City of Ormsby Minnesota

Town History

The City of Ormsby was plotted out by the New Ulm Townsite Company on October 14th, 1899 in an out stubble field, next to where the Milwaukee and St. Louis Railroad was to be laid.  An auction was held 10 days later on October 24th to dispose of the lots.  The auction was held at 10:00 am rain or shine and terms of the sale included 50% cash balance, 3 or 4 months 6% interest.  The agent for the lot company painted a bright and prosperous picture for the town that would surely reach a population of 2,000 within 2 years.

How did this promising town come up with the name of "Ormsby" for itself ?  The name came from a man by the name of Edwin Samuel (E.S.) Ormsby.  Mr Ormsby was quite a business man from Emmetsburg Iowa, where he founded Burnham, Ormsby and Company, which was the first bank in Emmetsburg and also was instrumental in organizing the Methodist Episcopal Church there.  He loved to seek out new business ventures and saw potential in the railroad.  When the railroad took too long to reach Emmetsburg, Mr Ormsby founded his own railroad, the Des Moines.  He served as president until it was discontinued.  But his railroad dream didn't die, he soon heard of a plan to link Fort Dodge in Iowa and Fort Ridgely in Minnesota by rail running through Humbolte, Palo Alto, and Emmet counties in Iowa and Martin county in Minnesota.  Mr Ormsby along with his bank backed this venture and made sure this happend.  The railroad crossed Martin and Watonwan County in 1899 and Brought E.S. Ormsby along with it.

It's doubtful that Mr Ormsby ever owned a residence in Ormsby but he did have a business connection to the town.  On July 2nd, 1902, he organized and started the Farmers State Bank and served as president until he sold his interest in the Bank to A.B. Brown of Esterville Iowa on January 18, 1907.  It was because of E.S. Ormsby's dedication to this small thriving town that it was given his name.

The Ormsby Fire Department is as old as Ormsby is.  Not long after the village was founded the residents banded together for fire protection.  The first equipment was hand pumpers, which were used in most small towns back then.  In the earlier days the only source of water for fighting fires was a hand pump on a well at the fire hall and five wooden cisterns located at various spots around the village.  The first records that are available are from 1927.  There were two companies in those days each with a hand drawn pumper.  In each company
four men were to draw the machine, four men to carry water, one man to take care of acid, one man to take care of soda, two men to man the ladders, and one man each for the axe and for the bar.

In 1938, the village put in it's main well, which was 312 feet deep and had an 8 inch tube.  The new pump had a capacity of 60 gallons per minute pumping into a 13,000 gallon supply tank house in the fire hall.  In 1950, the Ormsby Fire Department became a community organization with the purchase of a Model A Ford fire truck, fire calls in the country could now be answered. In 1955, the village installed the auxiliary well and launched a fundraiser drive for a new truck.  They bought the new truck and enlarged the fire hall to house both trucks. 

In October of 1967, a Dodge 500 Chassis Truck was ordered.  In September 1977, the fire department bought a drop tank and one year later they bought a 1974 Chevrolet 30 Series High Cube Van.  The fire department further expanded in 1986 by purchasing a 1976 tanker and in January 1993, a 1991 Kodiak Truck was bought to be used by the EMS Department.

The fire department started their first annual hog roast in August of 1985 and the first annual chicken fry in April 1986.  These events were set up to upgrade, maintain, and purchase equipment needed by the fire department.

City of Ormsby
PO Box 507
Ormsby, MN 56162