Correll History

Village of Correll

The first survey and plat of the Village of Correll was made in September, 1879, by public surveyor, D.N. Correll of St Paul.  In 1881, the Hastings & Dakota Railroad Company accepted the survey and hit it recorded.

For many years, only a railroad depot stood on the village’s grassy acres.  The population consisted of railroad employees and their families who resided in the depot.  The laborers had to detach themselves from the comforts of their home communities.  A story is told of a young married woman who died in the early 1890’s while living in the depot.  Her remains were kept in the freight house for most of a week, until help came to take care of the body.

The area was not completely barren of civilized live, however, as railroad companies laid connecting routes between agricultural lands and the grain markets, settlers were drawn to the  Correll area.  The earliest settlers included: F.C. Hill, C.H. Baker,,Adam Vye, H.L. Holmes, Van Kingsbury, Oring Kingsbury, John Blum, the Barr families, Lime West, F.A. Hudson, John Mitchell, and H. Kollitz.

In 1890 the Thos F. Kock Lank Company bought the town site then sold it to Chas F Woods in 1893.  Woods built a flat house, later to become part of the Farmer’s Elevator, and lived there for a year.  The first religious services were held in the Woods house.  Worship was led by an old railroad conductor, Sandy Lyons.  Since there was no Sunday train to Correll, he would come from Ortonville on the Saturday midnight train, conduct services, then go back again on the midnight train, ready for the train run Monday morning.

Slowly, structures arose on the horizon, giving form to the Village of Correll.  In 1893, Woods completed the elevator, and J.G. Slater and Emil Schoening built a hardware store and post office.    John G. Slater and wife, Bertha Schoening Slater, and two year old daughter, Elsie came to Correll from Minneapolis in 1893.  There were living quarters above the store and later, two were added to the back of the store.  It proved to be a meeting place for farmers and friends waiting for the midnight passenger.  They  sold the store in 1903 and moved to Appleton.

Before the turn of the century, a lumber yard was built by Frank Gold and managed by J.W. Barr.  J.A. Anderson was the section foreman and a jeweler.  The first postmaster was J.G. Slater, succeeded in 1894 by F.C. Woods.  Dave Francis and J.A. Wilson also served as postmasters until it was sold to J. Luchsinger and Nelson in 1906.

The first of the many Correll disasters was witnessed in 1902, by P.W. Fruetel, depot master.  Vera Nelson writes of the incident:  “While at his desk, a freight train ran right by the depot.  He heard another fast freight coming and noticed that they were not slacking up, either for the town or the freight on the track ahead.  He gave the alarm, but almost instantly the crash came.  Over a dozen boxcars were piled on the depot platform.  The engineer was terribly scalded and mangled while the brakeman jumped and escaped.  The engineer and brakeman on the front train were the only ones killed outright.

Six years later, Correll was the scene of a bank robbery.  the parties apparently came into town on the night train.  The safe was blown to pieces; the inside door flown through the front of the building int the street and other parts blown through the desk an office furniture.  No clue as to who did it was found by the authorities.  Soon after the bank installed a burglar  and fireproof  safe.  At the time this history was written, in 1958, main street Correll hosted the following businesses:  a laundromat,  elevator, tow garages, two cafes, grocery store and locker, two processing places, two gas stations, one bulk service and a liquor store.  There was also a mink ranch started by Arnold Nitz in 1955, which kept about 400 females.