Our village was founded by William Hugh McFarland. Working for the railroad as a construction superintendent, he accepted an offer to buy 160 acres of government land, build the first depot and become the station agent.
The Village was established in 1856 when William had County Surveyor William Hough lay out the plat for the Village of “Mac Farland” (later spelled McFarland). In the same year, William built a large home that would be used as a hotel for workers, visitors and settlers who were arriving by train. The McFarland House was home to several generations of the McFarland family and later used for several businesses. Kept in good repair, the McFarland House still stands today, the first floor freshly remodeled as the popular McFarland House Cafe. William McFarland’s rosewood melodeon and pictures of the family are exhibited in the Museum located just half a block from the McFarland House.
Though William was from England, the majority of McFarland and area residents were from Norway. They came from the Sogne fjord with family and friendship ties from the old country. They were soon joined by German farmers living north of the Village and also by Irish who often worked as laborers on the farms owned by the Norwegians and Germans.