Someone on an earlier post said all the action in McLeod county is in Hutchinson, not the County Seat of Glencoe, so I should go there. So I did. Hutchinson (map), 61 miles due west of Minneapolis, is certainly a bit livelier than Glencoe, with nearly three times the population. There is an important public square , with a sculpture of the founders: the musical Hutchinson brothers. The brothers were abolitionists and among the biggest musical acts of the day, touring and provoking both imitators and satirists.
The Hutchinson brothers’ party of explorers chose a setting on the crest of a hill overlooking the beautiful Hassan River Valley. (The river, originally given the Indian name Hassan (Maple Leaf), is now called the Crow River.)
The group wrote 13 “Articles of Agreement” for the town. These included articles setting aside 5 acres for the Humanities Church, 15 acres for parks – making Hutchinson’s park system the 2nd oldest in the nation, 8 lots for educational purposes and stating that Hutchinson women would have equal rights with the town.
The town itself has about 15,000 people, and a strong Main Street compared with similar towns, though it is not at the level of somewhat larger New Ulm, Northfield, Owatonna, or Faribault. The design of Highway 15, the main route through town, connecting US12 and US212, makes Main Street more of highway than some other places (though less than St. Peter). It still has industry, Hutchinson Technology (important in the Disk Drive sector) and 3M have facilities. There is also a MnSCU Community College branch (Ridgewater), but this seems to have less effect than full-time, larger, four-year schools. The town is on Otter Lake, which Main Street skirts, though being on a lake is no guarantee of success (as per Albert Lea).