Grove City, Minnesota
Location of Grove City
within Meeker County, Minnesota
|• Total||0.71 sq mi (1.83 km2)|
|• Land||0.66 sq mi (1.70 km2)|
|• Water||0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)|
|Elevation||1,191 ft (363 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||931.61/sq mi (359.82/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0644499|
The numerous tracts of groves in the area were the inspiration for the town’s name. There was little difference in the early days between Swede Grove and Grove City. On the 17th of August, 1862, a meeting of some of the settlers was held at Nels Elofson's home for the purpose of getting three men to join the army and fill a draft levy, which had been made on the town of Swede Grove. At the meeting, they suddenly all heard of the massacre nearby in Acton. Most of the people left their homes and farms and went to Forest City for protection. When they returned in October of 1862, they found that every house but two had been burned down in the village. The narratives must have meant Swede Grove, because records state that the first house built in Grove City was built in 1869 by Olaf J. Levander, one of the early settlers, who came from Sweden. That must be when they started calling the place Grove City. The railroad was built through the town in 1870. The first business was a general store and a post office and it was moved from north of Grove City, into the Levander home in 1871, Olaf being the first postmaster. With the railroad coming, the town began to grow, like most of the towns on what became Highway 12. The trains needed stops every five miles or so to take on water for the steam engines, so most of the towns on the route are that far apart. Also, lumber was needed to burn and the crew on the train was equipped with axes and, because they often ran out of wood, they’d jump off the train near woods and do some chopping. Grove City was platted in 1870 and incorporated in 1878. The post office has been in operation since 1879. Olaf Levander had a saloon in town in 1880, a much need commodity.
In the early 1900's, Grove City had four groceries or general merchandise stores (Andrew P. Nelson with O. H. Peterson, C. C. Reitan with A. C. Haugen, and two others), two hardware stores, two hotels (Mrs. L. A. Olson, Peter D. Ringstrom), a shoe store/men’s clothing store (O. Levander), a harness shop, a millenary shop, a bakery, four grain elevators (Farmer’s Mill Company was one, Andrew P. Nelson and Mr. Dudley was another), two lumber yards (Andrew P. Nelson and another), a doctor's office (C. J. Eriksan), a creamery, five saloons (B. Bresden, A. Okerson, Olaf Levander, and two others ), a pool hall, a barrel factory, a feed mill and flour mill (C. E. Lindberg), two bulk oil stations (for kerosene lamps), four filling stations (really?), two garages, an express and railroad agent (George Kellog), a painter (Martin J. Paulson, former owner of one of the hotels), a drug store, three restaurants, a watchmaker (S. Hawkinson), a confectionery store, two blacksmiths shops (Eric P. Eklund, Peter J. Malmquist), a wagon-making shop (A. P. Gustafson), two carpenters (A. Levander, Ole W. Lindell), two banks, and a partridge in a….er…a telephone office.
A summer of 1925 Litchfield newspaper headline stated: “Man, 93, Arrested as Still Tender, Stands on Rights. Nels Elefson (Elofson was the correct spelling) of Meeker County, Held as State's Oldest Moonshiner.” Other than the fact that the paper got his name and age wrong, the old settler, who died a couple of months later on June 8, 1925, at the correct age of 90 plus, was going to go out with a bang. Nels, who was involved in the Sioux Uprising, was still the oldest man ever accused of bootlegging in Minnesota. Prohibition agent Ole Olson brought Nels into custody. According to the newspaper article, Nels was “said to have been caught red-handed in the act of tending a still cooker in Grove City. Elefson was born in 1831 (actually June 18, 1834) and used to be a justice of the peace in his county.” (He was also the postmaster in Swede Grove in 1859.) “It's my constitutional right to make moonshine if I want to,” Nels said to the officers. The article went on that “the still, said to have been operated there by the aged man, was in a tiny teapot and that it took him (Nels) three weeks to make a quart of alcoholic liquor which he said he used in his coffee in the morning, the habit of 80 years. Elefson was the second white man in Meeker County and is known as a pioneer and Indian fighter of the early days. He was released on his own recognizance.” Oh, the crimes our newspapers reported in Meeker County.
Having been awarded a big construction contract in Meeker County, the Walter Johnson family moved to Grove City from Long Prairie in 1934. (Walter, with his sons, started the famous Johnson Brothers Construction Company.) In Grove City, Walter befriended a well-to-do man named Louis “Louie” Johnson from Swede Grove Township. Louie happened to be the president of the Grove City Bank. When the government closed the banks in 1933, Louie kept his bank open, sometimes using his own money from home, which he brought to the bank in suitcases. (What? Didn’t the bank president trust banks?) Because of this, the multi-million dollar firm Walter started has done much business with that little bank over the years.
Alphonse “Al” Revering owned a garage and blacksmith shop in Grove City, but he became terminally ill after a heart attack in 1947. So Al bought the By-Way bar at the intersection of Highways 12 and 22 in Litchfield so that his wife Eleanor would have a steady income after he died. He did die shortly after in 1951 at only 37 years old. As of the census of 2010, there were 635 people in Grove City.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 635 people, 268 households, and 169 families residing in the city. The population density was 920.3 inhabitants per square mile (355.3/km2). There were 291 housing units at an average density of 421.7 per square mile (162.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.0% White, 0.9% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.8% of the population.
There were 268 households of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.9% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.92.
The median age in the city was 35.6 years. 26.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 24.2% were from 45 to 64; and 16.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 608 people, 257 households, and 160 families residing in the city. The population density was 951.8 people per square mile (366.8/km²). There were 271 housing units at an average density of 424.2 per square mile (163.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.86% White, 0.33% Asian, 0.33% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.96% of the population.
There were 257 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,313, and the median income for a family was $38,750. Males had a median income of $28,125 versus $20,417 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,237. About 9.4% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 22.5% of those age 65 or over.
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- Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 340.
- "Meeker County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
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