Contact Us
  Minnesota History Shop

Visit The Minnesota History Shop
Historic maps
Historic books
Historic framed art
Historic postcards

Clothing with historic images
And much more!!!

Zumbro Falls Guide:
  Photo Gallery
  Post Office
  Street Map
  Health Care
  Aerial Photo
  Topographic Map

Lakeweb1 Internet Services
All Rights Reserved

DCMA, Defamation, Copyright and Trademark Infingement Policy



Do you have photos, historical accounts or other items pertaining to the Zumbro Falls area? Would you like to share this historical information with the world? would like to publish your Zumbro Falls photos (current or historical) or historical accounts on this website. Original materials can be returned and your privacy will be respected.

Contact us


Minnesota Map Large Framed Print
(design available on over 100 different items!) Store




I Love Minnesota
Wall Clock

(design available on over 100 different items!) Store


Zumbro Falls Minnesota

From the book
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge and Others
Published Winona, MN by H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co., 1920
Republished Currently by
Higginson Books

This history originally located at
Original page was difficult to read due to fixed width background used


Zumbro Falls is a prosperous village on the banks of the Zumbro River and the Midland Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. It is well located, the business section being near the river level, while the school and churches, and some of the older residences, are across the river in what was the original village. Zumbro Falls has a bank, two elevators, a newspaper, a creamery, a telephone company and a stock shipping association. There are two churches, the Methodist and the Congregational. An Advent church flourished for a while, but the church building erected in 1894 has now been converted into a residence.

The history of Zumbro Falls dates from the old ford across the Zumbro on the territorial road leading from Lake City to Rochester. Here the road southward wound its way from the prairie down into the valley, crossed the river a few rods from the present railroad station, continued across what is now called "Drinkwater Flat," south of the river, and then up the grade onto the level of the prairie again, and southward. To this place in 1855 came David Tibbetts, who built a substantial log house on what is now the railroad right of way, south of lot 6, block 2, south row, Whaley's Addition, and nearby established a ferry. At the same time his brother, Abner, of Lake City, secured the land south of the river, but resided on it only long enough to enable him to prove up his claim. His cabin was on the high land south of what is now the Drinkwater Flat. On the ridge north of the village, some 30 or 40 rods northeast of the present schoolhouse, James B. Glover built a cabin in 1858.

Traffic over the road and ferry increased in 1858. John Van Smith built a house on the south side of the river near the ferry, and opened a hotel, furnishing a convenient stopping-place for travelers. In 1859 Edwin Beeman built a shoe shop and Orrin Pencille a blacksmith shop. These two men had no families an lived at the Smith Hotel.

The flood of 1858 covered the flat and did considerable damage. The inhabitants took refuge on higher land, Mr. Tibbetts' family being rescued through the gable end of the roof. The cabin withstood the rush of the waters, but it was flooded nearly to the upper story. As a picture of the life in those times, it is told that Mr. Tibbetts kept his old musket hung from the rafters by leather thongs just under the upper floor and the water flooded the hammers of this old weapon.

About the beginning of the Civil War, Uriah S. Whaley bought out David Tibbetts, moved into his house and started operating the ferry. The village south of the river became quite a hamlet, given a considerable impetus by the surveying, grading and building of the railroad. Among the business houses on that side of the river were those of Charles Bryant, blacksmith shop; David Willard, harness shop; John Dale, wagon shop; Perry Card, hotel; Fidel Sugg, general store; James Burns, saloon and store; Mathias Bright, harness shop; Dr. Rogers, drug store; E. A. Harridan, general store. William Oliver erected a hall, a neat structure with mural paintings, and this became one of the social centers of the community. A Methodist church was also built.

In the meantime Benjamin Clark put in a dam at the rapids which gave the village its name, and erected a grist mill, which he operated for a number of years. When the railroad came through, Mr. Whaley platted a village on the north side of the river, and Whaley's Addition is what now constitutes the village of Zumbro Falls.

In that year, 1878, E. B. Doty erected a store on lot 10, block 1, north row, Whaley's Addition, and opened a hardware store. At the same time a duplicate of the Doty store was erected on lot 11, and William Churchill opened a drug store therein. Other business houses followed. After the cyclone of 1883, E. A. Harridan moved his store and postoffice from the old village to lot 8, block 1, north row, Whaley's Addition.

Business began to die away on the south side of the river, and that hamlet never recovered from the cyclone of 1883. Fidel Sugg and Dr. Rogers were the first to give up business there. The locality is now a residence section, with two churches, the village park, and a number of pleasant homes.

In the meantime Whaley's Addition has grown into the village of Zumbro Falls, taking the name of the former village south of the river. The station which is in this part of the village was not established until several years after the building of the railroad, as the township refused to vote a bonus. In a short time, however, the business of the hamlet demanded it and the station was established. When S. C. Welch engaged in business here in 1894, the village was already one of some size. The business was then nearly all on the north row of Whaley's Addition. The depot had been built, a hotel opened and an elevator established. J. M. Stegner, Son, John Strickland and E. B. Doty had general stores. U. J. Disney had a lumber yard and hardware store, the Stevens Opera House had been built, and G. W. Stevens was operating a blacksmith shop. The schoolhouse was near the location of the present school. The Advent church was also on this side of the river. John Strickland is still in business here. W. J. Disney but recently retired.

