City Council
Economic Development
Code of Ordinances
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City of Lanesboro
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The Best Place to Live, Work and Play

Everything you need to know about life in Lanesboro
Lanesboro Relocation Packet
© 2015 Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce Po Box 348 • 100 Milwaukee Road
Phone 507.467.2696 • 800.944.2670


-- featured in Outside Magazine as one of the
20 New Best Places to Live & Play!

You have just moved, or are thinking about moving, to one of the best places to live. We have it all -- beauty and art, a school and library, a park, pie and pizza, and, above all, community. You truly can go to the neighbor’s and get a cup of sugar.

It takes an enormous amount of cooperation and energy to run our town. City employees, shopkeepers, innkeepers, Minnesota DNR, restaurateurs, American Legion, artists, actors, Chamber of Commerce, and many, many volunteers work together to make this a great place, whether you live here or are just visiting.

We make our own fun. We have festivals and music. We have community theater and a radio show. We have bake sales and silent auctions. We have dances and parades. We have parties and church suppers. We have sing-a-longs and school concerts. We have been officially designated the Rhubarb Capital of Minnesota, and are home to the celebrated Rhubarb Sisters and Rutabaga Brothers.

The timbre of our town is seasonal. In the winter, we relax and visit with our neighbors. In the summer, we share our town with the rest of the world. Winter rejuvenates us, and summer rejuvenates the town.

We hope you can join us.



The City

City Government

Lanesboro, population 749, is governed by a five person city council, which includes the mayor. The city council is advised and assisted by several boards and commissions.

Economic Development Authority
Heritage Preservation Commission
Library Board
The Library Board
Park Board
Planning and Zoning Commission
Public Utilities Commission

Visit the website for council and committee meeting schedules, agendas and minutes. Council meetings are also reported in the Fillmore County Journal newspaper.

Contact us
Robin W. Krom, Mayor
(507) 467-3722

City Administration

The Lanesboro Community Center houses city administration offices, council chambers, kitchen/meeting room, showers, the library, and gym which is used for school sports, as well as special events like wedding receptions and parties, the Christmas dinner dance, the library’s summer reading programs, and blood drives.

The City Administrator is responsible for day-to-day operations of the city.

Contact us
Lanesboro City Office
Michele Peterson, City Administrator
(507) 467-3722

Office hours
Mon – Fri: 8 am - 12:00 pm
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Lanesboro Community Center
202 Parkway Ave S

In case of emergency: call 911

Economic Development Authority

In 1992, the Lanesboro City Council established an Economic Development Authority (EDA). The City had a desire to encourage, attract, promote and develop industry and commerce within the city for the prevention of unemployment and to provide for increased economic opportunity for the citizens of the City. Therefore, the City established the EDA to plan, promote and develop a program for the economic development of the City.
Duties of the EDA are as follows:

  • To confer with and advise the City Council and Planning Commission on all matters concerning the industrial and commercial development of the City.
  • To publicize, with the consent of the Council, the industrial and commercial advantages and opportunities of the City.
  • To collect data and information as to the type of industries and commerce best suited for the City.
  • To periodically survey the overall condition of the City from the standpoint of determining whether the City is a healthy environment for industry and to determine the general receptiveness of the city, or any portion thereof, to a particular type of industry.
  • To publicize information as to the general advantages of industrial and commercial development in the community.
  • To cooperate with all industries and businesses in the City and in the solution of any City related problems which they may have, and to encourage the expansion, development and management of such industries and business so as to promote the general welfare of the City.
  • To coordinate city-wide in the undertaking of necessary surveys and studies in the furtherance of commercial and industrial development.
  • To aid the City Council and Planning Commission in the proper zoning and orderly development of areas suitable for industrial and commercial development.
  • The Lanesboro EDA can be reached at the City offices 507-467-3722

Public Library

The Library is strongly supported by the Lanesboro community, enabling the three-person staff to provide materials and numerous services to over 2600 patrons. We are a group of people, who love libraries and share your passion for books and learning. A Library Board, composed of seven volunteers, is responsible for oversight. Lanesboro Library is a member of Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO), an organization providing services to over 40 libraries in southeastern Minnesota.

The Friends of the Lanesboro Library provides a significant part of library funds used to obtain new materials. This organization is dedicated to the promotion of the use of the library and the encouragement of the love of reading.

We accept monetary and material donations, and, of course, volunteers are always appreciated.


  • Materials in all media formats, including DVD’s. (A list of the library’s movies can be found on the web site.)
  • Millions of items (including movies, music, and downloadable e-books) can be found and ordered from the remotely accessible, online database maintained by SELCO and accessible from any internet-enabled computer.
  • Access to materials via interlibrary loans from hundreds of Minnesota libraries
  • Programs for adults: author talks, winter reading program
  • Library-facilitated monthy reading groups
  • Interface to book clubs and reading groups
  • WIFI
  • Copy and fax machine
  • Continuous book sale (provided by the Friends of the Lanesboro Library)
  • Community bulletin board and information
  • Regional reference service (expert answers to impossible questions)
  • Job search resources – maintained by the Winona Workforce Center
  • Newspapers, magazines and comfy chairs

Children’s services

  • Library books to Day Care – year-round
  • Pre-school story hours – school year
  • Reading Program for kids – summer
  • Library cards for 1st graders – May
  • Scholastic Book Fair – late Fall

    Contact Us
  • Tara Johnson, Director
    (507) 467-2649
    Mon, Wed, Fri: 1 - 6
    Tues, Thurs: 3 - 8
    Sat: 9 - 2
    202 Parkway Ave S
    Located in the lower level of the Community Center


Polling location
Lanesboro Community Center basement
202 Parkway Ave S

Voter Registration
Contact us
Fillmore County Auditor, Shirl Boelter
(507) 765-3811
(507) 765-4701
State site:

Office hours
Mon – Fri: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Closed on legal holidays

Election Assistance Commission

Who represents me?

Public Safety


In case of emergency: call 911

Lanesboro has excellent 24-hour law enforcement provided by the Preston Police Dept.

Contact us
Preston Police Dept.
(507) 765-2153

Office hours
Records/Civil Process:
Mon – Fri: 8:30 - 4:30
Dispatch: 24 hours

Fillmore County Law Enforcement Center/Jail
901 Houston Street NW
Preston, MN 55965-1080

Volunteer Fire Department

Whenever there’s an opening for volunteer fireman, an ad will be posted in the paper.

Contact us
Fire Chief, Jerod Wagner

Fire Department Meeting Hall
Coffee St W
(507) 467-2225

Volunteer Ambulance Service

The City of Lanesboro is proud to have its own Ambulance Department. The Ambulance Department has 19 active members. Each and every member is trained in life-saving skills and is willing to help whenever they are needed. They are always on call and ready!

If you would like to become involved, and provide service to man and community, call the ambulance service director.

Contact us
Ambulance Service Director

First Call for Help

A 24 hour telephone helping service providing information and referral, telephone counseling and crisis intervention.

Contact us
(800) 362-8255


Fillmore County participates in the CodeRed community notification program. Registration enables your local emergency response team in the event of emergency, to notify you about situations or critical community alerts. Examples include: evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports.


Public Utilities

Lanesboro Public utilities has developed into a self-sustained fully operational utility service for Lanesboro. The City is the provider for electricity, water, sewer, trash and recycling services. Oversight is provided by the Public Utilities Commission. Each residence is billed monthly. Payment can be mailed, put in the drop box at the Community Center, or automatically withdrawn from a bank account.

