The city and county of Renville were named for Joseph Renville, a man of French and Dakota descent who had extensive knowledge of the wilderness and served as a guide for many expeditions. Renville founded Fort Renville and served as a captain during the War of 1812.
He was a courier, interpreter, and founder of the Columbia Fur Company. He earned respect that cut across the racial and ethnic boundaries of that era.
The city of Renville was platted in September 1878, when the railroad reached the area. It was incorporated in 1906. It has grown from a population of 250 in 1900 to more than 1,300 residents today.
It is situated near the Minnesota River Valley in a fertile agricultural area known for its high productivity. Renville’s economy, past and present, is based largely upon agribusiness. Renville serves as an agricultural service and distribution center for the surrounding area, and the city boasts the world s largest sugar beet processing plant.