The first settlers to Vernon Center arrived in covered wagons, eagerly drawn to the area’s abundance of wild game and timber. A majority of these settlers arose from Mt.Vernon, Ohio, where a small group was assembled in search of land. Once they arrived, the area was given a name, a mill, a hotel, post office, and school. The hotel built had to be suddenly transformed into a barracks and stockade in 1862 in preparation of the Dakota Conflict. Captain Sullivan’s Company H of the 10th Minnesota Regiment was stationed there. After the conflict dissipated, the hotel returned to its former function.
When the “Omaha” railway came through in 1879, it passed a half mile east of town. So, a new townsite was laid out, to be called Vernon Center. For several years a lively rivalry between the two Vernons existed. Gradually, all businesses, churches and the school were moved up the hill. A post office opened in 1859 and the first medical doctor, Oliver H. McMichael, came in 1871, making his rounds first on foot and later horseback. The first school was built in 1859 but burned in 1883. A new, two-room schoolhouse was soon built. In 1902, a brick building of four rooms, at a cost of about $18,000 was erected.
In 1897 the Vernon News was created. It ran successfully until 1965 when it consolidated with Country Times. Vernon Center contains four churches, many of which were built before the 1900s. These structures serve as a living reminder of Vernon Centers rich history. In 1972, this was the site of the 19th World Plowing contest, as part of Farmfest U.S.A. A cairn of peace commemorated the event. Great promise for the village emerged in the 1970s and 1980s: KRP Distributing Company provided 28 flavors of soft drinks, Bill and Mariana Macemon opened the Collection Box, and the Sportsmen’s Club sponsored its annual “Turtle Feed.”