Contact us
Lanesboro City Office
(507) 467-3722

Public Utilities Commission


Lanesboro has owned and operated a municipal electric light and power plant and system since 1902. It still has a functioning hydroelectric system, and diesel engine electrical emergency generating unit. Through contract with the city, additional service is provided by Tri-County Electric. Dairyland Power, based out of La Crosse, WI, is Tri-County’s power supplier.
The City is committed to maintaining competitive rates and a reliable, adequate supply of electrical power.

Conservation Improvement Program

Minnesota State Statute 216B.241 requires all Public Utilities to spend and invest for energy conservation improvements at 1.5% of their gross revenues. We are offering rebates to customers who install energy efficient products to promote energy efficiency. Our program offers rebates for purchases of Energy Star Appliances, energy efficient light bulbs, and service and maintenance on your existing heating and cooling systems by area contractors.

Contact us


Water of excellent quality is provided by two water towers and three city wells, ranging from 776 to 1070 feet deep. These wells are owned and maintained by the city. Water is drawn from the Mt. Simon aquifer and the Eau Claire-Mt. Simon aquifer. The city is committed to protecting its water resources and ensuring that its citizens have a clean, safe and dependable water supply.

Sanitary sewer

Lanesboro Public Utilities has the ability to provide sewer services from its own wastewater treatment plant. Major improvements and upgrades were made to the city system in 1997, increasing the treatment capacity and extending the life of the system at least another 20 years.

Trash, Recycling, Landfill, Brush

In the spring, the city conducts citywide cleanup, rummage sales, and the opportunity to dispose of junk and appliances.

Trash pick-up and recycling for residents

On Mondays, all city residents have access to weekly curbside trash removal and recycling service for glass, metal, plastic and virtually all types of paper. Harter’s Quick Cleanup, by contract with the city, provides trash and recycling services. There is a basic monthly fee, per household, which will appear on your utility bill from the City. Harter’s-approved plastic bags and/or trash roll carts must be used. The plastic bags are available for purchase at the BP station, located on Sheridan St W, just west of Parkway. Roll carts can be obtained from Harter’s.

Harter’s accepts all rigids, cans, plastic 1 & 2, paper. Their list of accepted recyclables is attached. Contact the City office for information about obtaining a plastic recycle box.

Contact us
Harter’s Quick Clean Up in La Crosse
(866) 782-2082 (commercial and residential)

Fillmore County Resource and Recovery Center

Various other materials, for example, iron and fabric, can be recycled at the Fillmore County Resource and Recovery Center. The Center also accepts fluorescent bulbs, large items, such as appliances, items that are not accepted by Harter’s, and, for a small fee, computer equipment.

Hazardous waste is collected the first Tuesday in October at the Fillmore County Resource and Recovery Center.

Contact us
Fillmore County Resource and Recovery Center
Coordinator: (507) 765-2245

Fillmore County Solid Waste Haulers
Harter’s: (608) 782-2082
Richard’s Sanitation: (507) 724-2086
S & S Sanitation: (507) 765-2247 or (507) 251-5444
Waste Management: (800) 223-1719
William Hanson Waste Removal: (507) 867-3527

Brush Dump

The city brush dump is available to residents to dispose of typical yard waste. Due to our DNR burn permit, access to the brush dump is controlled. The key may be picked up at the City office during office hours.

North (behind) the baseball field


Telephone, Internet, Television

Acen Tek Communications Group

Acen Tek Communications Group, a cooperative, is an independent, diversified, communications company serving southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and northwest Michigan. They offer phone, television and Internet services, including DSL (high speed Internet), with several rate options.

Contact us
(888) 404-4940


Lanesboro is also served by Mediacom, which offers cable television and high speed Internet service.

Contact us

Cell phone

Reliable, quality cell phone service is made possible by antennae on the south water tower.


Free WIFI access is available at Coffee Street Commons, and the Lanesboro Public Library, which also has computers for public use.

WIFI is available from Ace on a per day/week/month basis throughout most of the town. To use, connect your device to the Ace WIFI network.


There are three local weekly papers. A daily paper is available from Rochester. All are available at the Lanesboro Public Library. Two are free, weekly, and delivered via USPS.

Bluff Country Reader

Fillmore County Journal

Two are available by subscription.

Republican Leader (weekly)

Rochester Post Bulletin (daily)

Post Office (55949)

Contact us
Lanesboro Post Office
(507) 467-2250

Office hours
Mon – Fri: 8:30 am - 11:30 am
12:30 pm - 3:15 pm
Sat: 8:30 am - 10 am
114 Coffee St E


Driver’s license and vehicle registration

Contact us
Auto License Bureau
(507) 765-2281

Office hours
Monday – Friday: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
201 Fillmore W.
Preston MN 55965


Rochester City Lines provides daily bus service to Rochester on Monday through Friday between nearby Preston and Fountain and Rochester. There is no service from Lanesboro. Rochester City Lines buses are also available for charter.


Fillmore County Fairgrounds, Preston: 5:30; 6:25; 6:45
Fountain Post Office: 5:37; 6:37; 6:52

- arriving at St. Mary's Hospital and downtown Rochester about one hour later.


Downtown Rochester (2nd Ave): 4:10; 5:10

Schedules and fares

Contact us
Rochester City Lines
(800) 368-4874


Shuttle service is available between Minneapolis Airport (MSP) and the Mall of America and convenient Rochester pick-up and drop-off sites. Go Rochester Direct provides 19 departures daily. See their site for a list of departure locations. Every van is equipped with FREE Wi-Fi. Now you can use your travel time to connect to the internet for productive work, socializing, or entertainment.

They will also arrange Home pick-up and drop-off, as well as transportation, 7 times a day, between Rochester and Amtrak stations, located in La Crosse, WI, and Winona.

Contact us
Go Rochester Direct
(800) 280-9270
(507) 280-9270

20 2nd Avenue Southwest
Rochester, MN 55902


Fillmore County Airport

The Fillmore County Airport is located outside of Preston, about 15 miles from Lanesboro.

Contact us
Larry Tammel
(507) 937-3000

Rochester Airport

The Rochester International Airport is an easy 45 minute drive from Lanesboro. Two major airlines, Delta and American, provide daily regular flights, both domestic and international. Check airlines for schedules.

Contact us
Rochester International Airport
(507) 282-2328
Parking Info: (507) 282-7035

7600 Helgerson Dr. SW
Rochester, MN 55902


The Amtrak Empire Builder train provides daily eastbound and westbound service. Train stations are located at
Winona, 45 miles from Lanesboro, and LaCrosse, WI, 55 miles from Lanesboro.

Contact us

Housing & Employment


For Sale or Rent

At any given time it is not uncommon to find a variety of homes for sale or rent in Lanesboro – ramblers, Victorians, or bungalows. Some homes are in move-in condition and others are a great opportunity for sweat equity. Some are ten years old and some are one hundred twenty five years old. Over half the houses in Lanesboro were built before 1940, a reason why many are attracted to its old-fashioned, small town charm.

Senior Apartments

Sylvan Manor and Kenilworth Apartments provide affordable, independent living for the elderly (62+), handicapped or disabled. Rent is based on one’s adjusted gross income. Sylvan Manor has 20 units and Kenilworth has 19. They both are handicapped accessible and have handicap-friendly features. The buildings are located within walking distance of downtown shopping, restaurants, library, Sylvan Park, churches, theatre, and the Root River State Bike Trail. The tenants can enjoy independent living, social interaction and caring friends.

Contact Us
Life Style, Inc
(507) 451-8524
(800) 676-6505

Office Hours
Mon – Fri: 8 am - 4:30 pm
311 N. Cedar Ave.
Owatonna, MN 55060

Housing Assistance

Bluff Country Housing and Redevelopment Authority (BCHRA), which serves Fillmore and Houston counties, offers a variety of programs to assist people in acquiring affordable housing. For example, there is a homebuyer education program, assistance with down payments, incentives for first time home buyers, and low interest loans for home rehabilitation. To request information, or apply for services, call the Semcac Contact Center located in Fillmore County. Note that it is advisable to call ahead to make an appointment.

