Evidence of the Zumbro River
Valley's agricultural heritage is always on display
in our towns and businesses. The early settlers
came to this part of Minnesota because of the availability
of land, rich soil, and the opportunity to put down
roots. All the towns were established and
incorporated in the last half of the 19th century with
many communities founded before the Civil War. The
farms and businesses that sprang up around them shipped
their goods to Midwestern markets using the riverboats
first---and then the railroad. Riverboat traffic
dwindled away as the railways improved. Then new roads
were built, railroad depots were closed, and tracks
abandoned. Businesses in the Valley towns continued
to serve their communities, but competition from larger
towns and a commuting population has taken its toll
on these rural Main Streets.
Today, each town's Main Street, turn-of-the-century
buildings remind us of a time when town's were self-sufficient.
And a trip to town for a farm family meant
a bath and shave at the local barber...shopping for
dry goods, groceries and supplies at the local mercantile...
25 cent dinners at the local hotel or cafe... entertainment
at the local saloons... and religion every Sunday at
churches of every major denomination.
Times change! But what hasn't
changed is our understanding of our relationship to
the land. Valley towns persist because of the
forest and farms.
You'll find information about places
to stay, restaurants
and businesses of interest to
visitors to the Lower Zumbro River Valley on this website.