The first settlers to Worthington were attracted by the prospect of bountiful harvests from these fertile prairies and, of course, beautiful Lake Okabena. In the Dakota language, Okabena means "nesting place of herons." It was transportation, however, that was responsible for the founding of the city in 1871 with the coming of the Sioux City and St. Paul railroads.
Today Worthington has more than 20 parks, many of them located around 785-acre Lake Okabena. Chautauqua, Centennial and Olson Park Campground are three of the largest.
The city supports a complete, regional shopping center. Businesses are located in the City Center, Northland Mall, Oxford Street, North Humiston Avenue-Ryan's Road, and The Beltline. A community and technical college, regional hospital, specialty clinics and an up-to-date airport are located here. Amenities include eight motels, travel plazas, restaurants, theaters, museums, Pioneer Village, sports and recreation centers, two 18-hole golf courses and a performing-arts auditorium.