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-City of Ottertail-


Sometime prior to 1858 Otter Tail City was settled by Donald McDonald who trapped and traded with the Indians. When Otter Tail County was first organized Otter Tail City (as it was called then) was the first county seat.

After 1858 and being named the county seat, a branch of the US Land Office was located in Otter Tail City, but this was raided by the Indians during an uprising in 1862. The settlement was practically deserted until about 1868 when RL Frazee decided it would be a good point for a saw mill.

In 1870 the Northern Pacific Railway was running their survey west from Crow Wing and Otter Tail City was one of the towns through which the railroad was to pass. With construction crews making their headquarters in the village, hotels, stores and saloons soon began to appear. The town grew to 1500. It was said there were 36 saloons in the village.

A flour mill was erected by Marcus Shaw, who was the first county treasurer of Otter Tail County, but with mis-management of county funds a shortage occurred and the difference was made by Mr. Frazee, his bondsman, the owner of the sawmill. Shaw resigned and turned his flour mill over to Frazee.

In 1871 the Railroad wanted to place their depot and sidetracks on land owned by a man named Cathcart, but the parties couldn’t agree on the value of the land so the Railroad re-routed their line via Perham then missing the county seat by about 10 miles.

In 1872 the county seat was moved to Fergus Falls.  That began the migration of the
businesses that wanted to be established in a county seat.  Buildings were moved and Otter Tail City practically ceased to exist until about 1905 when another chance to grow seemed to appear.  Ottertail was incorporated on May 3rd, 1904 in an election of 35 for and 8 against incorporation as a village.

A division of the “Soo-Line” was surveyed and planned to pass through, but again the town site owners could not agree and the line was re-surveyed missing “Otter Tail City”
by a mile.  The new town site of “Ottertail” was platted to the east (what now is called “old town.”). A remnant of the original town-site exists today. The Saint Paul House, a former hotel and still being used as a residence stands as a monument to days gone by.

Consisting of nearly 3200 acres, approximately 5 sections Ottertail was platted when
pioneers saw great expansion. Today visitors will find “old town” of Ottertail existing on Highway 108 about a mile from US Hwy 78 and the portion of “new town” right along 78.  A variety of businesses provide the basic services of banking, gas, groceries and dining to the residents of Ottertail and the City of Ottertail maintains fire and rescue services as well other municipal anemities. Along with a relaxing atmosphere and friendly people you are sure to enjoy your visit and truly understand that in Ottertail…it's just the beginning.

City of Ottertail is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider
City Office Info:
239 Hwy 78 N.
PO Box 245

Ottertail, MN  56571
Phone: (218) 367-2250
Fax: (218) 367-2251

Hours of Operation:
  Mondays - Thursdays
      7:30am -12:30pm
      1:00pm - 4:30pm
      8:00am -12:00pm
Contact Numbers:
 City Hall
   (218) 367-2250
 Community Center
   (218) 367-2252
   (218) 367-2251
 Sheriff's Dept
   (218) 998-8555

Meeting Info:
January - December:
  No morning meetings
  3rd Thursday of each
     month - 7:00pm

Click here for more information.

 2016 City of Ottertail, Minnesota

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