New London, Minnesota is the oldest town in Kandiyohi County. It had its pioneer beginnings in 1850, when Louis Larson discovered a waterfall while out on a trapping expedition and visualized a mill. In 1861, he took homestead on a large piece of land, which includes most of present day New London. Larson later named the place for his old home town – New London, Wisconsin.
According to the Centennial History of Kandiyohi County, “the discovery of the falls marked the real opening of this area for settlement. Water power, fuel and transportation were the prime needs for the growth of the early settlements. Louis Larson and a man named Stoner began the construction of a sawmill and the dam in 1862, with C.J. Sperry in charge of construction. A. H. Sperry, John Cavanough and others in the construction crew laid off work August 17, 1862, to go to their homes to harvest their crops. Just days later the Sioux drove all the white men from the land lying between the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, closing the entire area to any white settlement until 1864.”
At the end of the Indian wars, construction on the mill resumed and by 1865, a grist and sawmill were in operation. Fur-trading helped create a business community and W.W. Pinney opened a general store in 1866, followed by Samuel Adams and A.S. Lybe in 1867. Within a few years, the County seat was established at New London with offices on the upper floor over Pinney’s new store.
New London continued to grow in size and population and became an official city in 1889.