• Whitefield Townsite

  • Location:

    60th Avenue S
    Willmar, MN 56201

In the fall of 1856, a party of land speculators, organized by Edwin Whitefield, projected a town site on the west shore of Lake Wakanda. Whitefield, David Charlton and C. L. Anderson selected the location of the Whitefield town site in Sections 1 and 11 of the present Whitefield Township. The plat of this town site was never recorded.

Edwin Whitefield was a real estate agent and artist who did much to impress the merits of the Minnesota frontier upon prospective settlers in the East. He was born in England and came to New England at a young age. Whitefield worked his away across the country painting towns and selling prints to his subscribers. He arrived in Minnesota in 1855. In 1856, Whitefield moved west to Kandiyohi County. He was joined in this venture by John Swainson and J.H. Stevens and S.D. Karns. This group was called the Whitefield Exploring Company. These gentlemen platted the Kandiyohi Town site and began the promotion for the establishment of future capital site there. This party was the first to come upon Lake Lillian, named after Whitefield’s wife. He used the paintings as a marketing tool to get people to buy the land his company had claimed.

Whitefield and his Exploration Company and, later, his Minnesota Land Agency were victims of the panic of 1857. He realized little, if anything from his promotions. He moved back east and died in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1892.

Where: This marker is located south of Willmar on US 71, then .1 miles east on 60th Ave SE.