Mr. Welch bought in with J. M. Stegner and continued business with him for awhile before securing sole ownership. After continuing for some time alone, he took his son-in-law, L. E. Scruby, as a partner. The firm is now known as Scruby & Co.

The first crossing of the river here was by ford. Later the ferry was built. The first bridge was a pontoon structure of five flatboats, strung together on an iron rod fastened to a stone pier in the middle. The bridge was built by Samuel Doughty. This bridge was smashed by the ice, and replaced by a wooden bridge built by Horace E. Horton. This latter bridge was the one carried away by the cyclone. The structure built to replace it fell out of repair, and the present bridge was erected in its stead. Before the latter was built there was considerable agitation as to its location, many desiring it further down the river and nearer the present village. As finally built, however, it occupied the old site, with its south end leading directly to the heart of the old village.

With the increase in population and the erection of a number of new houses in the spring of 1896, there came a concerted demand for an organized village government. As the result of the work of a number of prominent citizens, a meeting was held, November 3, 1897, with Samuel Welch as chairman and Dr. Thomas R. Watson as clerk. Shortly afterward a committee of four, previously suggested by L. A. Doty, consisting of Samuel D. Welch, J. C. Strickland, W. J. Disney and Dr. T. R. Watson, consulted with attorney A. J. Green of Lake City. A census taken November 8 showed a population within the proposed limits of one hundred and ninety-three. A petition was presented to the county board, November 24, 1897, signed by E. J. Stegner, Thomas R. Watson, L. A. Doty, E. B. Doty, Baxter Doty, J. B. Glover, B. C. Disney, J. M. Stegner, William Potter, C. E. Kirkham, O. S. Clark, J. T. Ritter, H. F. Anding, N. Rosenbloom, E. J. Strickland, J. L. Strick.and, F. B. Anding, W. J. Grogan, S. Hermann, John Vogel, S. D. Welch, W. J. Disney, Henry Bielfeldt, Theo, Pfeiffer, Mike Pfeiffer, T. J. Kirkman, C. F. Scholer, Uriah Whaley, O. E. Kirkman, G. W. Stevens, David Whaley, Warren Clough, Nathan Whaley, O. R. Bint, G. H. Claflin, B. W. Disney, William H. Claflin, W. D. Little, Peter Theisen, Henry Norton, T. B. Warring, E. V. Beals, A. H. Sugg and John Carr. The petition was granted and the election ordered held February 8, 1898. At the election the proposition was carried by a vote of 49 to 11, and the following officers chosen: President, S. D. Welch; trustees, J. L. Strickland, T. B. Warring and L. A. Doty; recorder, T. R. Watson; treasurer, E. B. Doty; justices, George W. Stevens and Pratt Drinkwalter; constables, John T. Ritter and Clarence Kirkham. The first council meeting was held February 28, 1898. At an election held November 16, 1898, there were 41 votes cast for separation and 2 against . The presidents of the village have been as follows: 1898 and 1899, S. D. Welch; 1900 and 1901, Pratt Drinkwalter; 1902, L. E. Scruby; 1903 and 1904, A. Roberson; 1905 and 1906, Pratt Drinkwalter; 1907, L. A. Doty; 1908, Pratt Drinkwalter; 1909, J. C. Brinkman; 1910 and 1911, Thomas Baker; 1912, R. Warren; 1913, John A. Klindworth. The recorders have been: 1898 and 1899, T. R. Watson; 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904, B. W. Disney; 1905 and 1906, C. G. Burcher; 1907, 1908 and 1909, L. W. Disney; 1910, F. J. Sugg; 1911, L. W. Disney; 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919, B. R. Theisen.

The village improvements consist of a park, a village hall, a waterworks system and a sewer system.

The stone "watch house" was erected in 1898. The waterworks system was installed in 1907 and the village hall erected the same year. The following year the hose cart and hose were purchased. The waterworks system consists of the pumping station at the village hall, a well nearby, a tank on the hill, and a system of mains and hydrants. The sewer system was put in in 1914. In 1915 the "watch house" was abandoned, and cages installed in the village hall. The triangular park south of the bridge was laid out in 1899 and tress planted. A street light system of individual oil lamps was installed in 1899 and abandoned in 1907.

When the Farmers Elevator was established in 1900, the village appropriated $30 to help pay a solicitor for selling stock for the purpose. In 1904 a franchise was granted the Zumbro Falls Farmers Telephone Company.

The first postmaster was probably Uriah S. Whaley, who kept the office at his cabin north of the river. He was followed by E. A. Harridan, who kept it at his store south of the river. Next came John Strickland, whose successor was J. B. Glover. Under Cleveland's second administration, Mr. Strickland again served. He was followed by William J. Disney, who in turn was succeeded by A. H. Sugg, who is still in office.

The Zumbro Falls Enterprise was established October 3, 1908, by Hugh R. Smith, and by him sold to the present editor, Fred J. Barton, March 1, 1919.

Hyde Park Lodge, No. 46, I. O. O. F. This lodge was moved to Zumbro Falls, and was here continued for many years. The lodge surrendered its charter in 1914. The last officers were: Noble Grand, A. Roberson; vice-grand, J. Morrisey; recording secretary, L. E. Scruby; treasurer, A. H. Sugg. This lodge absorbed Mazeppa Lodge, No. 72, I. O. O. F.

The children in this vicinity first attended school in a schoolhouse north of the present village, built in 1850. Later a schoolhouse was erected in the village, not far from the present site. It was destroyed by the cyclone in 1883 and replaced with another. The present brick structure was erected in 1913.

The Zumbro Falls State Bank was organized June 6, 1907, and opened for business August 5, 1907. The original stockholders were: William J. Disney, B. W. Disney, E. C. Disney, L. W. Disney, Henry R. Gray, Richard Greer, F. B. Roberson, Maze F. Thierstein, Emil A. Gray, H. A. Frieheit and William Saul, of Zumbro Falls, and W. D. Marvin and L. L. Cornwell of Pine Island. The first directors were: William J. Disney, W. D. Marvin, L. L. Cornwell, Henry E. Gray and William Saul. The first officers were: President, L. L. Cornwell; vice-president, Henry R. Gray; cashier, B. W. Disney. Mr. Cornwell was succeeded as president, January 14, 1912, by William Saul, and on January 13, 1920 by C. W. Radabough. Fred C. Heise succeeded Mr. Gray as vice-president. Mr. Disney has had charge of the bank as cashier since the beginning. The present directors are: Fred C. Heise, F. B. Roberson, J. E. John Steere, J. J. Springer, William J. Disney, C. W. Radabough, William Saul and C. J. Meyers. For a time Mr. Disney operated the bank alone. H. H. Billings became the assistant cashier January 14, 1913. May Drinkwalter became assistant bookkeeper in August, 1913, and was made assistant cashier January 13, 1914. Edna L. Schultz became bookkeeper November 1, 1918. G. N. Reppe, who is still serving, became assistant cashier January 1, 1919. The bank opened in temporary quarters, the present building being completed the same year. It is admirably equipped for its purpose in every way, and it the financial and business headquarters of the village. The original capital stock of $10,000 was on March 27, 1919, increased to $20,000. December 31, 1910, the loans and discounts were $106,555.91, the deposits $134,709.24. December 31, 1915, the loans and discounts were $180,923.59, and the deposits $176,717.02. December 31, 1919, the capital was $20,000; the surplus, $5,000; the undivided profits, $1,781.94; the loans and discounts, $270,986.60; the deposits, $339,649.37.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Zumbro Falls was organized in 1875 through the efforts of the Shores and Suggs of Glasgow Township, the Sprengers of La Crosse and the Rietmanns of Hay Creek, Goodhue County. These families settled here and organized a Sunday school. From this effort grew the present church. H. E. Young was the first pastor assigned. The charter members of this organization were: Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Shores, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Sprenger, Mr. and Mrs. F. Sugg, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Reitmann, and the children of these families. The first services were held in a private home in 1876. An old building was purchased and remodeled into a small church building, the remodeling being done principally by Mr. Sugg. The following pastors have serve this church at different periods: H. E. Young, Adam Miller, L. J. Brenner, William Berg, Herman Meyer, G. E. Rabe, Frederick Hogrofe, Geo. Nedtwick and A. B. Gould, the present pastor. During C. H. Miller's term of ministry the present church building was erected ~ a neat and tasty village church. Services were held in the German language to about 1915. Since that time the services have been held in English. The present membership of the church is 66 enrolled members, with an average attendance of about 125. During late years especial attention has been given the Sunday school work, with the result that this congregation is looked to as a leader in this work throughout this section. This school, at the suggestion of J. J. Sprenger, instituted the Sunday school quarterly review which has become very popular and effective. The church is a live, working church with men and women in it having a real concern for its welfare and is an influential factor in the life of the community.

The Congregational Church of Zumbro Falls was organized November 15, 1890, with four members, Pratt Drinkwalter, E. J. Stegner, C. J. Street and E. Butruff. The early meetings were held in the Methodist Episcopal church. The congregation dedicated its own church December 14, 1890, and in the same year, on August 5, the Congregational society was incorporated, the first officers being: G. W. Stevens, president; John Vogel, clerk, and Minnie Smith, treasurer. The pastors of the church have been the Rev. Messrs. William McArthur, J. C. Huntington, A. L. Struthers, I. C. Todd, J. E. Ingham, J. C. Huntington, W. H. Moore, Frank Ferguson, J. L. Nott, Irving B. Hollman, S. T. Beattie, C. H. Moxie, Paul Albert and John Hayes Barnett. The Rev. A. B. Gould now serves both the congregational and Methodist churches.
    Home Page    Contact Us    Privacy


2004-2024 Lakeweb1 Internet Services All Rights Reserved