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Grinnell was established as a railroad station in 1868. It was first inhabited by railroad workers and buffalo hunters. The first settler in Gove County, George Van Dehsen, a buffalo hunter, stayed at Grinnell as a pumper for the railroad. In 1873, Grinnell had a population of 40 people. Seven years later, the population had grown to 75 people. The Grinnell town site was platted in 1879 on the north side of the railroad tracks. In 1885, a second town site was laid out on the south side of the tracks. This caused a feud within the community. The north faction put up a fence and planted a 60 foot strip to cane to separate the factions. The fight lasted until the end of the 1880's.
The first Post Office in Gove County was established in Grinnell in 1870. The Grinnell School District was organized in 1880. The first Sunday School /Church called Cowboy Sunday school was organized in 1888. It was followed by the South Grinnell Church or Grinnell Church which was a Methodist Church. A Christian Church was built in 1900. Immaculate Conception parish served Catholics in the Grinnell area from 1896 until a church was erected in 1907.
Grinnell had three newspapers. The "Grinnell Record Leader" was started in 1905 and continued until 1972.
Grinnell was incorporated in 1917. It had a number of businesses which included 4 grain elevators, 3 grocery stores, a hardware store, a butcher shop, an ice house, 2 hotels, a cafe, a lumber yard, a dry goods store, a bank, a newspaper and 2 doctors, each with his own drug store. Several more businesses were added after World War II.
Early settlers included a small group of Norwegians.
Gove County Historical MuseumThey used the following sources in writing this information.
"History and Heritage of Gove County". Gove County Historical Museum.
Harrington, W. P. "History of Gove County, Kansas".
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