History of Hokah (Village), Houston County, Minnesota
From: The History of Houston County, Minnesota
Edited by: Franklyn Curtis-Wedge.
H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.
Winona, Minn. 1919


Hokah, a thriving village on the line of the Southern Minnesota, occupies a commanding position near the mouth of the Root River valley, and has some of the most picturesque surroundings of any village in this part of the State, and its future possibilities are many.

Its people are progressive and intelligent, believers in education and in business progress, and the appearance of the village reflects their spirit.

The story of the early days of this interesting village has already been told. In the days of the railroad shops it bid fair to become a large city. Then the shops moved away. Later, with the building of extensive dams, and the construction of mills, prophecies were made that the place would become a great milling center. But floods which washed out the dams, and litigation which embroiled the owners, together with the diminishing of the wheat crop in this vicinity, and the growth of the great mills at the head of Mississippi navigation ruined this hope likewise.

But through it all, the people have held on, undaunted, and in recent years there has come a new impetus of business and progress, founded upon the solid rock of the increasing wealth and importance of the farming region for which the village furnished the shipping point.

The village has two papers, the Houston County Chief and the Hokah Tribune; two strong banks, the Farmers' State Bank and the Hokah State Bank; a grain elevator, a sawmill, a hotel and a creamery, as well as a telephone exchange. The creamery is owned by the Hokah Creamery Co., the elevator by the Hokah Grain and Stock Company, and the Hokah Shipping Association is equipped with excellent stock yards. The Hokah Telephone Exchange has local, rural and long distance service. The Beatrice Creamery Co. has a shipping station here. The Hoffman Flour Mill is operated by water power and two miles southwest is the Bernsdorf Feed Mill.

The village owns a hose house and has a volunteer fire department of 30 men. There are two hose carts, with 1,000 feet of good 2 ½ inch hose. A bell is provided for a fire alarm.

The waterworks system consists of a reservoir of 150,000 capacity located on a hill 100 feet above Main Street. The water is pumped by a gasoline engine, giving a gravity pressure of 50 pounds. The village has one mile of 6 inch and 8 inch mains, and nine double hydrants.

The I. O. O. F. Hall provides a public hall.

There are four churches, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, Zion's Lutheran Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Hokah Chief as originally established was started in 1856 or 1857, but the exact date is not known, as the early files were not preserved. After a time it was suspended, but on April 26, 1859, it was revived by H. Ostrander, a practical printer from New York State, who, in early life was associated with Thurlow Weed, one of the leading journalistic supporters of Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. Mr. Ostrander was an indomitable worker, and a man who knew no compromise of principle, but who attacked every wrong he saw regardless of its connections or associations. His paper was Republican, and in those trying days just before the Civil War, when party passions were at fever heat, he battled nobly for the Union and became a terror to its enemies. He saw the triumph of the cause for which he fought, but on May 23, 1865, scarcely more than a month after the end of the war, the paper was discontinued for want of support and patronage.

Other former papers are the Hokah Herald and the Hokah Blade.

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