BCHRA has published a report of Fillmore County housing needs, historical and predicted (to 2020). The demographics used for compiling the report are included, providing the information to determine trends of the housing market, employment and population. The report is available online: Fillmore-County-Housing-Study (2009).pdf

Contact us
Bluff Country HRA / SEMCAC
(507) 864-7741 (it’s one of the Community Development services)

Office Hours
Mon – Fri: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
204 S. Elm Street,
Rushford, MN 55971

Housing Rehabilitation

Whether you want to fix a faucet or fix a roof, low-interest loans and grant programs are available for home improvements from a variety of sources, both local and federal.

An Introduction to Home Repair Grants


USDA Rural Development

US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (Topic Area > Home Improvements)


Alton Erickson and Associates, Real Estate Sales
Alton Erickson and Associates provides real estate services the Lanesboro and Whalan area.
Contact us
Alton Erickson and Assoc
(507) 467-3783 Office
205 Parkway Ave N

RE/MAX Select Properties
Serving Fillmore and Olmsted Counties
Contact us
Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI
(888) 839-2142
(507) 886-4221
(507) 458-6110 (c)
Office hours
Monday – Friday: 8:30 am- 5 pm, year round
Calls welcome on nights & weekends
25 Center St. W.
Harmony, MN 55939


Lanesboro has a thriving economy. Diverse employment is available in and around Lanesboro. We have farmers, professionals, merchants, artists, builders and many self-employed people.

Employer listings

For a complete listing of the major employers in Fillmore County, see page 37 of the 2003 Comprehensive Assessment of Housing Needs in Fillmore County, a PDF file at

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Browse online job listings, use job-search data tools, learn how to make a job-search plan, get tips to improve your resume, and discover the secrets of job-winning interviews.

For jobs in the Fillmore County area

Fillmore County Journal

Lanesboro Leader/Preston Republican (Classifieds)

Indeed (use “Fillmore County MN” as search term)

For jobs in the Rochester area

Rochester Post Bulletin


The arts comprise a significant part of the Lanesboro economy. The Commonweal Theatre Company employs over 20 full time equivalents, many of whom have made Lanesboro their permanent home. Many self-employed artists, writers and consultants live and work in and near Lanesboro. The Lanesboro Art Center is a great resource for information about the artist community.


Many farms in the area hire people full or part time to assist with livestock and crop production. Assistance is available for people who wish to purchase or rent land and begin farming themselves. Several businesses in Lanesboro provide services to support agriculture: Lanesboro Grain Company, the Lanesboro Sales Commission, S & A Petroleum (BP), Lanesboro Ag Services.


Lanesboro Public Schools presently employs over 70 staff members. Almost half of the employees are licensed educators and administrators. Additional employment opportunities are available for coaches, clerical, food service, transportation, instructional aides, and daycare.

Contact us
Lanesboro Public Schools
(507) 467 2229
Office hours
6:00 am – 4:00 pm
100 Kirkwood Street East

Health Care

Several assisted living and nursing homes in the area employ many people, as does the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.


The City of Lanesboro employs few, but Fillmore County employs about 200 people, including social workers, public health nurses, law enforcement, corrections and court personnel, and road and highway workers. The county seat is in Preston, only 8 miles away.

Contact Us
Fillmore County
Office Hours
Mon - Fri : 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
101 Fillmore Street
Preston, MN 55965

The State of Minnesota, particularly the Department of Natural Resources, employs many people in the area, especially at the Fish Hatchery right outside Lanesboro. The federal government has various offices in the area, such as Semcac.


There are seven libraries in the county, including one in Lanesboro. The libraries are members of SELCO, a cooperative, which is located in Rochester. SELCO provides many services to libraries so employs people in varied fields such as IT and training.


The nearby cities of Chatfield, Harmony, Rushford, Preston and Fountain have manufacturing plants and industry which employ many workers.

Preston Specialties, in downtown Lanesboro, employs about 25 people.

Tourism and Recreation

Full time employment and many, many part-time and seasonal jobs are available in the local restaurant, lodging, camping and outdoor recreation industries. Contact Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce for comprehensive listing of employers.

Employment Statistics

In Lanesboro

Most common industries in 2005-2009
• Construction (21%)
• Manufacturing (14%)
• Arts, entertainment, and recreation (10%)
• Retail trade (8%)
• Educational services (6%)
• Accommodation and food services (6%)
• Utilities (4%)

Most common occupations
• Other production occupations including supervisors (6%)
• Driver/sales workers and truck drivers (6%)
• Carpenters (5%)
• Other sales and related workers including supervisors (5%)
• Agricultural workers including supervisors (5%)
• Metal workers and plastic workers (5%)
• Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (4%)

In Fillmore County:

Most common industries
• Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (20%)
• Construction (13%)
• Truck transportation (4%)
• Health care (4%)
• Educational services (4%)
• Metal and metal products (4%)
• Repair and maintenance (3%)

Most common occupations
• Farmers and farm managers (14%)
• Driver/sales workers and truck drivers (6%)
• Agricultural workers including supervisors (5%)
• Carpenters (5%)
• Other production occupations including supervisors (4%)
• Vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers (4%)
• Electrical equipment mechanics and other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations including supervisors (3%)

Industries providing employment
• Educational,health and social services (23.5%)
• Manufacturing (14.8%)
• Agriculture,forestry,fishing and hunting, and mining (13.0%)
• Retail trade (10.4%).

Type of workers
• Private wage or salary (72%)
• Government (11%)
• Self-employed, not incorporated (15%)
• Unpaid family work (1%)

Commerce & Health

Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber is a 100+ member-based organization and is open to anyone – business and non-profit members as well as individual members – by annual investment of dues. The Chamber strengthens the community by identifying needs and opportunities. Through committees of volunteers from the membership, the Chamber implements and achieves its goals. The Chamber oversees the Lanesboro Visitor Center and employs two 3/4 time and two part time staff. The nine-member volunteer Board of Directors governs the Chamber and works to improve the community and the area's business climate.

Mission Statement
• To advance the civic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, cultural, environmental, and recreational interests of the City of Lanesboro and its residents
• To ensure cooperation among Lanesboro area businesses and community organizations
• To work to retain, expand, and develop beneficial Lanesboro area businesses
• To promote the Lanesboro area as the best place to live, work, visit, and operate a business

Contact us
Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
(800) 944-2670
(507) 467-2696
Office hours
Monday - Friday: 8 am - 5 pm
100 Milwaukee Rd

Goods & Services

Many goods and services are available in Lanesboro. Most are located in the downtown area:

    • art galleries and artist studios
    • attorneys
    • auto repair shop
    • bank
    • bars and off-sale liquor stores
    • handmade beauty products
    • bed and breakfasts
    • bicycle and canoe outfitters
    • building contractors
    • day spas
    • dentist
    • dog daycare
    • financial planner
    • furniture and gift shops
    • gas station
    • grocery store
    • hair salons
    • history museum
    • inns and motels
    • insurance agents
    • jewelers
    • plumbing and heating contractors
    • post office
    • realtors
    • many restaurants
    • live professional theater
    • veterinarian
    • chamber of commerce & visitors center

In nearby Preston – only eight miles away – complementary goods and services are available.

    • appliance store
    • grocery store
    • lumber yard
    • medical clinic
    • pharmacy

Stuff to buy – The Goods


Lanesboro is surrounded by thousands of acres of crop, pasture, and forest land making it possible to offer residents many fresh and locally produced products, as well as fine hunting. Fillmore County ranked 3rd in Minnesota for number of organic farms.

Local Fresh Food

Many organic farms, small Amish farms and CSA’s (community supported agriculture) operate in the area, growing fruits and vegetables, milking dairy cows, or raising livestock for local and direct marketing.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Enjoy food that is not only sustainably grown but also locally.

Featherstone Farm
Featherstone Farm is a 250 acre, certified organic farm producing fruits and vegetables. They offer both a summer and winter subscription.
Contact Us
Featherstone subscription
(507) 459.5209
43090 City Park Rd

Hilltop Pastures Family Farm
Family farm offers subscriptions consisting of fresh eggs and pasture-raised beef, pork, chicken and turkey.
Contact Us
Tom and Sara Austin
(507) 867-0096
26134 Jasmine Drive

Farmers Market

Lanesboro area growers have organized a farmer's market, providing a selection of bedding plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, baked good, eggs, herbs and canned goods. Check the Lanesboro community calendar for special events at the market.

Contact Us
Market Manager, Stena Leib
(507) 467-2275
Saturdays: 9 am - Noon
Community Center parking lot

Southeastern Minnesota Food Network

The Southeastern Minnesota Food Network ( is working to grow the local food economy by bringing together producers and all kinds of food consumers – restaurants, institutions and families. You can contact local food producers through the food network web site.

Lanesboro Local

Lanesboro Local is a nonprofit organization working to connect producers of food, good and services with buyers, to strengthen rural communities. Check out our online clearinghouse for products and services, including 70 local purveyors of food, arts and services at We are partnering with Eagle Bluff to develop exciting one-day classes for the public to learn about local food, arts and how to lead a balanced life in a sustainable world.

Contact us
Lanesboro Local
(507) 467-2944
Seasonal – check website


Lanesboro offers a wide variety of dining experiences, from ice cream to Norwegian meatballs to pan-seared pork tenderloin medallions with rhubarb horseradish. Diners can ride a bike to lunch at the Pie Shop, enjoy music and a glass of wine on a patio next to the river, grab a sub to eat in the park, eat waffles and visit with neighbors seated at the counter in a dining car, and celebrate anniversaries at the original village hall. But you will have to go to a different county to see any golden arches.


S & A Petroleum
Also known as "The bp," S & A Petroleum can provide a variety of convenience foods, including a deli and hot food. Also available are lottery tickets, movie rentals, camping supplies, firewood, ice, ski passes, and hunting and fishing licenses. They function as an LP exchange, and there is gas available 24/7 at their pay-at-the-pump.

Contact us
S & A Petroleum, Inc
(507) 467-2121
(507) 467-2656
Sun – Thurs: 6am - 10pm
Fri – Sat: 6am - 11pm
100 Sheridan W

The Services


Fillmore County has a significant agricultural economy. According to the USDA, the county is one of Minnesota’s leading agricultural counties. About 1600 farms support an infrastructure of producers, employees, and agriculture suppliers that form a significant part of the area economy. The major crops are corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. In 2007, the county ranked 9th in corn and 39th in soybeans. The chief livestock are dairy and beef cattle, sheep, and poultry. In 2011, Fillmore County ranked 3rd in both alfalfa hay and oat production. Fillmore County ranked 2nd in the state in number of beef cows, 10th in dairy cows, 6th in sheep, 8th in meat chickens and 22nd in hogs. Many organic farms and small Amish farms operate in the area.

Local associations representing pork, beef, and dairy producers hold annual events to promote their products.

Agricultural Storage and Trucking

In addition to grain storage, RLH is a licensed and bonded freight shipping and trucking company.

Contact us
Owner, Richard Horihan
(507) 467-2300
18 Beacon St

Cattle Auction Sales

All classes of livestock are sold at the Lanesboro Sales Commission auctions.
Their Stockyard Café serves breakfast, homemade lunch specials, soups and baked goods.

Contact us
Lanesboro Sales Commission
(507) 467-2192
402 Coffee St

The Fillmore County Agricultural Society

The Society coordinates the extensive Fillmore County Fair, which occurs annually at the end of July.

Contact us
Fillmore County Agricultural Society

Meeting Times
See website for meeting times
County Office Building Room 108

S & A Petroleum

Wholesale gas and diesel and bulk delivery are available through S & A Petroleum (aka bp).

Contact us
S & A Petroleum, Inc
(507) 467-2121
(507) 467-2656
Sun – Thurs: 6am - 10pm
Fri & Sat: 6am - 11pm
100 Sheridan W



Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce

The experience the Chamber provides is a campus approach. When you hold your meeting or gathering in Lanesboro, you are able to experience ALL Lanesboro has to offer and you are not subject to just one venue. It has been said “Lanesboro does not have one huge venue or all-inclusive resort, but the businesses are connected in such a fashion that Lanesboro is an all-inclusive resort in itself.”

Lanesboro’s campus-style properties and amenities can best accommodate small meetings and gatherings up to 125 participants. Let the Chamber help you decide what is best for your event!

Contact us
Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
Cheryl Krage, Dir of Tourism (507) 467-2696
(800) 944-2670
(507) 467-3321


Enjoy Lanesboro’s non-franchised restaurants and caterers, providing options customized to meet your needs.

Banquet / Party Facilities

Old Barn Resort & Rivers' Bend Golf
Party rooms are great for weddings, reunions, birthdays, company events or whatever reason you're celebrating! The Old Barn Resort will customize your special occasion for groups of 2-250. Full restaurant and bar with banquet/meeting space available.

Contact us
Old Barn Resort & Rivers' Bend Golf
(507) 467-2512

Wedding in a Nutshell

Area Code for all phone numbers is (507). Check out for more details.

Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe

Preston Floral Treasures

Wedding Officiate
Jim Attwood, Justice of the Peace
Fillmore County Courthouse


  • Sylvan Park Gazebo - 467-3722
  • Lanesboro Community Center - 467-3722
  • Sons of Norway Hall - 467-3456
  • Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center Hall - 888-800-9558


  • Old Village Hall - 467-2962
  • Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe - 467-2867
  • Pedal Pushers Café - 467-1050
  • Old Barn Resort - 800-552-2512
  • Riverside on the Root - 467-FOOD


  • Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery - 346-7300
  • Root River Saloon-on/off sale - 467-3355
  • Scenic Valley Winery - 467-2958

Reunions and Retreats

Cedar Valley Resort

Nine beautiful log-sided cabins nestled on 30 secluded acres on the Root River Trail.

Contact us
Cedar Valley Resort
(507) 467-9000
905 Bench St

Financial & Real Estate Services

Thrivent Financial

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a Fortune 500 financial services membership organization, helps nearly 3 million members achieve their financial goals.

Contact us
Thrivent Finanacial for Lutherans
Walter G Bradley, FIC
(507) 467-3370
(507) 273-6123
Mon.-Thurs. 8:00-5:00, Friday 8:00-12:00
102 Sheridan St W

Alton Erickson and Associates, Real Estate Sales

Alton Erickson and Associates provides real estate services the Lanesboro and Whalan area.

Contact us
Alton Erickson and Assoc
(507) 467-3783 Office
205 Parkway Ave N

Preble Farmers Mutual / Krage Insurance

A full service insurance office representing many companies. The home office for Preble Farmers Mutual, a mutual insurance company providing farm and home insurance to the people of SE Minnesota since 1880. Assists people with real estate sales/purchases through Alton Erickson & Associates, our in-house real estate agency.

Contact us
Preble Farmers Mutual / Krage Insurance
Dale Krage
(507) 467-3797
Mon.- Friday 8:00-4:30pm
205 Parkway Ave N


Manion Law Firm

A full service law office, Manion Law Firm offers legal services for: family law, criminal defense, real estate, civil litigation, business law, personal injury, and estate planning. Tom Manion has been doing this locally for over 35 years.

Contact us
Manion Law Firm
(507 ) 467-2317
204 Parkway Ave N

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services

Free legal representation and advice to low income people for civil legal problems (no criminal).

Contact us
Southern MN Regional Legal Services
Client Intake: (888) 575-2954
Rochester office (serving Fillmore County, among others)
903 West Center Street, Suite 130, Rochester, MN 55902
Winona office (serving Fillmore County, among others)
66 East 3rd Street, Suite 204, Winona, MN 55987

Legal resources and information for Fillmore County has compiled a list of legal services available for low-income residents of Fillmore County.
Pdf file: Click on County Referral Fact Sheets.


24-Hour Veterinarian Services

Spring Valley Veterinary Clinic

The Clinic provides veterinary care and services for both companion and farm animals.

Contact us
Spring Valley Vet Clinic
(507) 346-2734
817 N Broadway St
Spring Valley

Emergency Veterinary Services

The emergency service is staffed during the evenings and weekend hours with veterinarians, who are trained in emergency medicine, and licensed technicians. They may be better equipped to handle life threatening illness or injuries that occur after regular business hours.

Contact us
Emergency Veterinary Services
(507) 424-3976
121 23rd Avenue SW


Dental Care

A dentist practices in Lanesboro.
The dental office of M. James Waldow, D.D.S. located at 109 coffee Street in the center of downtown Historic Lanesboro has been in Lanesboro to serve the area as a family dental practice for twenty five years. Hours by appointment 507-467-2269.

Medical Care

There is a medical clinic with family practice doctors in Preston, eight miles from Lanesboro.

Fillmore County Public Health Nursing Service
Preston, Minn. 507-765-3898

Health information and referral service for all ages. Free home visiting program for all families in Fillmore County. Low cost immunizations for all children. Safety program for toddlers, low cost well testing kits for rural families with pregnant women or infants under 1 year old, and elderly care services. Call for details. Services available on a private pay basis as well as under applicable public programs for qualified recipients.

Social Services

Lanesboro and Fillmore County are served by a wide array of services, including but not limited to counseling, alcohol and drug support groups, displaced homemaker programs, emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, home health care, support for children and adults with special needs, food shelves, transportation assistance, youth mentoring, job skills training and job search assistance.

Other resources:

First Call for Help, a 24 hour telephone service providing information and referral, telephone counseling and crisis intervention. Call 1-800-362-8255

Fillmore County Social Services - 1-507-765-2175


Childhood Education

Lanesboro Child Care Center

Day care in the Lanesboro Public School system allows children to be comfortable in a school setting. With the in-house day care, Lanesboro Public School is promoting the value of family first, developing children who are school ready, and offering convenient facilities for its patrons.

  • 1st in the State of Minnesota to offer daycare within the school system (1988)
  • Parent Aware rated by the State of Minnesota. Parent Aware is a voluntary program ensuring higher than legislated quality in early childhood education and care.
  • Caring for children between 6 weeks and 10 years old, or children in fourth grade and below.
  • LCCC employs experienced staff and qualified teachers in all rooms. Average tenure is over 9 years.
  • Hot breakfast and lunch provided by Lanesboro Public Schools.
  • Escorted to and from preschool classes within Lanesboro Elementary School.
  • Open many days that the public school is closed, including summers.
  • Fenced in play yard right outside our front entrance.
  • Planned educational activities and field trips.
  • Very competitive rates.

Contact us
Lanesboro Child Care Center
(507) 467-2175
6:30 am - 6:00 pm
100 Kirkwood St E

Lanesboro Public School

Lanesboro Public School provides our patrons with modern facilities, visionary people and traditional values. The school district emphasizes a strong basic education where students will gain command of the academic fundamentals. In our small school environment your children will be known by and receive personal attention from staff. We truly believe “small schools allow more students to shine and feel they are an integral part of their community, not just another face in the crowd”. Lanesboro patrons have a long history of supporting their school district. Since the birth of our district over 100 years ago, we have never had a referendum vote fail.

Lanesboro Public School features:

  • A student/teacher ratio of 13:1 in our K-12 programs.
  • A Spanish program offered to students beginning in 1st grade and continuing through Grade 12.
  • No student fees for any extracurricular activities
  • On state testing, the Lanesboro students have consistently scored in the top 10%.
  • Over 85% of our secondary students are involved in extra activities beyond their academic program
  • Our school has a 97% graduation rate
  • A 97% attendance rate
  • 85% of our graduates pursue post-secondary education

Contact us
Lanesboro Public Schools
Superintendent: Jeff Boggs
(507) 467-2229

Office hours
6:00 am - 4:00 pm
100 Kirkwood St E

Special Education

Lanesboro School is a member of the Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED). HVED supplies member school districts with administrative/managerial and study personnel (including related services) in Special Education.

Contact us
Hiawatha Valley Education District

Post-Secondary Education

Luther College

Located in the small northeast Iowa town of Decorah, Luther College is an undergraduate liberal arts institution of about 2,600 students. The college is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Founded in 1861 by Norwegian immigrants, Luther offers more than 60 majors, and pre-professional and certificate programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Its mission statement emphasizes faith, leadership, and community service. Luther College provides equal opportunity for all qualified persons in its educational programs and activities.

Contact us
Luther College
(563) 387-2000
(800) 258-8437
700 College Dr
Decorah, IA 52101

Rochester Community Technical College (RCTC)

Member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system

Contact us
Rochester Community Technical College
(507) 285-7210
(800) 247-1296
851 30th Ave SE
Rochester, MN 55904-4999

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

The mission of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, a Catholic, comprehensive, and coeducational institution, is to serve diverse communities of learners who seek intellectually stimulating educational programs which embrace a values orientation and foster ethical development. The University seeks to generate specific benefits for its students: enhanced spiritual and personal lives, professional competencies, and a commitment to and appreciation for lifelong learning.

Contact us
Winona (Main Campus) Rochester Center
(800) 635-5987 (507) 285-1410
(507) 452-4430 (877) 768-4545

700 Terrace Heights 1926 Collegeview Drive S.E.
Winona, Minnesota 55987-1399 Rochester, MN 55904-4999

Winona State University

Located in the magnificent Bluff Country, the university offers 80 academic majors and 10 pre-professional programs to an enrollment of 7,000 students.

Contact us
Winona State University
(800) 342-5978
175 West Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987

Lessons and Life-long Learning

Art Classes

Crown Trout Jewelers

Jewelry making classes available. Crown Trout Jewelers is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the tradition and beauty of silver and goldsmithing. As artists we endeavor to educate and empower individuals with the knowledge and history of our art in an effort to elevate public appreciation for superb skill and find hand craftsmanship.

Contact us
Crown Trout Jewelers
(888) 750-9294
(507) 467-3078
107 Parkway Ave N

Lanesboro Arts Center

Hands-on visual and literary arts classes are offered periodically by Lanesboro Arts Center. The Center is a professional, not-for-profit organization which serves as a catalyst for artistic and educational development in southeastern Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Dedicated to providing meaningful art experiences for people of all ages, Lanesboro Arts Center offers workshops, in-school programs and challenging visual art exhibits.

Contact us
Lanesboro Art Center
(507) 467-2446
103 Parkway Ave N

Community Education

The Lanesboro Community Education program, offered through the Lanesboro Public School, gives members of the community a chance to pursue new areas of interest. Classes are taught throughout the year. Schedules are listed in the Community Education newsletter:

Some of the programs offered at/by the school

• Senior Driver Improvement Certification
• Driver re-certification
• Tae Kwon Do
• Youth dance classes
• Special events for adults and youth
• Early Childhood Parenting
• Santa’s Workshop
• Story time @ Lanesboro Public Library
• Adult Basic Education (ABE)

ABE is a free educational program for adult learners (16+ years old) offering a variety of programs.
o GED practice and test preparation
o Basic skills (reading, writing, math)
o Improve job skills
o English as a Second Language (ESL)
o Help in completing credits towards adult high school diploma
o Individual tutoring for basic dreading, English and citizenship

• Early Childhood Family Education Classes (ECFE)
Recognizing that parents are a child's first and most significant teachers, ECFE offers a variety of classes and resources for parents and children, birth through kindergarten age. ECFE helps build healthy families and sets the stage for parent involvement and children’s success in Kindergarten to Grade 12 education.
For additional info, go to

Contact us
Lanesboro Community Education
Director: John Smith
(507) 467-2229
100 Kirkwood St E

Please note: Community Education appreciates members of the community and surrounding area, who wish to share their special talents and skills with others. In order to avoid unnecessary duplication, Community Ed. cooperates and coordinates program offerings with other agencies. Any group/organization/agency, who would like to work with Community Ed., please contact the office.

Music Lessons

Contact us
Lanesboro School District

Nature Centers

Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

Founded in 1978, Eagle Bluff is a private, not-for-profit residential environmental learning center which provides accredited environmental education programs and outdoor experiences. School groups from all over a three-state area build exciting and effective Eagle Bluff experiences into their curricula. Families, church groups, and conservation organizations, to mention just a few, can share together a Tree Tops High Ropes challenge, a gourmet banquet, or a quality educational program. The Center is a place to learn a little of the natural and cultural history of southeastern Minnesota.

There is something for everyone at Eagle Bluff:
o Environmental education programs for school and youth groups K-12
o Group challenges and team-building activities for students, adults, businesses, and families
o Two Tree Tops High Ropes courses and a rock-climbing wall
o Gathering spaces for special events: Conference center, banquet facilities, and hospitality services
o Host a group retreat, meeting, conference, workshop or family reunion!
o Family Get Away Weekends and events
o Outdoor Skills Programs –summer camps and weekend clinics for youth and adults
o Miles and miles of nature trails

Contact us
Eagle Bluff Learning Center
(507) 467-2437
(888) 800-9558
28097 Goodview Drive

Houston Nature Center

The easternmost Root River trailhead is the home of the Houston Nature Center. The Center is focused on local wildlife – things that are in the area, used to be here, or show up on occasion. Because of its resident Great Horned Owl, Alice, owls have become a focal point resulting in an annual International Festival of Owls.
The trailhead also offers free showers, clean restrooms, native plantings, recycled bicycle art, and vehicle shuttle service, earning the reputation as the best trailhead in the state!

Contact us
Houston Nature Center
507-896-HOOT (4668)
507-896-5668 FAX
215 W Plum St
Houston, MN 55943

Firearms Safety

Eagle Bluff Learning Center, in collaboration with the Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Association, conducts a Forkhorn youth camp for ages 11-17. Folkhorn 1 Camp is designed for beginning hunters providing extensive hands-on instruction of basic firearms safety, shooting techniques in rifle, shotgun, black powder and archery. Outdoor survival skills, map and compass orienteering, wildlife management and hunting tips for both big and small game are included.

Contact us
Eagle Bluff Learning Center
(507) 467-2437
(888) 800-9558

Contact us
MN Deer Hunter’s Association
(218) 327-1103

Culture & Recreation – The Fun Stuff

In 1942, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis wrote that the Lanesboro area was "...worthy of Vermont in its sturdy quietude. Through all this district, secret little valleys branch off from the major valleys of the Root River, and there is room enough and view enough for 11,000 poets."

Promoted in the late 1860s to east coast investors as an idyllic retreat, Lanesboro was established as a resort community and soon realized an impressive boom due to its unparalleled waterpower. Progressing not as a tourist area, but rather along other avenues of commerce, the community once hailed as the 'biggest little town in southeastern Minnesota' fell off the fast track of growth before its charm could be diminished by too much progress. Today Lanesboro's beautiful 1870s downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the entire city is a haven for the arts, and a showcase for the natural beauty that Sinclair Lewis touted more than seventy years ago.

--- from Lanesboro, MN: Historic Destination, by Don Ward & Ted St Mane


America’s Top Small Town

Lanesboro is nationally recognized as the small town with a superior quality of life. In 1998, Lanesboro received the Great American Main Street Award. Our town has been rated one of the 50 Best Outdoor Sports Towns by.Sports Afield magazine. In his book, author John Villani recognized the community as one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America. Minnesota Monthly’s 2013 Ultimate Summer Travel Guide featured Lanesboro first in their brief list of small town travel destinations.

Lanesboro features numerous arts and culture offerings including the 25-year-old Commonweal Theatre Company and the Lanesboro Arts Center. In June, the town hosts its annual “Art in the Park” festival, which brings more than 90 fine arts and craft exhibitors to town.

Recently, ArtPlace America— a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks, and federal agencies committed to accelerating creative placemaking— awarded Lanesboro Art Center $313,000 to facilitate the development of the Lanesboro Arts Campus, part of a mission to create the kind of place where people want to live, work, and visit.

Annual Events

We’re proud of our diversity of cultures and heritage. There are several events, unique to Lanesboro, which reflect this. Everyone is encouraged to participate, either by attending or volunteering. Our annual events are listed here. There are many other activities and events all year. Information about what is happening in Lanesboro is listed in the community calendar located on

Annual Events in Lanesboro
Candle Light Cross-Country Ski (Whalan) First Saturday of February
Earth Day Celebration End of April
Stand Still Parade (Whalan) Third Saturday of May
Rhubarb Festival First Saturday of June
Art in the Park Father's Day
Buffalo Bill Days First Weekend in August
Cookie Walk October (Check Calendar)
Small Business Saturday Saturday After Thanksgiving
Holiday Dinner Dance First Saturday of December
Holiday Sing-Along Friday Before Christmas

Legacy Destination

Lanesboro is a successful, prosperous community. Our many cultural and recreational achievements and enhancements have often been funded by grants provided and augmented by Legacy Funds.

In 2008, Minnesota's voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution to: protect drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.

A website was created by the Minnesota Legislature to help citizens monitor how dollars from the Legacy Amendment and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund are being invested in the state. Doing a search for “Lanesboro” will present a list of projects supporting Lanesboro’s many facets – art, history, environment, recreation.

Contact us

The Arts

Commonweal Theatre

A Unique Company “… one of the leading rural professional theatre companies in America.”
-Joe Dowling, Artistic Director, Guthrie Theater

Since 1989, the professional artists of the Commonweal have brought to life soulful stories told with honesty and creativity. In beautiful southeast Minnesota’s bluff country, Lanesboro is home to the company’s new theatre, located in the city’s historic downtown.

The heart of the Commonweal’s programming is the main stage season with more than 200 performances annually. This balanced, yet challenging, repertory, comprised of up to six plays, are chosen from among the world’s finest classic, contemporary and emerging playwrights. Because Lanesboro is located amidst a high concentration of Norwegian-American families, the Commonweal produces the works of Henrik Ibsen, and remains the only theatre company in North America with such a commitment.

The Commonweal boasts a rare organizational model, with resident company members fulfilling the day-to-day artistic and operational needs of the company. These artist/administrators come from all over the country to make their home in the Lanesboro area.

In July, 2007, the Commonweal Theatre moved into a new home. The $3.5 million facility opened to widespread acclaim. While offering patrons a welcoming intimate experience in a 200-seat house, the exterior façade recreates three charming Lanesboro shop fronts, and the interior design focuses on the natural beauty and history of the region with barn doors acting as bathroom stalls, stone walls mirroring the surrounding bluffs, concrete floors reflecting the building’s prior life as a cheese factory, and seats reclaimed form the original Guthrie Theater.

The Free County Nights Program offers free performances to theatre lovers living and/or working in Fillmore or Houston Counties. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly recommended at least two weeks in advance. There is a limit of four free tickets per household.

Contact Us
Adrienne Sweeney
(800) 657-7025
208 Parkway Ave N

Lanesboro Arts

Lanesboro Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization activating the people and places of Lanesboro through community programming, professional art galleries, performing arts at the historic St. Mane Theatre, educational activities, public art, and more. Lanesboro Arts is a nationally-recognized leader in utilizing the arts for small town revitalization and community development; its work has been recognized by ArtPlace America, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bush Prize for Community Innovation.

Lanesboro Arts Center’s year-round programming includes galleries featuring artwork by 90+ regional and nationally acclaimed artists in our Juried Sales and Exhibition Galleries (oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, photography, ceramic, wood, glass, metal, fiber, jewelry); ‘Art in the Park’ Annual Father’s Day Celebration; Artist Residency Program; Picture Parade art curriculum in elementary schools; gallery tours and artist demonstrations; workshops; Kids Create! Family Art Projects; Discover Sculpture Explore Lanesboro medallion walking tours. Events are always free.

Contact Us
Sara Baskett, Program/Marketing Director
(507) 467-2446
103 Parkway Ave N

St Mane Theatre

Lanesboro's historic St. Mane Theatre hosts year-round entertainment: films, music of all flavors (pop, jazz, folk, bluegrass, etc.), literary and theater performances. It’s home to a thriving community theater, “Lanesboro Live 2013 Conversation, Comedy & Cool Jams” show, and the “Over the Back Fence” radio show.

The theater is administered by the Lanesboro Arts Center.
Many events are free or goodwill donation.

Contact Us
Sara Decker, Program/Marketing Director
(507) 467-2446


Lanesboro has the great fortune of being located at the nexus of incredible natural resources making residence here a constant delight as well as providing opportunities for many recreational activities.

…the southeast corner of Minnesota is a rugged land of wild timber and rushing streams, but it is also reminiscent of southern foothills – of parts of the Appalachians, of the Ozarks – a land of hills and hollows. It greens early in spring and wildflowers bloom first in the deep gorges. Its climate is more southern than the climate of the rest of Minnesota; its timbered valleys are lush with black walnut on the bottoms and hickory in the hills – neither found to the north; here are wild turkey, bobwhite quail, possums, and huge timber rattlers. It is a region with hundreds of small stream valleys and high, wild, bosky ravines. The southeast contains many superb trout and smallmouth bass streams; deep, misty gorges with placid canoe waters; caves and caverns of unsurpassed beauty; and clear, cold springs and cave-openings where sparkling trout streams erupt into rushing rapids.

The southeast has other surprises, too, for these hills are significantly unlike the southern mountains; more than one adventurer clambering up a wild streamcourse has emerged at the top to view not dark green valleys and shadowed rock ramparts, but the edge of a cornfield – and beyond, a vast rolling plain, dotted with farmhouse, barn, and silo. This is the “driftless area” – a land the glaciers missed – a rugged land carved by a sequence of geological events unique on the North American continent.

The Root River watershed includes 1,670 square miles. The river has three branches: North, Middle (known locally as North), and South. There are no natural lakes in the Root watershed, which makes a mosquito an unusual occurrence.

The Root must be regarded as one of Minnesota’s outstanding canoeing resources. Several routes exist on all three branches… The lower gorge from Lanesboro down – a distance of fifty miles to the Mississippi – is the outstanding reach for rugged hills, bluffs, and slowly meandering river.

…the southeast’s streams and rivers offer superb angling, particularly for trout and smallmouth bass. … there are about 275 miles of trout water. More than half are classified by the Minnesota DNR as offering “good” or “prime” trout fishing.

…the Minnesota portion of the driftless area is encompassed by the Richard J Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. It is the largest of Minnesota’s state forests, about two million acres. The Minnesota legislature’s objectives are to “preserve the scenic beauty of the marvelous bluffs … provide camping sites, canoe routes, hiking and bridle trails and facilities for every type of winter sports and … furnish excellent hunting and fishing in exceptional surroundings.

--- from The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota - by Thomas F Waters

State Forest

The Lanesboro area is located within the Richard J Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest, which was created to foster conservation in an area that had become eroded and damaged due to unwise land management practices. The Dorer Memorial Forest is unusual in that the vast majority is not public. In fact, most is not even forested. State-owned forest land totals about 45,000 acres within a boundary enclosing 2 million acres. Driving by the cornfields on the flat uplands, you may be completely unaware you are in a state forest. Most Dorer Forest land is concentrated in several large management units.

The Isinours unit is a block of 188 acres near Preston. There is a picnic area next to the Root River trail. A carry-in campsite provides a long view of the Watson Creek valley. It’s also a great place to get on the trail.

The Brightsdale unit, located on the North Branch of the Root River upstream from Lanesboro, was once the site of a hydroelectric station that diverted part of the river's flow through a bluff of solid rock to a powerhouse on the downstream side of the ridge. There is a trail through a walnut plantation, pine plantation, openings cut in the forest to benefit various wildlife species, and cropland leased to provide food for wildlife.

The Gribben Valley unit takes in most of the valley of its namesake creek.

The Trail

from the Department of Natural Resources Web Site -

“The Root River State Trail is a 42 mile long multiple use trail through the quaint and picturesque rural communities of Fountain, Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford and Houston. This asphalt trail was mainly constructed upon an abandoned railroad grade which is generally level and wheelchair accessible. Newly paved in 1999, the eastern segment between Money Creek Woods and Houston is relatively more challenging than the western segment with a rather steep, half-mile segment that may not be suitable for all users.

“Bicycling, in-line skating, and hiking are the main summer uses of the trail. Cross country skiing is popular in the winter. The Fillmore and Houston county Grants-in-Aid (GIA) trail system, which provides many miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the area, intersects briefly with the Root River State Trail.

“The Root River State Trail provides outstanding views of the soaring limestone bluffs of the Root River Valley. Wildlife is abundant and sightings of wild turkey, deer, hawks and turkey vultures are common. Rattlesnakes, a state threatened and protected species, are occasionally found on rock outcrops, along the river bottoms, or sunning themselves on the trail. They are non-aggressive and they should be left alone!”

Running right through the middle of town is one of the best hike/bike trails in the country. It was built on the railroad bed of the Milwaukee Railroad. Because trains can’t go up steep hills, the trail has few grades over 4%, and everyone – from small children and the handicapped to expert bikers – can enjoy using it.

A second trail, the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail, intersects the Root River Trail at the far west end, just before reaching Preston. At the ends of the trails (many miles from Lanesboro!), some sections weren’t built on the railroad bed, and, in those places, the trail can be quite challenging for the non-expert traveler. The entire trail is paved so any non-motorized mode of transport is acceptable:

  • Bikes
  • Feet
  • Skis
  • Skates
  • Wheelchairs (motorized permitted)

There are several picnic areas along the way. The Root River & Harmony-Preston Trails map includes their locations.

Trail Map

Trail maps are available at most businesses and the Visitors Center.
Printable version

Ski Pass

Ski passes are available at the Minnesota DNR website, the local BP station and the Visitors Center.

