On April 8, 1885 Chief Engineer Blunt of the Winona & St. Peter Railroad Co. announced that the railroad had decided to build a side track between New Ulm and Sleepy Eye for the purpose of receiving grain. The site was known only as "Siding Number 1". Soon after the siding was established, the Empire Mill Co. of New Ulm erected an elevator. The first shipment of grain was received on September 9, 1885.Erected by the Brown County Historical Society - August, 1985
The adjoining site of Siding Number 1, owned by the rail line, was platted for a townsite on August 21, 1885 and by September 30, John Essig of Milford Township had bought a lot and built a store. An officer of the Railroad Co. named the site "ESSIG" to honor the man who erected the first business building on the site.
On March 3, 1886, the Postal Department granted the petition for the establishment of a Post Office at Siding Number 1 under the name of "ESSIG" and John Essig was appointed the first Postmaster.