Goodhue County, Minnesota


 ~ Zumbrota Village ~

Zumbrota Village is rich in historic lore, being one of several settlements, projected by eastern people, and designed to be places to which should be transported with more roomy surroundings and wider opportunities, the thrift, education and customs of the thickly populated East. To this day, these sturdy eastern pioneers remain in the township and village, and form the backbone of the community. As elsewhere in the county, the sturdy Scandinavians have had their part in the general growth and development of the community, while in the village itself are many comparative newcomers who have assisted in the material and business progress of Zumbrota 's industrial and commercial activity.

The history of this community has been gathered from various sources, assisted by Edward F. Davis, editor of the Zumbrota "News," while the story of the modern village is largely the work of his gifted pen.

Zumbrota village is the trading center for one of the richest agricultural sections of what is acknowledged to be one of the richest agricultural states in the Union, commanding a large part of the trade of the farmers of Roscoe, Minneola, Pine Island and Zumbrota townships, as well as other adjoining country districts. It is admirably situated in the midst of a rolling prairie, on the north branch of the Zumbro River and on the Northwestern, Great Western and Milwaukee railroads, giving it exceptional shipping facilities, while well-kept wagon roads extending fan-like in all directions, make it easy of access to the owners of the rich farms within a considerable radius.

Zumbrota has been considered by many competent judges to be an ideal home town. Near enough to several cities to make city attractions and lectures possible, it combines all the best features of village and country life, with none of the temptations of the city and none of the squalor of city slums. Its schools give the children exceptional advantages, and the social features furnish recreation after busy days of business, professional or agricultural endeavor.

Modern Zumbrota has a beautiful high school building, affording excellent educational facilities which takes the pupil from primary grades through a college preparatory or normal course; a Carnegie library; a city and three private halls; a Congregational. Methodist. Synod, Norwegian Lutheran, United Norwegian Lutheran, German Lutheran. English Lutheran, Catholic and Episcopal churches, connected with which are the various auxiliaries; a Lutheran hospital; several literary societies; an annual Lyceum course; a large number of fraternities, and- three fraternity halls: a weekly newspaper; a beautiful park; a band, and a company of state militia. It also has a large clay manufacturing company: three elevators; a mill; a bank with a capital stock of $45,000; two hotels; two lumber yards; one creamery; a cement block plant; six general stores; two clothing and dry goods stores; two furniture stores: two photograph galleries; three barber shops; one horse and auto livery; one garage and machine shop; four blacksmith shops; two jewelry stores; one fur factory; one meat market; two drug stores; one laundry; one bakery; three restaurants; one pool room; one wagon shop: two hardware stores; one cigar factory; two harness shops; one shoe store: real estate and collection agency; five saloons; four millinery stores and one tailor shop. Among the advantages which makes Zumbrota a valuable place of residence are a perfect system of water works and sewerage; excellent streets and driveways extending into well-kept country roads ; five miles of cement sidewalks; good volunteer fire protection; electric lighting plant; local and rural telephone system; three telegraph lines, and two express companies.

The professions, aside from the clergy, are represented by one lawyer, two dentists, three physicians, one veterinary surgeon and one optician.

Water Works. The water works system was started in the summer of 1883 and consisted of three blocks of mains along the main street, which were supplied by a pump in the Palmer elevator and the water taken from the river. This was for fire protection only. Two years later the system was extended and n 75,000 barrel reservoir erected on a hill southeast of the village, a well dug and a pumping station erected in the village, which now supplies good, pure water for domestic use as well as for fire protection. In 1907 thirteen blocks of six-inch mains were extended to various sections of the village. The system is owned by the village and under the supervision of the council.

Sewer System. In 1906 a sanitary sewer system was installed and takes care of the business section of the town. A survey of the whole village was made, but as yet only seven blocks have been installed.

Halls. There are seven halls in the village, three of which are used for lodge purposes, one city hall and three private halls. The Odd Fellows hall is owned by Mrs. H. H. Palmer; the Masonic, by F. C. Marvin; the Woodmen, by Kolbe & Kalass. The private halls are owned by F. C. Marvin. John Anderson and Sohn & Trelstad.

The Zumbrota City Hall was built of wood, 20x40 feet, two stories, in 1887, at a cost of $4,500, under the supervision .of N. T. Wedge, The building committee consisted of S. B. Bartean. C. E. Johnson. F. Gr. Marvin and K. S. Sigmund. The building contains a hall for public meetings, also the volunteer Ore apparatus, the headquarters of the volunteer fire department, and a jail, consisting of two steel cages.

