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The community of Essig grew along railroad siding tracks of the Winona & St. Peter Railroad built in 1885 between New Ulm and Sleepy Eye. John Essig opened the first business, a dry goods store that year. The town was platted in 1885 with no name and renamed Essig in 1890 after the post office operated by John Essig. By the following year, the town had two saloons, two grain elevators, a lumber business, a hardware store, and a blacksmith shop. A depot was constructed in 1887, and a creamery in 1902. The community continued to develop and continues to survive in the 21st century; however, it never incorporated as a village or city.