Willmar, Minnesota: Wikis


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Willmar, Minnesota
—  City  —
Location of Willmar, Minnesota
Coordinates: 45°7′11″N 95°2′53″W / 45.11972°N 95.04806°W / 45.11972; -95.04806
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Kandiyohi
 - Total 13.6 sq mi (35.2 km2)
 - Land 11.8 sq mi (30.7 km2)
 - Water 1.8 sq mi (4.6 km2)
Elevation 1,142 ft (348 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 18,351
 - Density 1,549.9/sq mi (598.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 56201
Area code(s) 320
FIPS code 27-70420[1]
GNIS feature ID 0654177[2]
Website www.ci.willmar.mn.us

Willmar is a city in and the county seat of Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, United States.[3] The population was 18,351 at the 2000 census.

Willmar has been assigned ZIP code 56201 by the United States Postal Service.

U.S. Routes 12 and 71; and Minnesota State Highways 23 and 40 are four of the main routes in the city.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.6 square miles (35.2 km²), of which, 11.8 square miles (30.7 km²) of it is land and 1.8 square miles (4.6 km²) of it is water. The total area is 12.94% water.

The 45º latitude line passes just south of Willmar, placing it just halfway between the equator and the North Pole.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 18,351 people, 7,302 households, and 4,461 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,549.9 people per square mile (598.4/km²). There were 7,789 housing units at an average density of 657.8/sq mi (254.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.12% White, 0.90% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 8.52% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.86% of the population.

There were 7,302 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,455, and the median income for a family was $45,415. Males had a median income of $31,575 versus $22,158 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,515. About 8.4% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under the age of 18 and 8.0% of those 65 and older.


Agricultural expansion and the establishment of Willmar as a division point on the Great Northern Railway determined the growth of the community. The first settlers arrived during the 1850s attracted to the fertile land and an abundance of timber and game. The Dakota War of 1862 left the township abandoned for several years. The advent of the railroad in Kandiyohi County in 1869 brought new settlers. Many were of Swedish and Norwegian origins; hence the predominance today of residents of Scandinavian heritage. In 1870, Leon (Chadwick) Willmar, a Belgian acting as a European bondholder of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company, purchased the title to Section 1 of Willmar Township. Willmar was established as the county seat in 1871 and was incorporated as a village in 1874 and as a city in 1901.

Willmar was the site of The Great Willmar, Minnesota Raid, a famous bank robbery[4] by the Machine Gun Kelly gang on July 15, 1930. They robbed the Bank of Willmar (now Bremer Bank) of about $70,000, and wounded 3 people during the robbery.

From 1977 to 1979, Willmar was the site of the Willmar 8, a famous strike of female workers confronting sexual discrimination at a local bank. The story of the strike was featured in mainstream media and made into a documentary.[5]

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Willmar native and composer, Bradley Joseph, often references the past when he names his songs and his music is frequently reminiscent of his rural Minnesota roots. "Wind Farmer" was inspired by childhood visits to a relative's farm near Olivia, and his company, Robbins Island Music, is named after a city park in Willmar, says Anne Polta of the West Central Tribune.[6]

Willmar is home to the annual Sonshine Festival, a Christian music festival.

Willmar was the first U.S. city that used black & white police squad cars. The officers thoughts were if the cab of the car was painted white it would reduce the heat generated from sunlight. Today, the Police Chief will not use black & whites.


Willmar is home to Ridgewater College, a community and technical college with campuses in both Willmar and Hutchinson, MN. The college enrolls over 5,000 students annually and provides a broad range of programs, in addition to providing access to some four-year programs through relationships with universities in the MnSCU system.


Since 1990, the rural city has experienced a large influx of immigrants from Latin America and Northeast Africa, mostly due to the demand for labor at the Jennie-O poultry plant. In 2005, the city was recognized as an "All America City" by the National Civic League, in part for its success as growing numbers of immigrants became part of the community.

Also in 2005, the city received attention from national media after several Somali high school students gave Willmar High School its first Cross-Country State championship in twenty years. The team won the state tournament and attended the Nike Nationals consecutively in 2005 and 2006. Following the success of the team, the city gained attention from Sports Illustrated. Subsequently, NBC Nightly News conducted a story documenting the changing face of the rural city and its relative acceptance of the new makeup of its citizens.

Notable natives and residents



West Central Tribune

La Gran America (Bilingual newspaper) Founded in September 2008.


Seasons of Minnesota


Television Stations

Refer to UHF-TV Inc.

Pay Television Services

Charter Communications
En-Tel Communications
Dish Network

Radio Stations

Call Sign Frequency City Format
KNSR 88.9 FM St. Cloud, MN News
KBPG 89.5 FM Montevideo, MN Religious
KSJR 90.1 FM St. Cloud, MN Classical
KKLW 90.9 FM Willmar, MN Christian Contemporary
KBHZ 91.9 FM Willmar, MN Religious
KSCR-FM 93.5 FM Benson, MN Adult Contemporary
KKRC 93.9 FM Montevideo, MN Oldies
KKLN 94.1 FM Willmar, MN Rock
KMXK 94.9 FM St. Cloud, MN Hot AC
KDJS-FM 95.3 FM Willmar, MN Country
KTTB 96.3 FM Minneapolis, MN Rhythmic
KZRV 96.7 FM St. Cloud, MN Active Rock
KGLH-LP 96.9 FM Spicer, MN Religious
KRVY 97.3 FM Willmar, MN Adult Contemporary
KLGR-FM 97.7 FM Redwood Falls, MN Hot AC
WWJO 98.1 FM St. Cloud, MN Country
KZPK 98.9 FM St. Cloud, MN Country
KKCK 99.7 FM Marshall, MN Top 40/CHR
KOLV 100.1 FM Olivia, MN Country
KIKV 100.7 FM Alexandria, MN Country
WHMH 101.7 FM St. Cloud, MN Active Rock
KQIC 102.5 FM Willmar, MN Hot AC
KCLD 104.7 FM St. Cloud, MN Top 40/CHR
KARL 105.1 FM Marshall, MN Country
KMGM 105.5 FM Montevideo, MN Adult Contemporary
KLFN 106.5 FM Willmar, MN Classic Hits
KARP-FM 106.9 FM Hutchinson, MN Country
KMGK 107.1 FM Glenwood, MN Unknown
KUOM 770 AM Minneapolis, MN College
KDUZ 1260 AM Hutchinson, MN Country
KBMO 1290 AM Benson, MN Adult Contemporary
KWLM 1340 AM Willmar, MN News/Talk
KLFD 1410 AM Litchfield, MN Variety
KDMA 1460 AM Montevideo, MN Country
KLGR 1490 AM Redwood Falls, MN Country
KDJS 1590 AM Willmar, MN Oldies

Sister cities

Willmar has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also


External links

Coordinates: 45°07′19″N 95°02′36″W / 45.12194°N 95.04333°W / 45.12194; -95.04333



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