Humboldt celebrates Murphy project


Local News

October 9, 2019 - 11:17 AM

Humboldt City Administrator Cole Herder speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a new Murphy Tractor and Equipment service center. Behind Herder are Walter Wulf Jr. of Monarch Cement and Bill Buckles, Murphy Tractor president.

HUMBOLDT ? Some economic development projects can take a while.

The way Cole Herder figures it, Tuesday?s groundbreaking ceremony for a Murphy Tractor & Company service center east of Humboldt was roughly 48 years in the making.

Herder was one of several dignitaries to speak at the groundbreaking, which featured executives from Murphy, Monarch Cement Co. (which owns and will lease the land to Murphy), Dondlinger Construction, as well as Humboldt and Allen County officials.

Herder recounted the steps leading to Tuesday, beginning when a group of local investors formed Humboldt Growth, Inc., in the early 1970s as an economic development agent. 

Since then, the organization, now known as HUGRO, built and filled an industrial park on the north edge of Humboldt, leading them to search elsewhere if additional expansion were needed.

About four years ago, HUGRO decided to head east, purchasing about 30 acres of land along Hawaii Road.

?I remember saying then, I didn?t know if it would be two months, or two years or 20 years before somebody would be interested in expanding to Humboldt,? Herder recalled.

Fast forward about two years, in late 2017, when Herder was approached by Kent Webber, president of Monarch.

Webber noted Monarch?s long history with Murphy Tractor, one of North America?s largest construction equipment dealers, with 29 facilities stretching from Kansas to Ohio, and how there was a need for a facility much closer to Humboldt.

Herder?s response?

?Let?s make this happen.?



Dignitaries from Humboldt, Allen County, Murphy Tractor and Equipment Company and Dondlinger Construction take scoops of dirt as part of a groundbreaking ceremony east of Humboldt Tuesday. The ceremony marks the start of construction of a new Murphy Tractor service facility.


A parcel of land along Hawaii Road made perfect sense, Herder agreed, with one caveat. Utilities would need to be extended about half a mile from Humboldt?s city limits to allow for development.

That, in turn, led to an unsuccessful application for federal assistance to help with what was pegged at a $600,000 utility extension project.

Undeterred, Herder reached out to Monarch and B&W to work in league with the city to provide labor and in-kind contributions to pare the costs.

County commissioners then greenlighted $350,000 in funding to turn the dream into reaility.

Crews contended with an extraordinarily wet year, which slowed the process, before reaching the site just east of Mount Hope Cemeter earlier this summer, leading to Tuesday?s ceremony.

Weather permitting, construction should be finished for the 15,000 square-foot facility by next summer. Early esitmates are anywhere from six to 10 employees will work at Murphy Tractor.