The Central Minnesota
Sustainable Development Plan



Our Story

Population: 663                            

Median Age: 50.1

Median Income: $30,926

Area: .99 square miles

Most Common Industry: Manufacturing


Clarissa was incorporated as a village in 1887; but the original town site was platted in 1877 by Lewis Bischoffsheim and wife of London, England. The village was named after Mr. Bischoffsheim's wife. Where the village of Clarissa is built was, in the early days, a poplar thicket and the early settlers had hard work in clearing land for buildings and streets. It was not until 1883 that the Great Northern railroad was built to Clarissa and all supplies were hauled from Sauk Centre.

George W. Pearman was one of the first settlers of Clarissa and Geo. G. Howe, who was agent for the town site company, was the second man to locate to this village. In 1879, Mr. Howe surveyed and layered out the original town site of Clarissa.   In the summer of 1880 he discovered beds of clay, which he believed would be valuable in making bricks. He opened a brick yard south of town. This was an important enterprise and Clarissa was known throughout the west central of the state for its quality bricks.   In 1982, he sold and delivered bricks to the school district in Long Prairie for building its school and the court house in Long Prairie.

- 1881 Frank Nutting ran the only general store and in the winter of 1881 A.H. O'Dell built and general merchandise business.
- 1883- The Mill was built by Frank Nutting Sr.
- 1885-A movement by parties interested in Clarissa, was inaugurated to make Clarissa the county seat.
- 1890-The Creamery was built at a cost of $5,000 and a co-operative company organized to run it.
- 1894- Creamery was sold to private parties for $3,000
- 1897- First brick building built by Frank Nutting.
- 1899 the school was built and consisted of four rooms.   The school had four teachers and eight classes where taught.
-1900- The Clarissa Independent was established on July 27, 1900 by P.S. Dorsey until July 22, 1902, when George A. Etzell became the new owner and publisher.
-1903 First State Bank was established.
-1906- Clarissa began to make municipal improvements. Cement sidewalks, lighting system, sewage system, volunteer fire department, and most of all the purest water supplies to be found in the county.
- There were 5 churches: Catholic, Congregational, Norwegian Lutheran, Swedish Lutheran, and Norwegian Synod.



Clarissa is a “city for all seasons”, with a variety of activities available such as hunting, fishing, camping, a swimming pond and more. While it is a mainly a farming community, the city is has several employers such as Central Todd County Care Center, Cherrington, and Pro Ag Services. Home to Battle Creek Outfitters, a local business with global customers, a café with home-style cooking, and a baseball team, Clarissa has a lot to offer.

Several annual events attract the young and old. There is an annual Polkafest held on Memorial Day weekend, which celebrated its 28th year in 2015. Summerfest in July includes a variety of family-friendly activities, ending with a fireworks display.

Clarissa is looking toward the future. This small city is a 2015 recipient of a community development funding grant through the Small Cities Development Program in excess of $1 million. These grant dollars can be used in the rehabilitation of a local commercial district, as well as updating housing and public facilities.

Residents identified these specific assets in Clarissa:

Natural Assets:

Eagle creek

Natural waterways (two that run on each side)

Bald eagles

Swimming pond








Cultural Assets:

Norwegian/Scandinavian heritage

5 churches


Farming community




Human Assets:

Aging population

American Legion vets and volunteers



Health care workers



Nurses-CNA and RNs



First Responders



Daycare providers

Postal employees





Social Assets:

Fireman’s Dance


Lion’s club

Sports boosters

Local baseball team

Santa Days

Church events

Clarissa Days –Summer fest

2 parks

Polka Fest


Girl Scouts

Post prom party

Business appreciation day

Garden club



Political Assets:

City council members-trying to always look forward/active city council


Faithful election judges



Financial Assets:

Unity Bank

Battle Lake Outdoors-donations

Dollars for Scholars

City’s RLF

Region Five Development Commission

Initiative Foundation

Community Club-collects donations



Built Assets:

Walking trail

Post Office

Assisted living facility

Available homes to purchase

Clarissa Ballroom

City parks

Water treatment facility

Good streets

Industrial park

Community garden

Clarissa Drug Store

Clarissa Family Dental


Liquor Store-municipal

Gas Station

Farmhouse Cafe



Community Goals:

  1. Wellness Center
  2. Industrial Growth
  3. Remodeling to public school

For more information on the City of Clarissa and all it has to offer, visit or