Root River Valley in Southeastern Minnesota was Dakota tribal land for several hundred years, with the Winnebago tribe also spending time in this area in the 19th century.
We do know that easterners, local pioneers, early immigrants, and skilled craftsmen combined vision, determination and hard work to create a boomtown out of wilderness here just after the Civil War.
The railroad was soon bringing farmers, families seeking new roots, aspiring business people, and more than a few colorful characters (like Dr. Frank “White Beaver” Powell and his friend, Buffalo Bill Cody) to the new and bustling town of Lanesboro.
It remained a thriving community until the economy weakened in the early 1900s, caused first by dips in farm income, later by the Great Depression, and then by major transportation changes. By the 1970s, trains no longer stopped here. Lanesboro’s very sustainability was threatened.