History Topics Available

Special History Reports

These History Topics Are Elsewhere on Wgtn.net But Accessable from here

About Worthington

The National Colony Promotional material that brought settlers to Worthington

Lake Okabena History

Below is a link into the Premier history book on Worthington & Nobles County by A.P. Rose in 1908:
This is a keyword searchable Google book. Use the scroll bar and the controls at upper right.

Historic photos of Worthington

These historic images, from historic photos and postcards, are organized in Albums, each on a topic, with each Album containing a number of photos.

I am making them available to on Internet you rather than have them hidden on my PC hard disk. I have tried to arrange the photos in each Album in date sequence, where I could. Also, I have added some narrative descriptive text making note of some feature of that photo that you might otherwise miss, or facts associated with the subject that might be of interest to you.

These photos have been made available to me by a wide range of sources.

I would appreciate your help in dating these photos and learning of details of historic interest that they show.

Presently, I am using the Internet facility of webshots.com to store, organize and display these photos.

Some of the photos are very small and some of them are very large


Miscellaneous Worthington
Click on a photo or link to see more photos in that area
1894 View looking SW  from Court House

Image hosted by Webshots.com
1903 Winter view of Lake from Court House

Image hosted by Webshots.com

The Historical Guide on wgtn.net ( within the Community Information section ) has been impacted by the sale of the commercial Internet company that was being used to store and organize some of the historical photos with their interesting narratives.

Links to the following categories of historical photo presentations were deleted by the new firm;
- Chautauqua Movement
- Churches
- Railroads & Trains
- Motels & Tourist Cabins
- Hospitals & Clinics
- Schools
- Nobles County Court House
- Ninth Street & Second Avenue
- Ninth Street & Third Avenue
- Ninth Street & Fourth Ave
- Tenth Street & Second Ave
- Tenth Street & Third Ave
- Tenth Street & Fourth Ave
- Tenth Street & Fifth Ave
- 10th St 1903
- Eleventh Street & First Ave
- Eleventh Street & Third Ave
- Looking NW early 1940's
- 1903 View towards Lake
- 1894 view
- Lake Okabena Gentle Slope

Also lost were the presentations of the demolition of Central Elementary and the Campbells Soup buildings.

The change in ownership, of that commercial firm, resulted in the narratives and all organization of historical photos in categories ( example: downtown photos were organized with each street being a separate presentation) being deleted and the Internet address (URL, or as commonly named “link”) was redirected to an advertisement for the visitor to join the new firm.

If you clicked on any of those link-outs expecting to see historical photos, before I found the problem, and were instead presented an advertisement, you may have thought that wgtn.net had been hacked. Wgtn.net is ok. The damage is limited to the loss of an outside commercial service that was paid to provide the facility that was used to organize and present historical photos with narratives.

Also, be aware that if you have bookmarked any of those historical presentations, those links are no longer valid.

I will be looking for a new facility to organize these categories of historic photos with narratives to replace this loss.

Using an outside commercial service to organize photos by category, with narratives and with “permanent” URL addresses that can be used as links from within wgtn.net was a much faster way to put together a presentation like this than my hand coding in HTML.

Loss of this service, just before Christmas, is like someone placed a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking.

Rebuilding these categories of historical photos with narratives will take a great deal of time. My best guess is, if a new facility can be found, that these will be back on wgtn.net some time next year.

The following presentations of special historical projects, did not use that commercial service, but were done in HTML and are on the wgtn.net Internet server, so they still remain available;
- 1882 Lake Okabena Geology Report
- 1901 Worthington Souvenir Pamphlet
- Early Bathhouses & Waterslides on Lake Okabena
- 1935 Worthington City Booklet

Also, some of the Lake Okabena historical photos remain available due to the fact that they were done in HTML and not part of the outside commercial service.

Miscellaneous Historical

Known Dates for Selected Early Community Changes


First Passenger train to Worthington  P161


First Public School - opened with rented space  P187 & 188


First Nobles County Court House - wooden building  P98


First Nobles County Fair  P195


Burlington RR into Worthington completed ( Rock Island)  P108


Castle School building built  P109


Worthington water works system completed  P191


Burlington RR to Wilmont built  P119


Worthington Bath House Association formed  P197


Worthington Hospital - Manson building established  P197

Source: AP Rose "Illustrated History of Nobles County"

Important Local
Photo/Facility Dates

These local facilities may appear on a photo or postcard you have. Knowing when these existed ( dates) will help you determine the era of the photo



Facility of Feature



Burlington (Rock Island) Track built along lake shore



Central part of Jr-Sr High School on 7th Ave between 13th & 14th Street



Thompson Hotel at 10th St & 3rd Ave



Tuberculosus Sanitarium ( later became Cripple Children's School & other uses)



Federal Post Office at 11th St & 3rd Ave



Central Elementary core buildings built ( 1948 north wing & Gym added)



Bandshell at Chautauqua park



Dam at West Okabena overflow



Cement Elevator at Diagonal & 10th St ( next to a wooden one built earlier)



Power plant water exchange on shore of Lake Okabena



Road around lake moved from lake shore north to be an extension of 10th St crossing Whiskey Ditch



West Elementary built



Clary Street bridge across Whiskey Ditch to Park Avenue



The National 5¢, 10¢ & $1 Store replaced Gambles store in Hotel Thompson



Water Tower - Centennial Park



Habicht Dept Store consumed by fire

Postcard Photo Issues


E.F. Buchan opened his studio on Third Avenue opposite the courthouse in 1880 (two years before the Burlington railroad arrived). He continued in business 54 years, until 1934, when Harry Rickers bought the studio.

Harry Blume - he was doing work in the 19-teens - he arrived on the scene 25 or 30 years after Buchan opened his studio.  Blume still had his studio in a two-story, pioneer building on 10th Street, next to the Firestone property until about 1950. The building burned - oh, 1970?

Buchan and Blume both did some great things. Buchan took pictures here and there about town, although not as many as Blume. Buchan seems to have been mostly concerned with portraits and family photos. Harry Blume was often out and about through the town and he did many postcards.
(This insight contributed by Ray Crippen)


There are USPS cancellation dates on some of these postcards. But, these are not the dates of the photos. The photos would have been taken earlier, usually at least a year before.

Postcards were sold to tourists on racks in restaurants, variety stores and other places. These racks were kept filled on a routine time schedule by a firm who specialized in this. For a while we had local photographers doing this. Then it became regionalized. 

Postcards were not redone each year. Postcards were kept on sale on these racks as long as they kept selling. So, a good selling image on a postcard may keep that postcard on the racks, selling and in use a while after the object on the postcard no longer is there, or has changed in the way it looks. Furthermore, people may have purchased a postcard, but put it in a drawer and sent it by USPS many years later. Therefore, while we may have an approximation of a time period from the USPS cancellation date, it is not a definitive source of when that specific photo was taken.

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