Fire Protection. Probably no village in the stale has better fire protection than has Zumbrota, and for that reason insurance rates are exceedingly low. The village supports a volunteer fire department, consisting of ninety men (the third largest in the state) winch is divided into three hose companies of twenty men each and one hook and ladder truck company of thirty men. The apparatus is owned by the city and kept at the city hall. Fire Department. The fire department consists of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, Hose Company No. 1, Royal Hose Company and the Clipper Hose Company. There is one hook and ladder truck equipped with ladders, hooks, chains, etc.; three hose carts each carrying an average of six hundred feet of hose. Each company has its own separate organization and officers, who are governed by a set of department officers who are elected by the whole department. A board of directors consisting of two members from each company, the chief presiding, attend to all business matters of the department. The department was organized August 23, 1883, at which time M. L. Webb was elected the first chief; B. C. Grover, first assistant; C. E. Johnson, second assistant; William B. Bowdish secretary; H. II. Palmer, treasurer. At that time the department consisted of the hook and Ladder Company and Hose Company No. 1. P. Dickenson was elected foreman of the former and Axel Anderson foreman of the hitter. The Royal Hose Company was organized February 11, 1885, and its first foreman or captain was C. E. Johnson. The Clipper Hose Company was organized October 6, 1896, and after a strenuous fight was admitted to the department March 15, 1897.

Its first captain was Frank W. Yochem. The present officers are A. II. Kellett, chief; H. J. Teich, first assistant; Aug. Biersdorf, second assistant, E. F. Davis, secretary; II. E. Weiss, treasurer.

Hospital. The Zumbrota Lutheran Hospital was erected in 1898 at a cost of about $8,000, under the auspices of various Lutheran societies. It is a fine twenty-eight room building, built of pressed brick and fitted throughout with modern conveniences.

It has an ideal location on the outskirts of the village, and it is greatly regretted by the people of this vicinity that the institution is out of commission at the present time. However, it is expected that within a short time it will again be ready to receive patients.

Zumbrota Mini Directory

City Bakery, Annen Olson, proprietor.
Barber shops
Miller & Ellstrom, J. C. Miller and Richard Ellstrom
R. D. Windslow
Ben Hainan
B. A. Nordly & Son (Arthur)
R. A. Gorder
Joint Hoff
Harry Jewison
Cement blocks
Wedge, Weiss & Co. General stores
New Store, Auto Amli and Anton Johnson
City Grocery store, J. O. Olson, proprietor
Lee Schafer
Martin Satren
L. J. Henning
O. N. Berg
Cigar Factory
Henning & Nesseth, George Henning and Chris Nesseth
Clothing and dry goods
The Star, R. R. Sigmond, L. W. Olson;
Meyer & Johns, Fred W. Meyer and William F. Johns.
H. B. Washburn
L. M. Woodbury
Drug Stores
A. S. Baken
J. E. Kyllo
Fur Factory
Teo. Steelier
Furniture stores
Langum & Nordvold. J. B. Langum and Adolph Nordvold
Danielson Furniture and Music Company. Charles Danielson, proprietor, J. A. Boraas, manages
Garage and Machine Shop
Skillman & Ness, Lambert Skillman and A. O. Ness
Hardware stores
Myron & Olson, O. A. Myron and Charles Olson
Ira D. Warren & Son (S. D.).
Harness shops
B. A. Kolbe.
M. H Baskfield
Horse and Auto Livery
B. O. Grover & Son (J. D.).
Jewelry Stores
J. L. Williams
Edward O. Sohn
Zumbrota Steam
P. T. Faus
Lumber yards
Wedge, Weiss & Co., N. T. Wedge,
Henry E. Weiss, C. L. Grover, proprietors;
Marvin Lumber Company, F. L. Marvin, proprietor, William Croxford, manager.
Meat Market
Hartwell & Matchan, E. T. Hartwell and E. M. Matchan.
Mrs. J. A. Johnson
Mrs. M. Ofstedahl
Mrs. Nettie Anderson
Carrie and Mary Dvergedahl
L. J. Korstad
G. O. Fortney
O. O. Larsen
K. Gryttenholm
Photograph galleries
A. J. Trelstad
O. G. Stearns
Pool Room
F. W. Stary
Professional men
A. J. Roekne
Real estate and Collection
A. B. Farwell
Axel Anderson and Lena Howe
F. W. Johnson
Shoe Store
B. A. Kolbe
Charles Anderson
Western Union, E. J. Thomas, agent at Northwestern, O. K. Anderson, agent at Milwaukee depots
Postal Telegraph, William Reimer, agent at Great Western depot.
Wells Fargo Express, William Reimer, agent at Great Western depot, and O. K. Anderson, agent at Milwaukee depot.
American Express, E. J. Thomas, agent at Northwestern depot.
Veterinary Surgeon
R. C. Nickerson
Wagon Shop
H. Keobler

