Welcome to Tyler, Minnesota

My name is Bridget Hansen and this is my Applied Technology project for the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). My goal in this project is to inform the younger generation of people about the history of Tyler.



The Tyler area was sparsely populated until 1879.  In September of 1879 the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Company sent John Brandt and ten other men to what is now Tyler.  These men established a depot station for the new railroad.

In the fall of 1879 the first village meeting was held.  On this occasion the name Tyler was selected for the village to honor a prominent business man at the time, C.B. Tyler.  C.B. lived in Tracy and Marshall before passing away on December 15, 1915 in Pasadena, California.

Then on June 1, 1880 the first census was taken.  It showed that the Village of Tyler in Hope Township contained a total of 81 people. The occupations of these people varied from grocer to carpenter, physician to saloon keeper, and servant to stone mason, but the largest group of workers were farmers. 

By the summer of 1887 the small town doubled its population from that first census of 81 people to 178 people.  This was the summer that the Village of Tyler held its vote for incorporation as a town.  Out of twenty-two votes, nineteen were for and three were against.  Tyler then became a town with its first president being J.W. Kendall.

Tyler soon provided needed utilities to its citizens and built a water tower.  The first water tower was sold to nearby Ruthton in 1896.  A second was built and then was soon sold to Soren Christensen and Jens Jaspersen in 1910; and the third water tower currently stands today. 

Electric lighting in Tyler first came in 1909, but not until ten years later, 1919, was there twenty-four hour service.



The early settlers did not have much for farm machinery, and what they did have needed to be pulled by horses or oxen.  The main crops that were first grown with this limited machinery were turnips and potatoes along with small patches of corn.  Eventually more corn and other grains were planted.  At harvest time, neighbors came together to help each other.  Then the excess grain that wasn’t needed to feed the livestock was brought to Marshall to be sold.

In 1906 farmland sold for $45 an acre.  Within eleven years, 1917, that same land sold for $110 an acre.  Since that time prices have gone up even further.  In 2004 an average acre of land in the Tyler area sells for $1800, a 4000% increase from 1906. 

Today, the agricultural community of Tyler is centered on cash crops and livestock.  The crops include corn, soybeans, and some wheat.  Livestock that are raised in the Tyler area include dairy, beef, and swine.



Tyler boomed with a variety of businesses in the late 1800’s.  There were four grocery stores, owned by Petersen and Gravesen, Andrew Larsen, Hans Olsen, and George Christensen.  Also, there were two hotels, the Park Hotel where it cost four to five dollars a week for room and board and the fancy Rein Hotel.  The town butcher shop was the Rasmus Petersen Meat Market where it cost twenty to twenty-five cents for enough meat to feed a family of six for one day.  Entertainment could be found at Tyler’s movie house where black and white silent movies played on a screen while a pianist on a stage played music according to the scene.  Early Tyler citizens could dine at one of three cafés found in the town, the City Café, Blakesly Café, or the Kjergaard Café.  The town of Tyler once supported three banks, the Farmers Bank which was established in 1887 and eventually closed during the Great Depression, the National Bank which was established in 1902 and also closed during the Great Depression, and the Citizen’s State Bank which was established in 1917 and can still be found in Tyler today. 

Other early businesses include:

               three saloons                                     drug store two-lane bowling alley

               candy store                                     doctor’s office    photography shop

               two hat shops                                 furniture store         hardware store

               livery stable                                         dray line        two jewelry stores

               hospital                                               mortuary                     carpenter

               harness shop                                 two blacksmiths              newspaper

               tailor shop                                        barber shops             opera house

                                                                               Citizen’s State Bank         Soren Lyngby Blacksmith Shop

                            Rasmus Petersen Meat Market       Jacobsen Jewelry                            Rein Hotel



On August 21, 1918 at 9:20 p.m., a tornado swept through the town of Tyler.  The tornado demolished most businesses and homes in the town and surrounding area.  The damage done totaled approximately $1 million. Wreckage from the tornado could be found up to twenty-three miles away from its original place in Tyler.

The Tyler Tornado took an entirety of thirty-three souls. 



Businesses that can be found in Tyler today include:

               Bakery                                                  Dining                         Grocery

               Windpower                                        Electrician         Beauty & Barber Shops

               Internet Access                           Retirement Homes            Auto Sales

               Daycare                                            Newspaper               Veterinarian

               Pharmacy                                       Funeral Home   Implement Dealers

               Bank                                              Attorney at Law                     Florist




Education in the Tyler area began with country schools.  There were a total of ten country schools in the Tyler area.  These include District Numbers 55, 43, 44, 59, 49, 73, 66, 3, 60, and Star School No. 7.  District No. 3 was better known as the Marshfield School and is pictured with early students to the left.

