- Winthrop was established in 1858 as a stagecoach stop between Henderson and Fort Ridgely, and was originally known as “Eagle City.” The town was officially incorporated in 1881, and was named after Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop. It became an important railroad center for many years.
- Winthrop is located in Sibley County. Major highways in the town include 19 and 15.
- The 1st settlers in Winthrop were Erick and Brita Olson. They arrived in 1869, and what is currently the town site was their farmland until 1881. It was then that Erick platted the town site, and with the arrival of the railroad in 1881 as well, growth of the town was assured.
- Winthrop was named by EA Campbell, who played a prominent role in the building of the new town. He was the Postmaster at the Eagle City Post Office, and when he moved to the town site in 1881, the post office came with him. Campbell at one time owned all the buildings on the east side of Carver Street, north from 2nd to 3rd.
- In its early days, Winthrop was the principal business town in Sibley County. It was the largest wheat market on the Pacific Division of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railways. Within a month after the town site was platted in 1881, a half-dozen or more establishments had set up shop.
- In 1929 the annual business meeting for Winthrop Cooperative Creamery Association was held at the new modern creamery. The volume of business at the new creamery for the fiscal year 1928 was over 313,000 pounds of butter. The average price for butter sold then was 45.8-cents, and for butterfat was 53.2-cents.
- Winthrop native Doug Lindstrom is a renowned Alaskan artist. Another famous Winthropian is WCCO Radio’s Roger Erickson.
- Winthrop is paired with Fairfax and Gibbon to make the GFW School District. Their mascot is the Thunderbird, and the high school is located in Winthrop. The 3 schools paired up in 1987, and prior to that Winthrop teams were known as the Warriors. The students of GFW have their own TV show on a public access channel: KGFW TV.
- Some of Winthrop’s major industries include: Mid-America Dairy, a maker of butter and dried milk which receives over 90,000 pounds of milk daily from area farmers. Heartland Corn Products is an ethanol plant; and the company formerly called Richcraft was split into 2 different companies. They are called Guidecraft and Kathelyn Manufacturing.
- The Heartland Corn Products ethanol plant recently undertook a major expansion project. The company increased output of 36-million gallons of ethanol per year up to 100-million. The company is now able to ship its product up to 1,500 miles by truck, unit train, or single car.
Festivals & Events
- The big summer celebration in Winthrop is the “Farm City Funfest.” Winthrop has hosted the festival, which was previously called Town and Country Days, for over 50 years. It takes place in July.
- Winthrop celebrates the return of the grackle every year with “Grackle Days.” The idea for the celebration is based on the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, Spain. Grackle Days festivities take place in April.
- During the Christmas season, Winthrop celebrates “Santa Claus Day.” The day features Santa and Mrs. Claus, of course, and lots of special deals at retailers throughout town.
- The City of Winthrop has a population of approximately 1,300 people. The Mayor is David Trebelhorn.
- Winthrop’s new wind turbine was completed in 2010. The 120-foot tall turbine on the south end of Winthrop is part of a project through the Minnesota Municipal Power Association. All of the electricity produced by the turbine will be used in Winthrop.
- The Winthrop Public Library expanded in 2010 and the Winthrop City Council chambers were moved to the second floor of the Winthrop CIty Hall to accommodate the expansion.
- The City of Winthrop opened a skateboarding park in 2010. The skate park features several ramps and some rails. Skaters wishing to enjoy the park must first obtain a registration card and sign a liability waiver. They are available at Winthrop City Hall or online at www.winthropminnesota.com.
- GFW High School Principal Jeff Bertrang became the new GFW Superintendent in January of 2012. He replaced Superintendent Tony Boyer, who resigned due to health reasons.
- Lonnie Bacon took over as Winthrop Fire Chief in 2012, after 17 years with the Winthrop Fire Department. Mike Trebesch served as fire chief for 8 years prior to that.
- GFW High School’s Frank Fairchild was named a Minnesota State High School League ExCEL Award winner in 2012. ExCEL stands for Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership.
- The 28th annual Grackle Days took place in April of 2012. Committee Chair Brenda Meyer was happy with how the weekend turned out.
- New Winthrop Royalty was crowned during Grackle Days 2012. Named Miss Winthrop was Cassidy Sloot, the daughter of Harry and Kellie Sloot. Crowned Winthrop Princess and Miss Congeniality was Rebecca Klehr, the daughter of John and Kim Klehr.
- GFW High School in Winthrop got a new principal in July of 2012. Steve Schauberger had previously worked as Dean of Students at Dassel-Cokato High School, and also served at New London-Spicer High School and the New Century Charter School in Hutchinson.
- GFW High School in Winthrop graduated a total of 64 Thunderbirds in 2012. The Valedictorian was Jenna Albrecht.
- A Winthrop girl was named Miss Sibley County in 2012. Megan Kammerlander was crowned during the Sibley County Fair in early August.
- GFW High School Homecoming Royalty was crowned in Winthrop in September of 2012. Named Homecoming King was Kyle Sassenberg, and Katie Becker was crowned Homecoming Queen.
- The Winthrop Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet in early November of 2012. The annual “Good Citizen Award” was presented to James Osburn, and Dave Schauer was honored as a “Chamber Workhorse.” Winthrop Chamber of Commerce President Kellie Sloot handed over leadership to Jenny Hazelton during the banquet also, with Chuck Collins taking on the role of vice president. Lori Bussler was elected to fill the vacant director position for the Winthrop Chamber.
- Winthrop Mayor Dave Trebelhorn was re-elected to a 4th term in November of 2012. The terms run for 2 years. He is a Winthrop native who also served 10 years on the Winthrop City Council, and has been a Sibley Soil and Water Conservation District commissioner for more than 20 years.
Click on the title below to listen to the Town Days Podcasts
02 Jan 17