Although agriculture was the primary industry in the Clinton area, there were some small industries in Clinton as early as the 1870's. Examples include a cigar factory and a carriage company. A weekly newspaper, the Clinton Independent, started during this period, and there has been at least one weekly newspaper published in the community ever since.
Additions to the community in the 1880's were the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (originally called the German Lutheran Church), the Citizens State Bank and a four-year high school. In 1882 Clinton became incorporated as a village, and a constable was hired. At that time there were about 800 people living in the village.
Additional commercial and governmental growth occurred in the 1890's. A major fire destroyed much of the vilage's business section in 1896, so that area was rebuilt. In 1895 the limestone watertower was constructed on the village's north side, one of only two such towers in the county. By the next year the village's water system was in place, and a volunteer fire department was created around 1897.