City of Ashby, Minnesota

"You'll Like Ashby"
Photo montage: a girl looking a flowers, an iron park bench amid fallen autumn leaves, a family holding hands and walking in a park, and a dim sunset




The first wave of hardy and adventurous settlers arrived in 1867, '68, and '69.  They brought their ox or horse-driven wagons and their most precious and practical belongings to what in now Pelican Lake Township in Grant County and St. Olaf Township in Otter Tail County.  They found the rich soil was blessed with an abundance of water, above and below the surface.  The groves of timbers provided the materials for building furniture, fences and fuel.  For the hunter and fisherman after food for sport, the land and water abounded with wildlife.

In 1879, there was a great deal of excitement in St. Olaf and Pelican Lake Townships.  The news had arrived that the Railway was soon to cross through the two townships.  Settlers in both Pelican Lake and St. Olaf Townships were hopeful that the state would locate the station on their properties.  The Pelican Lake site was the final choice.  The station that eventually would be named Ashby was to be built on a strip of land in the SE 1/4 of Section 3 purchased from Simon Larson.

The new station was named Grant, but not for long.  In a few months it bore the name Brighton.  Later on down the line was another station named New Brighton.  This seemed to cause some confusion so the station was finally named Ashby.  Some people say that Ashby was named after Gunder Ash, a pioneer farmer from Norway who lived just east of the village site.  A railroad official was also said to have named the village Ashby for a place in England.  Until some documentary evidence comes from the person or persons responsible for the final selection of the station's name, both of the above explanations will remain the subject of argument and speculation.



Ashby boasts three parks within their city limits. 

  • Thorson-Larson - located in the central part of the city.
  • Boe Park - located right along highway 78.
  • Memorial Park - located
    in the Southern section of town. 


The Central Lakes Trail is a beautiful biking, hiking, rollerblading and snowmobile trail that extends from Fergus Falls to Osakis and runs through the City of Ashby. It also connects to the Lake Wobegon Trail at Osakis.  Which makes this the longest paved trail system in Minnesota covering over 122 miles.

For information on other trails, go to:




Veterans' Memorial
Veterans' Memorial

Veterans' Memorial

Paul Ellingson's vision of a Veteran's Memorial became a reality in 1991.  The Ashby American Legion made a decision to sponsor a Veterans' Memorial.  It is located near the Pelican Lake Cemetery at the junction of Highway 78 and County Road 10.  Paul asked Larry Paulson for assistance in drawing the plans and with suggestions from Fergus Falls Monument Company, the design was created.  The Memorial grounds are 50 feet by 70 feet.  There are five black granite stones (eighty inches in height) honoring the five branches of the service.  The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines. Each stone has been etched with the branch motto and the date commissioned by Congress.  The center focus is the lighted American flag.  The cost of the Memorial was approximately $50,000.  The Ashby Legion Pederson-Tripp Post 357 committed $27,000.  The balance of the funds came from Veterans, individuals, business and community organizations.  On Memorial Day, flags of deceased

veterans may be flown at the Veterans' Memorial.  Dedicated in memory of and as a living memorial to all the men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, in the defense of their country and to preserve our freedom.

Coot Statue

The Coot statue can be found in Boe Park by the corner of Highway 78 and Melby Ave.  It represents the largest Ashby area sportsmen club, Coots Unlimited.  It all started a few years ago. Several area residents shot a large number of Coot and decided to have a get-together.  For two years it  was held at the old depot and approximately 30 people attended.  The third year the group decided to have a fund-raiser and called it the Coots Unlimited Banquet.  It was held for several years at the Ashby Motel and Resort.  At the same time, the Ashby Sportsmen Club, of which most of the involved individuals were members, changed their name to Coots Unlimited. 

Now the event is held outside the Ashby American Legion. 

They do not serve coot anymore but there is a wide variety of delicious foods to choose from.  Approximately 400 tickets are sold every year with the proceeds going to area wildlife projects.

The Coots Unlimited banquet is held the Saturday before fishing opener. 

Inspiration Peak

Minnesota's Nobel Prize-winning author, Sinclair Lewis, praised the "enchanted peace and seclusion of this place."  Inspiration Peak is the second-highest point in the state, offering a spectacular view of three counties and nine lakes.  A paved footpath leads to the top, with several rest stops along the way.  Located 15 minutes from Ashby.  North on Highway 78 and east on County Road 38 (follow signs).

Pelican Lake

One of the largest lakes in the area.  It boast 2 resorts, offering camping and cabins.  A great lake for fishing and recreation of any kind.  The public access is located on Highway 78, just south of Ashby.


Ashby City Hall 218-747-2876 e-mail us at: