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Situated along the North Fork of the Zumbro River, in Goodhue County, the city of Zumbrota, Minnesota is the only city in the world with that name.

The city is on the edge of the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest, a small portion of which is within the city. It is surrounded by Minneola Township, Zumbrota Township, Pine Island Township, and Roscoe Township.

The chief arterial routes through the city are US Route 52 and Minnesota State Highways 58 and 60. Lesser routes include Goodhue County Roads 6 and 10. Nearby cities include Pine Island (6.7 miles south), Wanamingo (7.3 miles west), Mazeppa (7.5 miles east), and Goodhue (8.6 miles north). Saint Paul is fifty-five miles to the north-northwest.

Zumbrota was organized in 1856 by members of the Strafford Western Emigration Society, based in Massachusetts, and was intended to function under rules that were designed to ensure a Puritan community. Among the principle founders were Joseph Bailey and D.B. Goddard. The original settlers, recruited by the Society, were largely made up of recent German and Scandinavian immigrants.

The first store was opened by Thomas P. Kellett in October of 1856, and a post office was established there the following year, with Kellett as the first postmaster. Before long, the new settlement had a cheese factory, a creamery, elevators, grain mills, and other shops, as well as churches and a school.

In 1857, a covered bridge was constructed over the North Branch of the Zumbro River. Flood damage in 1863, 1865, and 1869 required extensive replacement of sections of the bridge, including a replacement of the covered portion of it in 1871, but it was in service until 1932, when it was moved to the fairgrounds. In 1997, the bridge was moved to its current location in Covered Bridge Park, only about a hundred yards from its original location. It is the last remaining historic covered bridge in Minnesota.

In 1905, Zumbrota constructed a second covered bridge, which was a railroad bridge for the Duluth, Red Wing, and Southern Railroad, but its roof collapsed in 2019.

The railroads came in 1870, and Zumbrota was incorporated as a village in 1877 and became a city in the 1970s when the Minnesota legislator made cities of all incorporated municipalities within the state.

By the second decade of the 20th century, Zumbrota had an elaborate school building, an opera house, a clay manufacturing plant, and a telephone company.

Although not a large city, Zumbrota has gained population every decade since the Census Bureau began recording its numbers in 1880. The city has more than three thousand residents and two hundred businesses today, including its Main Street, with niche shop, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

This is primarily a guide to the city of Zumbrota, Minnesota, although topics related to Zumbrota Township may be submitted to this category, as well. Appropriate listings may include municipal and township government websites, as well as those representing local businesses and industries, schools, churches, organizations, individuals, or events.

 

 

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