Hector also laid claim to being the “most air-minded city in the U.S.A.” in 1939 and 1940, according to articles featured in National Aeronautics, the Minneapolis Star Journal and other publications. It was reported in September 1940 that 40 percent of the men between the ages of 18 and 40 were either pilots or student fliers. Out of the 362 males (total population of 1,040) in the city, at that time, 45 did solo flying and another 100 males were taking instruction. A side note to this acclamation and the trademark as the “most air-minded city in the U.S.A.,” is that the amateur baseball team took on the name the “Hector Flyers.” The Flyers last year as a baseball team was 1983.
The village was named after the township of Hector, which had been organized in June 1874. It had originally been named Milford, but it was necessary to change the name when it was thought there was another Milford in Minnesota. It was later discovered this information was not true, and there was no other town named Milford in Minnesota, but there was one in South Dakota. After further meetings with the town leaders, the early pioneers vehemently disagreed on naming this town in southern Minnesota. Two other names came up: Plainfield and Hector. After a hotly contested debate between those who favored the name Plainfield, after the stage stop and post office, and those who favored Hector, a township in New York on the east shore of Seneca Lake where many of the early settlers came from, they chose the name Hector. Hector, N.Y. was named after the bravest of the ancient Trojan warriors whose story is an important part of Homer’s epic, The Iliad. So by succession, Hector, Minn. was named after the brave Trojan warrior and known for his fighting spirit, and it has always shown the fighting spirit befitting its name.
Hector from the air
The 10-block town site survey was completed September 14, 1878, on land owned by the Hastings and Dakota Railway Company, but a number of enterprising businessmen were already “squatting” on the site by then. The first building built on the town site was a warehouse by Charles Lang on the site that later became the site of the V.H. Smith Elevator, which was between the present Fullerton Lumber yard office and the railroad track.
The first dwelling house was constructed by Oscar H. Baker in the fall of 1878, and his son, Guy, was born in this house, the first child born on the town site.
G.H. Nixon, O.P. Peterson and John Trueman were appointed commissioners to organize the village after Hector incorporated by Act of the Legislature approved Feb. 23, 1881. They were in charge of the election which was held March 11, 1881, and elected W.D. Griffith as president. Trustees elected were G.H. Nixon, O.P. Peterson and Bart W. Schoulweller. Elected recorder was H. Simmons and treasurer was Marion Abbott. Andrew Strom was elected justice and Jones Chapman was elected the village’s first constable.
Presently the City of Hector has about 75 businesses and 1,166 residents. The city is run by a mayor-council form of government. The council is made up of four council members and a mayor. City employees consist of a city administrator, Deputy Clerk, three employees in the public works department and one employee in the water/wastewater department. The police department is made up of a police chief and one full-time officer with about five part-time officers on the roster that fill in for the full-time officers. Hector has a volunteer fire department made up of 24 members and a volunteer ambulance department made up of 14 members. These two departments serve the City of Hector and six townships.
The Hector Minnesota 135th Celebration committee has 20 members organizing all the events during Corn Chaff Days. On top of the sign from the left is Roger Newman, Jeff Heerdt and Al Koenig. On the bottom is Robert Lange, Nancy Fosland, Ken Anderson, Cathy Lee, Stephanie Whalen, Kathy Johnson, Joyce Olinger, Amy Hollan, Marie Walls (kneeling), Lynnette Clark, LeAnn Chapa (red sweater), and Sharon Stark. Not pictured is Judi Lange, Cindy Christopherson, Cyndi Washburn, Vicki Novotny and Barbara Hoyhtya.
Hector is also the home of Curtis Sampson, chairman and director of Communications Systems, Inc., which has four subsidiaries with communications manufacturing operations in the U.S., Great Britain, Costa Rica and China. They recently brought a part of their business, Suttle, back from China to Hector. Suttle manufactures on-premise voice, high-speed data connectors and related wiring devices. In 1994, Mr. Sampson purchased Canterbury Downs racetrack in Shakopee.
One of Hector’s largest employers is Loftness Manufacturing. In 1956 Loftness Manufacturing had its beginning in a farm shop owned by Dick Loftness, a local farmer. Loftness made a V-type snowblower for his own use. A few neighbors saw the blower and asked him to make one for them. Soon he had several of the snowblowers, and Loftness Manufacturing was launched. Marv and Gloria Nelson purchased the business from Loftness in 1979.
Hector houses the Buffalo Lake – Hector Mustangs. Grades 6-12 are in Hector and K-5 in Buffalo Lake. Stewart joined the Buffalo Lake-Hector School District in the 2010-2011 school year and the official name became Buffalo Lake, Hector, Stewart School District or BLHS.
Corn Chaff Days is held the weekend after the Fourth of July. Corn Chaff Days has a parade, street sale, park gathering, softball and volleyball tournaments, family bingo, quilt show, play, 5K run/walk, dances and the famous Hector Corn Chaff Days Raffle, with a grand prize of $10,000. An all-school reunion will be held on July 13 at the Bird Island Ballroom. Shuttle buses will be made available to the ballroom. Prairie View will also be celebrating their 10th Anniversary this year with an open house on July 14. There will be fireworks and people can watch them from the south lawn of the school.
For more information you can use their website: www.hector.govoffice.com or check the Facebook page: Hector’s 135th Celebration. You can call 320-848-2717 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.