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Worthington 150: Peter Thompson bought first lots sold in the city

His most notable accomplishment was in 1911, when the four-story hotel which bears his name was built, with 118 feet of it faced on 10th Street and the courthouse square.

Hotel Thomspon
The Thompson Hotel is seen in this undated photo of Worthington's 10th Street.
Nobles County Historical Society
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WORTHINGTON — Peter Thompson had the distinction of purchasing the first three lots sold at Worthington, two on Ninth Street and the third on Third Avenue.

150 YEARS OF WORTHINGTON
It was a noisy, hilarious and potentially dangerous scene. But the merchants of 1934 declared it a huge success.
One night he ran smack-dab into a group of evangelists while staggering out of a saloon. He was converted on the spot. Since then he traveled all across the country preaching the gospel and convincing sinners to “get right with God.”
The city’s Army National Guard unit, Co. F of the 215th Coast Artillery, was ordered to active duty in 1940, a full year before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

He had many more distinctions, having come to Nobles County with the vanguard of colonists and identifying with the business, social, religious and political life of the community.

A native of Sweden, born there Jan. 27, 1839, Thompson came to Wisconsin with his parents at the age of 11, and to Carver County in Minnesota three years later, in 1853.

He had clerked in a general store and on board a steamboat, plying the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, before coming to southern Minnesota as early as September 1871, and filing — at Jackon — on land in Elk Township.

His close friend, ex-Gov. Stephen Miller, kept him informed of the colony plans and in October 1871, he came to Worthington. The next day, surveyors laid out the town and he purchased the first lots.

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The following April, Thompson returned on the first regular train to Worthington, bringing with him several carloads of lumber with which to build a store on Ninth Street.

He sold his store to B. W. Lyon in 1879, and went into the farm machinery, warehouse, grain, real estate and abstract business. He founded the Nobles County band with George J. Day and, in 1894, sold it to Lynd & Evans.

Thompson Hotel revitalized
The Thompson Hotel recently underwent a major renovation of its apartment units and 10th Street storefronts.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Until 1910, Thompson owned the Worthington Globe Printing office and was holding both city and county offices. His most notable accomplishment was in 1911, when the four-story hotel which bears his name was built, with 118 feet of it faced on 10th Street and the courthouse square. It extended 100 feet along Third Avenue. Completely modern, it had 150 rooms, its own water, light and heat. The grand opening was held in March 1912.

150 YEARS OF WORTHINGTON
A timeline that celebrates big moments in our town's history.
Adrian proposed dissecting Nobles County so it could reign over a new county.
While Worthington City Hall maintains all council meeting minutes, the early minutes are handwritten.

C. A. Sampson, St. Paul, was the first manager. He was succeeded by his son, Lyman, after which Thompson took over the management until leasing to Tangney & McGinn.

The first businesses to occupy the ground floor were Casareto’s fruit & confectionery, the Grand theater, Sterling Bros. clothing and Herbert Drug. The Globe and the Ideal Cleaning Works were in the basement.

Since 2020, the historic Thompson Hotel has been transformed, with fully renovated apartments on the upper three floors, and a variety of recently updated or new businesses at street level, including El Mexicano, the Thompson Mexican Grille, El Rinconcito, a barbershop, clothing boutique and beauty salon.

150 YEARS OF WORTHINGTON
A timeline that celebrates big moments in our town's history.
The Indian culture along the shores of Lake Okabena remained undisturbed until the mid-19th century, when white settlers first moved into the area.
An addition to the junior and senior high complex, the auditorium was designed with the classic art deco features so popular at the time.
The first public school consisted of 49 students and two teachers who met in various rented rooms throughout the village.
At least 50 confirmed reservations were received from Midwestern windsurfers of various skill levels.
First festival focused on playing soccer.
Committee member recounts sorting everything from dresses and suits to shoes.
Ludlow a figure in Worthington's early history.
“Building international relations on a community-to-community basis … represents a new approach to democracy.”
Jack started as an immigrant shoemaker and went on to lead a flamboyant rags-to-riches life. He was part of an interesting era in Worthington’s history.
Last local casualties were from Vietnam war.
The founder of this unique partnership visited Crailsheim in 1958, when she was decorated with the “Bundersverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse.”
His home still stands today as a bed and breakfast.
The Mobergs and Larsons came to America together in 1870, an arduous journey by boat, foot, wheel car and railroad.
E. O. Olson was a prominent figure in Worthington's history
Worthington was a natural for the natural ice industry. The railroads were here. The lake was here.
Worthington’s economic base began to broaden from the narrow pedestal of farming to the much broader one of agriculture.
One Worthington woman who was close to the welfare scene expressed it another way: “I never told my kids how tough we had it. And I forgot it as soon as I could.”
Worthington soared to a new population of 3,481 persons by the 1920s.
In 1916, a hexagonal bandstand was built about 75 feet out on Lake Okabena at the foot of Third Avenue.
From the first permanent house to the largest King Turkey Day in 1966, Worthington has a storied past.
Prior to 1909, post was termed president.
Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle shares thoughts on city's milestone anniversary.

What To Read Next
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Any resident within the city of Worthington can apply to get a nutritious, balanced meal delivered to their door. Both regular and special diet meals, such as salt-free or diabetic, are available.
Mahoney was named Education Minnesota Worthington’s Teacher of the Year in May 2022.
The Jackson County Libraries are hosting puzzle competitions at all three libraries on Feb. 25.