Near New Ulm in Brown County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
In the heart of West Newton sat the Harkin Store, a combination general store and post office operated by Alexander and Janet Harkin. Their store was the social center of the community, where farmers and townsfolk gathered to buy groceries, barter for supplies, and exchange the news of the day.
The Harkins, both natives of Scotland, had settled in the area in 1856. Alexander, a successful farmer who also ran a grain shipping business, became such a respected community leader in West Newton that a local newspaper dubbed the town "Harkinville".
As long as the town prospered, so did the Harkin Store. But in 1873 the railroad bypassed West Newton in favor of New Ulm, while river traffic dwindled. Deprived of both river and rail transportation, West Newton saw its role as a commercial center come to an end.
Further misfortune came in the 1870s when grasshoppers devastated the area's crops. Farmers could no longer buy goods or pay their debts. By 1890 most of the Harkin customers had moved away and their business had dropped to
With much of its original stock still on the shelves, the Harkin Store reopened in 1938 as a museum operated by their granddaughter. Today, restored to is 1870 appearance by the Minnesota Historical Society, the Harkin Store offers a glimpse of a time when river towns prospered.
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Erected 2001 by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
Location. 44° 23.185′ N, 94° 35.949′ W. Marker is near New Ulm, Minnesota, in Brown County. Marker is on County Road 21 0.3 miles west of 661st Avenue, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 66250 County Road 21, New Ulm MN 56073, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Taken by Surprise (approx. 2.1 miles away); Junior Pioneers Tablet (approx. 2.1 miles away); Milford State Monument (approx. Ravine Ambush (approx. 2.4 miles away); Essig, Minnesota (approx. 4.3 miles away); Turnverein Founding Site (approx. 5.4 miles away); Golden Gate Mill Stones (approx. 6.3 miles away); Golden Gate (approx. 6.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Ulm.
Also see . . .
1. Harkin Store. Minnesota Historical Society. (Submitted on June 24, 2013.)
2. Harkin's Historic Store. (Submitted on June 24, 2013.)
3. Harkin's General Store. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on June 24, 2013.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 24, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 456 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 24, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.