Scenic City View

Origination of the City

The City of Lake Benton took its name from the lake, a lake which had been named by John C. Fremont in honor of his fiancee, Jessie Benton, the daughter of Thomas H. Benton, U.S. Senator from Missouri. Plans for the platting and building of the future village were made at a meeting on the lakeshore in the summer of 1879. The official authorization of the municipality by the Minnesota State Legislature took place on October 24, 1881.

The railroad — always a key factor in the life of early pioneer communities — reached Lake Benton in November, 1879. The first business lot sold was on the main street corner where the Coast-to-Coast/NAPA store is now located. Within a year, there were several new businesses and Lake Benton was an active, bustling village.

In 1881, Lake Benton became the second county seat for Lincoln County, having been moved from Marshfield after that village disbanded. Thus began a lengthy "battle" over which community would be the seat of county government. In 1901 a vote of county citizens decided to move the county seat to Ivanhoe, 14 miles north. In 1903 a Minnesota Supreme Court judge determined that the vote had been held illegally and the county seat returned to Lake Benton. Then, another vote was held in 1904 with the decision again being made to locate the county seat in Ivanhoe, where it remains today.

Throughout its history, Lake Benton has always had the pride and determination needed to be successful in serving the needs of the community. With this rich heritage and tradition for excellence, the present business people and residents are dedicated to its continuance, with the hope that the residents of the future will pursue and expand the vision of our forefathers.

Lake Benton’s population today is 703 and the city encompasses 2,300 acres, making Lake Benton geographically the largest of the five communities in Lincoln County.

The city — nestled in a scenic valley on the shores of beautiful Lake Benton — and its vicinity includes some of the highest land in Minnesota. It is significantly different from other cities in the county due to the Bemis moraine — a glacial ridge — which forms the drainage divide between the Missouri and Mississippi River basins.