Larry Bartz Trucking.


TRUMAN DAY —- Festivals and Events

– Truman’s big celebration of the summer is Truman Days. The annual festival includes a parade, softball tournament, ice cream social, street dance, and more. Truman Days takes place the 4th weekend of July, and thousands of visitors attend every year. Truman Days Board Member Barb Mager says that the annual parade draws around 5-thousand people to the town of 12-hundred, and thousands come for the citywide garage sales as well.



– The City of Truman has a population of approximately 1,200 people. The Mayor is Lynn Brownlee.

– In September 2010, a groundbreaking ceremony for a new addition to the Truman Fire Hall took place. The project involved expanding the city’s fire hall to include more truck parking, meeting space, and a kitchen. Truman Voters approved a $550,000 bond for the addition in May 2010, and Truman firefighters pledged an additional amount over $500,000 to the project. The group had been raising funds for the fire hall addition for about ten years.

– In 2010 there were many fundraisers to benefit the renovation of the Truman Community Building.

– The Homecoming King of Truman High School in 2012 was Jeremy Smith and the Homecoming Queen was Savannah Stevens.

– A new daycare center opened at the Truman School in 2012. It includes care for infants, toddlers, and school-age children.

– The Truman Fire Department received a $3,500 grant from WFS and Rural Development Partners in 2012. It was used towards grain bin entrapment and rescue training and equipment.



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