In 1880 a one room school was built in the Village of Tyler.  Then in 1888, shortly after Tyler became a town, a second room was added on.  By 1895 there were so many students that a second story was added on to make the school into four rooms. 

Within eight years increases in the population of Tyler called for a larger school building.  So in 1903 a brick building was built at the end of Tyler Street.  This brick building became known as Independent School District No. 23 with its first graduate, Clara Eklund Petersen, in 1908. 

Then in 1918 there were two changes in the school – a senior high building was added on and there were the first school “buses”.  These first “buses” were horse drawn carriages that were driven in turn by fathers of school children.  There were four of these “buses” and each had two long wooden bench seats.  One is pictured to the right. 

A large change occurred to the Tyler Public School in the 1981-1982 school year – it joined with the nearby Russell Public School becoming the Russell Tyler Public Schools.  Under this arrangement there was a Kindergarten to 5th grade in each school, a 6th to 8th middle school in Russell, and a 9th to 12th high school in Tyler.

Then in the 1987-1988 school year another large change took place, the Russell Tyler Public Schools joined with the Ruthton Public School becoming the Russell Tyler Ruthton (RTR) Public Schools.  This is the way it can be found today, with a Kindergarten to 5th grade in Ruthton, a 6th to 8th middle school in Russell, and a 9th to 12th high school in Tyler.  



The first hospital in Tyler was founded in January of 1917 by Dr. A.L. Vadheim and Dr. Theodore Paulson.  This first hospital could be found on the second floor of the First State Bank building.  It was a completely equipped five room hospital.  Then during the Tyler Tornado, this first hospital along with the First State Bank building was destroyed. 

A new hospital was quickly built and was dedicated in October of 1920.  It was originally built to accommodate 18 beds but was soon overfilled.  An addition was added on to contain a total of 36 patients; however, the hospital only met minimum requirements by the Minnesota Department of Health.

 The current hospital was dedicated on November 9, 1958.  It had a capacity for 32 beds.  Then in 1964 a new wing added 14 beds to the facility; the original 32 beds became a nursing home for elderly residents.  This current hospital is known as the A.L. Vadheim Memorial, out of respect to one of Tyler’s first doctors.   



First Congregational Church of Tyler

The earliest church in Tyler was the First Church of Christ.  The primary meeting was held on May 16, 1875 at the Marshfield School.  The name of the church was soon changed to First Congregational Church of Tyler.  The original church built was destroyed during the Tyler Tornado; the new church was built at the present site of First English Lutheran Church in the summer of 1922.  This initial church was disbanded in early 1941.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

In 1879 the Immanuel Lutheran Church began by sharing Reverend Boettcher with Balaton, Amiret, and Island Lake.  Over the years other reverends were shared until August 4, 1929 when the first residential reverend, Reverend Alfred Martens, came to Tyler. The present standing church was dedicated on April 26, 1942.

Christian and Missionary Alliance

Revival campaigns held in Tyler in January and February of 1904 sparked the beginning of the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Tyler.  From that time until early 1941 meetings were held in the homes of members.  Then in early 1941 the meetings moved to the disbanded Congregational Church building.  September 7, 1958 marked the first service in the current standing Christian and Missionary Alliance in Tyler.

First English Lutheran Church

In January of 1915 Reverend K.G. Hatten of Astoria, South Dakota held a small service at the Tyler Congregational Church and continued these services every third week.  One year later, on January 2, 1916, a congregation organized an actual church and called it the First English Lutheran Church.  Then in 1920 First English joined with German Churches of Arco and Hendricks to call Pastor A.H. Birner.  Under Pastor Birner the services were held in a basement church.  This basement church soon became too small, so a new church was built and was dedicated on October 25, 1930.  This church also became too small for the growing congregation and it was traded to the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  During the building of the current First English Lutheran Church, the congregation used the nearby Danebod Lutheran Church for services.  Then on May 15, 1960 the present standing church was dedicated.

St. Dionysius Catholic Church

The first settlers in Marshfield Township attended mass in the neighboring town of Marshall, Minnesota.  Then in the spring of 1880 the first mass in the Marshfield Township was given in the home of Matthias Dressen by Father M.J. Hanley.  From then on mass was given to citizens in the Tyler area in a community hall known as Dean Hall. 

