Willmar Travel Guide

  • Kandiyohi County Courthouse
    Kandiyohi County Courthouse
    by Basaic
  • Kandiyohi County Museum
    Kandiyohi County Museum
    by Basaic
  • Historic District
    Historic District
    by Basaic

Willmar Things to Do

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
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    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    To me, the most interesting thing to see at the Kandiyohi Museum was this mountain-type train, Locomotive 2523 on display under an open sided shelter. It is a survivor of the steam engines used by the Great Northern Railway to speed up mainline passenger service and was placed on permanent exhibit October 17th, 1967.

    Engine No. 2523 is the last of 28 locomotives built for the Great Northern by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and used in the Empire Builder routes. After these engines were replaced by even more powerful locomotives, they were retired in 1955.

    The locomotive and tender are 94 feet 6¼ inches in length, weigh 617,000 pounds and stand 15 feet 10 inches from rail to the top of the stack. No. 2523 was an oil burner and developed 57,580 pounds of traction effort. Each of the eight drive wheels is 73 inches high.

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    • Trains
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Kandiyohi Statue, Willmar, Minnesota 3 more images

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated May 28, 2007

    The Kandiyohi Statue which stands in front of the county courthouse is an idealized image of and Indian which the locals call Chief Kandiyohi. Actually, there never was an Indian chief by that name. "Kandiyohi" in the Dakota language means "Place where the Buffalo Fish abound."

    Near the statue are two historical markers. One tells the story of the Indian history of the area and the others tells how the statue came to be. It was first a symbol of a local bank, dating back to 1915, and later was adapted as a symbol of the Kandiyohi County.

    The first human inhabitants are thought to have come to this area about 10,000 years ago. When the first European settlers arrived in 1856 they found the Dakota Sioux here where they came in summer to fish and gather berries. An Indian uprising in 1862, at the same time as the War Between the States, resulted in 13 settlers and an unknown number of Indians being killed.

    Indian heritage remains in Kandiyohi County primarily in place names.

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    • Historical Travel

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    by Stephen-KarenConn Written May 27, 2007


    Located between Foot and Willmar lakes, N Hwy 71; Six picnic shelters, playground equipment, nature trail, swimming beach, grills; ~55 acres

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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Willmar Local Customs

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    Bethel Lutheran Church, Willmar, Minnesota 1 more image

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated May 27, 2007

    The stately old church Bethel Lutheran Church in downtown Willmar is reminder that the first European settlers to much the territory that is now Minnesota came from the Scandanavian countries, especially Sweden, bring their Lutheran faith with them.

    Bethel Lutheran Church, a part of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is not a tourist attraction, but visitors are still welcome. It is a vibrant local church with a full range of ministries.

    Many other Christian denominations have local congregations in and around Willmar, but Lutherans seem to be predominant.

    Address: 411 South West Becker Avenue, Willmar, MN 66201

    Regular Worship Schedule:
    Summer: 9:00 a.m.
    School Year: 8:15 a.m. & 10:45 a.m.
    Wednesday Morning Matins: 10:00 a.m.
    Wednesday Evening Advent/Lenten Worship: 6:30 p.m.
    Saturday: 5:00 p.m.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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