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Our Story


Population:  497              

Median Age:  37.3

Median Income:  $31,029

Area:  1.02 sq. miles

Most Common Industry:  Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Transportation and warehousing



The city of Bertha and Bertha Township were named after the first white woman to settle in the area.  Bertha Ristau and her husband, John, arrived in November of 1876.  John ran a general store and was the first postmaster.  The town was incorporated in 1897.  Between the time of posting a notice and the vote, an opposing party formed arguing that it would raise taxes to such an extent that no one could pay for them.  The town was formed by only one vote.

Early 20th century records show Bertha was a thriving community.  For a time, it was known as “Dairyland USA” due to the heavy agriculture activity in the area.  Other businesses to support the area included a blacksmith shop, livery stable, dray line, telephone company, drug store, flour mill, lumber yard, hardware store, creamery, bank, hotel, general store and many more.



Many agricultural elements continue to surround Bertha.  It is home to one of the few round barns left in the state and is being preserved in its original condition.  Five Amish settlements are also in the area farming and running a sawmill operation.  Their produce and products are sold at the Country Co-op at the Marlowson Event Center.  Many other local farmers participate in the farmers market in nearby Hewitt. 

What remains from the “dairy years” survives in the old creamery, still standing in town.  Bertha continued to grow around that building.  Their City Park with playground provides ample room to play.  A new Wellness Center is planning to open in October and provide the adults with exercise equipment, physical therapy, and health-related classes. 

Morning coffee is served in the Community Center and serves as a gathering place to chat, exercise, and have community rummage sales.  What works best in Bertha, though, is the community involvement from both the people and city together.  Their annual Bertha Days celebration pulls in community involvement from nearly all businesses and community groups in town. 

The community is proud of its Bertha-Hewitt school which serves Kindergarten through 12th grades with many students bused in from nearby communities.  In 1952 Bertha District #103 and Hewitt District #51 consolidated to form the Bertha-Hewitt School District #786.  A new school was built in the 1970’s to accommodate all students.  The adult population is served by a variety of classes through their Community Education program. 

The Marlowson Event Center built by Amish carpenters is adjacent to the Co-op and provides a large community gathering place for entertainment with a full-sized kitchen and bar, and is expanding to include space for retail businesses. 

Residents identified these specific assets in Bertha: 


Natural Assets:

Bear Creek

Tree farms

Woods and forests (hunting land)

CRP – Habitat for natural lands. Payment for leaving land natural for land and wildlife


Cultural Assets:

Agricultural community

Amish settlements


Human Assets:

Elderly population

Health Care services from pharmacist, nurses, doctors, first responders

School  teachers





Social Assets:

Summer Food Program - School meals for needy throughout the summer

Several community dinners at holidays and Meals on Wheels

 Four Churches

Horseshoe Club

Ringneck Pheasant Club

Sportsman’s Club

School Sports Boosters

Girls and Boy Scouts

Senior Club

 AWANA – youth church group

Garden Club

School age child care in school through summer

American Legion and Auxiliary Legion

4-H Club


Political Assets:

Shared Law Enforcement with Eagle Bend

Responsive City Officials

Joint Powers within surrounding communities

Community Club (formerly Commercial Club)


Financial Assets:

Dollars for Scholars


Community fund raising in times of need

Two housing grants to refurbish buildings/houses


Built Assets:

School K-12

Community Center

City Parks

Housing Development lots available

Good roads/streets

Creamery building

New sewer/water system

Indoor horseshoe building

Lions Building – meeting rooms

Round Barn – one of few remaining in Mn

Marlowson Event Center




 Community Goals

 1. Provide a growing economy with more business options in town. Citizens in the community are dreaming of businesses that provide services like soft serve ice cream, cafes serving breakfast, and businesses that provide good wage jobs.  The old Creamery Building is still standing and could possibly be put to use for these or other business ideas. 

 2. Community revitalization.   It takes a whole community, citizens and city alike, working together. Participants at this workshop wish for a community to be proud of.  Building upon community involvement and investment in their town, they would start with an electronic sign announcing events.  They would bring back the welcome wagon and with a goal of city beautification in mind, encourage residents to clean up their property encouraged by incentives and contests. 

3. Fill the open housing lots.  The city currently owns four developed and four undeveloped lots zoned for housing.  These are available with incentives from city refunds.   


For more information on the City of Bertha and all it has to offer, visit http://www.cityofbertha.com/index.html


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