Lanesboro 150 Years: 1869 - 2019

Lanesboro’s

PAST

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1800

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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. 

 
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Early Settlers

 
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Adventurous women in dresses fishing with bamboo poles on the North Branch of the Root River.

 
 

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.

 
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Railroad

 
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Steam engine steaming over the Root River bridge in Lanesboro

 
 

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.

 
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Corn line at the Lanesboro Canning Company

Corn line at the Lanesboro Canning Company

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Economic
Dip

 
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1895 "The way these eligible young bachelors spend a Sunday ......" is written on that chalkboard in the middle. Some kind of dudes!!

 
 

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.

 
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Judge French in front of the steps up to his High Court.

Judge French in front of the steps up to his High Court.

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But then…re-birth! The opening of the Root River State Trail in the 1980s brought bicycling tourists, the arts flourished, restaurants, shops and B & Bs opened, and Lanesboro came alive again.

 
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Historical photos courtesy of Lanesboro Historical Preservation Association