The First State Bank of Zumbrota was organized in the spring of 1893 by the business men and farmers of Zumbrota and vicinity. The first officers were: President. O. J. Wing; vice president. Henry Weiss; cashier. P. A. Henning; directors, the three above named gentlemen and R. O. Lund and B. J. Kelsey. In 1893 a fine bank building was erected. At the time of the consolidation with the Security State Bank, August 1, 1909, the capital stock was $30,000 and the officers were: President, O. J. Wing; vice president, O. N. Berg: cashier, A. E. Mosher; assistant cashier. M. H. Powers. Prominently identified with the bank was E. S. Person, who succeeded P. A. Henning and served until 1907.

The Security State Bank, of Zumbrota, was organized June 19, 1894, by the March Brothers, of Litchfield, with a paid in capital of $30,000 and an authorized capital of $100,000. The bank opened for business July 2, 1894, with the following officers: President. Christian Peterson; first vice president. Henry Ahneman; second vice president. Martin Halvorson; cashier, F. M. March. The first annual meeting was held January 14, 1895, at which time the bank deposits were $26,593.91, as shown in the report below: Assets $45,395.61: banking house, fixtures and furniture, $6.538.41: cash and due from banks. $5,674.66. Total. $57,608.68. Liabilities: Capital. $30,000; surplus and profit, $1,014.77; deposits, $26,593.91. Total, $57,608.68. The annual reports each year show an increase in the business. On January 11, 1898. F. G. Marvin was elected president of the bank, and on February 17, 1900, H. E. Weiss was elected assistant cashier. On June 13, 1903, F. M. March was elected vice-president, and H. E. Weiss elected cashier. April 8, 1907, F. C. Marvin was elected assistant cashier. This bank was consolidated with the First State Bank, August 1, 1909. Under the new organization the name Security State Bank is retained and the name First State Bank is discontinued. August 15, the business of the consolidated banks, roughly estimated, was as follows: Capital, surplus and profit, $45,000; deposits, $300,000; loans and discounts, $276,000: banking house furniture. $10,000; cash and discounts, $52,000. The present officers are: President, F. G. Marvin; vice president, A. J. Rockne; cashier, E. E. Weiss; assistants, A. E. Mosher and C. Marvin.

The Zumbrota House was built in October, 1856, consisting at that time of only a small wing. It was erected and kept by Ezra Wilder. The hotel building was then 20x60, two stories. Mr. Wilder sold the place to G. R. Slosson, who in turn sold it to Fred George in 1872. In the spring of 1872, Mr. George built, a two story front, 20x70. The present proprietor is E. Molke.

The Midland House was built in June, 1877, by George W. Cunningham. The main building was 22x40, two stories, with wing, 18x60. Mr. Cunningham kept the house until March 1, 1878, when he leased it to J. R. Clark. This hotel is now known as the New Hotel and is conducted by J. Schmidt, having recently been renovated and improved.

The Forest Mills were put up by William S. Wells and H. H. Palmer in 1867-68. This was the only market which the farmers in the vicinity had in the early days except Red Wing, and consequently the mill did a flourishing business for many years. Activity at this point consisted of a cooper shop, a flour mill and stores, and the settlement at one time bid fair to efface Zumbrota. Old settlers tell of often going there to unload their grain and being obliged to take their turn in a line of teams over a mile long. The railroads at Zumbrota and Mazeppa, however, brought the business to those places and the mill was idle for a number of years. Five years ago it was purchased by Theo. Stecher, who has greatly improved the mill and practically rebuilt a new dam and now operates it as a grist mill.

The Zumbrota Creamery was erected by the Crescent Creamery Company, of St. Paul, during the fall of 1884, who operated it about eighteen years. The building was erected by C. E. Marvin and E. A. Cammack, W. H, Squire being superintendent of the construction. The company's first manager was R. Londick, and he was succeeded by F. W. Stary. The latter was head man at the place for sixteen years. About nine years ago the Crescent people sold out to R. O. Lund, who continued the business about five years, when he sold to E. G. Hammer, who took possession October 1, 1906. E. A. Mann hauled the first can of cream to the creamery during the fall of 1884. On June 13, 1907, the old creamery was destroyed by fire and before the ashes were cold a new modern building was in course of erection and was completed and installed with machinery and running in a little over a month. The new building and machinery is estimated at $7,000. The yearly output of the creamery is about 100.000 pounds, and it receives cream for a radius of sixty miles around this territory.

