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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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