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Attempted Bank Raid

1876 was a year of great change in America’s history. America celebrated its 100 birthday with the Centennial exposition in Philadelphia. Custer was also killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn and Rutherford B. Hayes beat out Samuel Tilden for the Presidency. Tilden won the popular vote but Hayes won the Electoral vote and became the 19th President of the United States.

Northfield in 1876 was a growing Southern Minnesota community. By this time, the town had two colleges and saw the completion of a railroad through town. The town also had many prominent business leaders and a strong bank. It was the bank that would draw the attention of America’s most notorious bank and train robbers, the James-Younger Gang.

In late August, 1876, the James-Younger Gang, consisting of Jesse and Frank James, Bob, Jim and Cole Younger, Clell Miller, and Charlie Pitts, and Bill Stiles, head for Minnesota. After arriving in Minnesota, the gang divided into scouting parties of two, three and four men. Looking for possible sites to execute their plans, they considered banks in Minneapolis, Red Wing, St. Peter, and St. Paul, as well as Madelia, Mankato, Lake Crystal, St. James, Garden City, and Northfield.

On September 4th the gang rode into Mankato to rob the 1st National Bank of Mankato (the gang’s first choice). However, the gang decided to abort the robbery and head for their second choice, Northfield. Little did the gang know that this decision would end all of their careers of outlaws and result in three of the gang members being killed and two townspeople also being killed.

Rotating Exhibits

We host many rotating exhibits a year focusing on Northfield history.  We will populate this section real soon!