The businessmen of Tyler decided to sign a petition with a pledge of financial help to build the first Catholic Church in Tyler.  The pledge was a success and the first Catholic Church of Tyler was dedicated on October 27, 1896.  The final mass in this first church, which was having structure problems, was said on September 21, 1966.  During the building of the current church, the St. Dionysius congregation used the First English Lutheran Church for their services.  The current church was dedicated on July 13, 1967.

Danebod Lutheran Church

Danish settlers from Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota came together in Clinton, Iowa in 1884 to discuss on a building spot for a Danish church.  They traveled around to find a satisfactory place to build this church and settled on Lincoln County, Minnesota in the area of Tyler.  They set up a contract with the railroad company to set aside 35,000 acres of land in the area to be sold only to Danish settlers for a period of three years at the cost of $5 to $8 per acre.

In July of 1886 the Danebod Lutheran congregation formed.  The first pastor, Pastor H.J. Pedersen, was originally from Denmark.  Pastor Pedersen encouraged a folk school to be built since he himself had been taught at one in Denmark.  By 1888 a wooden folk school had been built.  However, this building burned to the ground in 1917; it was quickly rebuilt, this time out of brick.  The Folk School was originally used to teach Danish immigrants the English language.  Today, the Folk School is used for Sunday School, Family Camps, Danebod Fall Meeting, Creative Discovery Workshop, and family gatherings. 

The early Danebod Lutheran congregation needed a place to worship, so the Stone Hall was built.  The Stone Hall was built from rocks out of Tyler’s Swan Lake (This lake has since been drained and is used for farming land).  The Stone Hall was initially used for Sunday services, meetings, funerals, weddings, and gymnastics.  Presently, the Stone Hall is used as a Danish museum.

The Stone Hall quickly became too small for the increasing congregation.  The current church was then built and dedicated in June of 1895.  This church was built in the shape of a cross and was a copy of a church in Vallekilde, Denmark.  The total cost to build the Danebod Lutheran Church was $5,958.

In 1948 something most people thought to be impossible was done, the whole church was picked up and turned a quarter turn south and set back down so a larger narthex could be added on.



Tyler celebrates its Danish heritage on Aebleskiver Days; the aebleskiver is traditionally a round pancake with a jelly filling.  This annual holiday was first held on September 21, 1963.  At this festivity there is a parade, concerts, a talent show, traditional Danish folk dancing, and of course aebleskivers are served.


    Dansk Fri Luft Art Fest    Aebleskiver being served              Aebleskiver pan Danish Folk Dancing by 3-Day Campers   


Tyler has many forms of recreation and clubs that its citizens may be a part of.  These include: Golf Club, Public Library, Lincoln County Snowmobile Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Lions Club, American Legion, Kiwanis Club, Public Swimming Pool and Park, Senior Citizen’s Center, Hope 4-H Club, and Marshfield 4-H Club.




The two pictures below show the east side of Main Street; as it used to be and as it is today.

These two pictures show the west side of Main Street; as it used to be and as it is today.



                An aerial view of Tyler                                                                     Danish flag


                                  Tyler is in southwest Minnesota Tyler (highlighted) is in Lincoln County



Aerial View, Old Depot, C.B. Tyler, Old Water Tower, Rasmus Petersen Meat Market, Jacobsen Jewelry, Soren Lyngby Blacksmith Shop, East Side of Main Street, Marshfield School, Old School Bus, School Students 1907, Dr. A.L. Vadheim. Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, Tyler, MN. Tyler – 100 Years, A Century of Memories. Tyler, MN: n.p., 1987.

Main Street After Tornado, Tyler Public School, RTR High School, Street Scene, East Main Street, West Main Street. Tyler Tribute, Tyler, MN. Tyler, Minnesota. 7 Feb. 2004 <http://www.tylermn.com>.

Hansen, Elsie, Ove Johansen, and Ardis Petersen, eds. A Century At Danebod. Askov, MN: American Publishing Company, Inc., 1985.

Participants in the Excursion. 1885. Danebod Stone Hall, Tyler, MN. A Century At Danebod. Askov, MN: American Publishing Company, Inc., 1985. 11.

Tyler, Minnesota - Businesses. Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. 15 Feb. 2004

Tyler, Minnesota - Recreation. Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. 15 Feb. 2004

Tyler, Minnesota - Worship. Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. 15 Feb. 2004

Tyler – 100 Years, A Century of Memories. Tyler, MN: n.p., 1987.