The Van Duzen Elevator was the first elevator to be erected in Zumbrota and was completed in 1878. On November 20 of the same year F. G. Marvin took charge of the company's interests and continued as their local manager for nearly thirty years, or up to August 1, 1908. A. E. Collinge succeeded Mr. Marvin as local manager.

The Palmer Elevator, as it is now called, was erected in 1880 by William Wells, and its first manager was H. E. Talmadge, now a resident of Red Wing. Wells sold the elevator to H. H. Palmer, who continued to run it with James Hall as his manager. Later J. O. Jones leased it and bought grain independently. It was closed for some years and in 1908 was purchased from the Palmer estate by the Red Wing Malting Company, who installed Ed. Kolbe as their local buyer. Mr. Kolbe resigned August 1, 1909, and O. A. Stondahl succeeded him.

The Farmers' Elevator, of Zumbrota was organized by farmers in 1898. The first president was E. A. Bigelow and N. T. Naeseth was the first manager. Those who have served as presidents are: Lou Starz, Josiah Lothrop and Oliver Berg. The secretaries have been: Fred Elwell. B. A. Colbe, Bond Olson. A. Ylvasaker and O. O. Nordvold. Treasurers: Josiah Lothrop, Louis Starz. Henry Weiss.

Railroads. The first railroad to reach Zumbrota was started at Wabash in 1877 by the Minnesota Midland Company, whose capital was exhausted before they had built many miles. The Milwaukee road picked up the construction and finished the road to Zumbrota in 1878. That same year the Rochester & Northwestern (now the Northwestern) run a branch from Rochester to this village. Both lines came in here at the same time and both claimed a portion of the right of way at the foot of Main Street. Early residents tell of a pitched battle between the two track laying crews to see who would get possession of the disputed ground. "The Milwaukee road was operated as a narrow gauge until June 7. 1903, during which year it was extended through to Faribault and on November 9, 1903, the first standard gauge train passed over the roadbed. The Red Wing & Iowa road was built in here from Red Wing in 1888. Later it became the property of the Duluth, Red Wing & Southern and in 1902 that company sold it to the Great Western, who extended it through to Rochester the following year. Thus Zumbrota now has three roads running into the village, affording excellent passenger and shipping facilities.

Telephones. The long distance telephone from Zumbrota to Kenyon was the result of the efforts of Dr. Ch. Grondvold and Dr. K. Gryttenholm. The former, however, died in 1895 and the negotiations were left to Dr. Gryttenholm, who raised about $2,000 among the farmers and the village residents. Dr. Gryttenholm corresponded with both the Northwestern Telephone Company and the Union Electric Telephone Company of Iowa, with the result that the former built the line. It was completed in the fall of 1895 from Zumbrota and Kenyon with a side line to Hader and Aspelund. In 1897 the line was sold to the Northwestern Telephone Company. The first local telephone franchise in Zumbrota was granted to L. D. Ward October 31, 1899, who erected a few poles and had a small system in operation for about a year, when he sold out to Elmer Peek. Mr. Peck ran the system about two years, when he sold to Matchan, Vickstrom & Ward, who operated it for one year and then sold to J. I. Howe. In February, 1905, Howe sold to Messrs. F. G. and F. C. Marvin, who have extended the system into the country districts and have an up-to-date service in every respect.

Electric Lights. Elmer Peck erected and equipped the first electric light plant in Zumbrota, getting a franchise in October, 1898. The first plant was established in a building on what is now the Great Western right of way and was located between the Northwestern and Great Western tracks about two hundred yards west of Main Street. In the early nineties the building was moved to its present location at the foot of Main Street on the bank of the Zumbro River. Person & Co. purchased the plant from Mr. Peck and after running it four years sold to C. D. Dennison, the present proprietor.

The Zumbrota "News" was started in 1885 by a stock company, with W. W. Kinne as first editor and manager, which position he held for several years, after which Herman Anderson be-, came the editor. Later Mr. Kinne resumed charge of the paper. Subsequently Mr. Anderson purchased the paper from the stockholders, and in 1897 sold to A. J. Rockne. In 1900 E. F. Davis became part owner with Mr. Rockne, and is now the editor. The "News" is a newsy paper, has well written editorials, and through its local columns keeps the people of southern Goodhue County well acquainted with the doings in their part of the world. In addition to these features, a generous supply of general rending and a resume of the national and foreign news of the week makes the paper a welcome visitor in some thousand homes. A large job printing establishment is operated in conned ion with the paper. The firm is now conducted under the name of Rockne & Davis.

  Goodhue County | Zumbrota Village | Zumbrota Township | Zumbrota Fraternities

Source: History of Goodhue County Minnesota, Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, H. C. Cooper Jr, & Company, Chicago, 1909.


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