Contact Us
Lanesboro Visitor Center
(507) 467-2696
(800) 657-7025
100 Milwaukee

Contact Us
Lanesboro BP Gas Station & Food Shop
100 Sheridan St W

Contact Us
Minnesota DNR


In town, there are outfitters that can provide you with any equipment you may need, from guides, shuttles, bikes of all kinds (including kid-size), tubes, canoes, kayaks, clothing, and accessories for it all.

The River

from the Department of Natural Resources Web Site -

The Root River has gentle to moderate flow with a few riffles. The water level varies substantially with rainfall. The river offers wonderful opportunities for family day trips, and towns along the river offer historical sights, services, and hospitality. Those who are more adventurous can take advantage of the canoe campsites for overnight trips.

Water characteristics
The water flow on the Root River ranges from gentle to moderate. From Chatfield to the Mississippi River the river falls 310 feet for an average drop of 3.4 feet per mile. River levels peak in mid-March and once again in June. Though the watershed has many spring-fed clear water tributaries including the South Branch, the Root River is somewhat cloudy due to erosive soil types in the watershed.

Formed of two branches in the west, the North and Middle, the Root River winds past towering bluffs topped with oak and hickory. Joined above the town of Whalan by the South Branch, a tributary which flows from Mystery Cave (Hwy 16, west of Preston), the river continues its way past bluffs and outcrops until reaching Rushford. There the river straightens as the valley broadens considerably. The scenery then settles into a gentle plain of pastureland and mixed cottonwood and maple with wooded rolling hills visible in the distance.

Fish and wildlife
The Root River supports over 40 species of birds. It is quite common to see blue herons, egrets, and wood ducks moving about the river's edge. Raptors in the area include red-tailed hawks, osprey, turkey vultures, and bald eagles. Wooded shores harbor mammals such as deer, gray fox, red fox, coyotes, raccoons, woodchucks, squirrels, weasels, and badgers. River otters and beaver can be found in the water. Lizards such as the skink, racerunner, and many species of snakes, including the timber rattlesnake, can be found along the banks and outcrops. There are many species of fish inhabiting the river including trout, small mouth bass, channel catfish, rock bass, sunfish, crappies, and rough fish. Most of these can be found in the active stretches of pooled areas in the river.

Trout Fishing

Most of the streams arise from springs and are cool in summer. The water is hard, nonacid, alkaline and very productive. Southeast streams produce frequent hatches of mayflies, caddis flies and midges, all of which provide food for trout. Three species of trout are located within a 20 minute drive of Lanesboro - brown, brook and rainbow. Brown trout can be found in the clearer and colder spring-fed streams, as well as the western end of the South Branch.

All anglers fishing in the designated trout waters are required to have a current trout stamp. Fishing licenses can be obtained from the local BP station and Minnesota DNR website.

Fishing License

Contact Us
Lanesboro BP Gas Station & Food Shop
100 Sheridan St W
Contact Us
Minnesota DNR

Trout Stream Maps

Trout Fishing Guides

National Trout Center

The rivers and streams of Southeastern Minnesota are nationally famous for trout fishing, and Preston has been designated Minnesota’s trout fishing capital.

Contact Us
National Trout Center
(507) 867-8801
120 Saint Anthony St
Preston, MN 55965

Fish Hatchery

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fish Hatchery is located just outside of Lanesboro. Minnesota’s largest coldwater production hatchery focuses on hatching and protecting trout for the region's trout streams, as well as improving access to these streams. The hatchery includes a walking trail where visitors can learn about ideal conditions for trout.

Contact Us
Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery
(507) 467-3771


Southeastern Minnesota is known to have excellent deer and turkey hunting. Wildlife Management areas and nearby Richter Dorer State Forest areas offer ample public hunting grounds. The scenery is magnificent and the bounty is plentiful.

Shooting ranges

Minnesota DNR has undertaken the creation of a directory of shooting ranges, including firearm ranges, archery ranges and shooting preserves. This effort is intended help direct shooters to venues they can use, whether the range is close to home or the hunting field. Shooters interested in recreational shooting, teaching youth, or, getting familiar with handling their firearms prior to hunting seasons can use the directory in order to find an appropriate, safe shooting venue. If you intend to visit a range, be sure to make contact with its operators ahead of time, to verify both hours of operation, and the type(s) of shooting venues offered.

Contact us
Lanesboro Rod & Gun Club
(507) 467-2619
PO Box 83
Lanesboro, MN 55949

More to do, places to go, people to see

The Amish

Located between Lanesboro, Harmony and Canton, Minnesota’s largest Old Order Amish community open their homes and farms to the public, Mon-Sat, providing a glimpse into their unique culture and lifestyle. More in-depth
details about history, location, and what makes them so distinctive, can be obtained through tours available in town.

Contact Us
Amish Tours by R&M
(507) 467-2128
105 Coffee St.

Contact Us
Bluffscape Amish Tours
(507) 467-3070
102 E Beacon St


Lanesboro Golf Course

A beautiful, 9-hole golf course is located on the south ridge of town. It is open to the public, has a bar and restaurant, and a spectacular view. Golf carts are available for rent.

Contact Us
Lanesboro Golf Course
(507) 467-3742
1000 Parkway Ave S


Gator Greens Mini Golf

Located in Whalan, 4 miles east of Lanesboro, is the area’s finest lighted miniature golf course. We also offer kayak and tube rentals, shuttle service, a picnic area and more. Access is easy – it’s right next to the Root River Trail.

Contact Us
Gator Greens Mini Golf
(507) 467-3000
Wednesday – Monday: 10 am - 7 pm
439 Half St, Whalan

Lanesboro Park System

The 5-member, volunteer Park Board is responsible for all decisions, maintenance and repairs pertaining to the City buildings, parks(4) and campgrounds(2).

Sylvan Park

The park, located next to the Community Center, is 11.5 acres, including two spring-fed ponds that are stocked with trout by the DNR. Park amenities include picnic shelters (including grill and water), basketball courts, tennis courts, extensive playground, campground and gazebo. The gazebo, used for events such as concert and weddings, is available for rental. Contact the Park Board for more info. Night lighting of the tennis courts is available for a small fee.

Softball Field

The softball field is located on the north side of County Road 8. Facilities include lights, bleachers, concession stand and parking lot. In the winter, the field will be frozen for ice skating and hockey.

Bass Pond

The Bass Pond is located on the south of County Road 8. It is stocked with fish by the DNR.
Facilities include a handicapped accessible fishing pier and parking lot, which connects the area with the bike trail, and the walking bridge, which provides the ability to cross the river without having to walk on County Road 8.

Skateboard Park

The skateboard park is located on the west side of the Bass Pond parking lot.

Contact us
Lanesboro Park Dept
(507) 467-3722

Municipal Campgrounds

There are two self-serve campgrounds within the town. Sylvan Campground is located in Sylvan Park. Riverview Campground is located behind the football field, next to the river, just upstream from the dam. Both operate on a first-come, first-served, basis. No reservations can be made. Facilities include 43 RV/camper sites with water and electric, 60 tent sites. Showers (bring quarters), restrooms, and a dump station for RV waste removal, are available. Check out the link called Camping and Conventions for more information.

Contact us
Lanesboro City Office
(507) 467-3722

Special alert for campers and vacationers - Don't transport firewood unless it's MDA Certified

  • Don’t transport firewood. Rather than bringing firewood to your campground or cabin, buy locally grown firewood at the campground or in the town you’ll be visiting.
  • Buy only the amount you need for your trip and burn it all. Firewood can harbor invasive insect species and tree pests. If you leave any firewood behind or take it home, you could be spreading these tree pests.
  • Buy MDA certified firewood. This firewood is sold from a kiln that has been certified by MDA to treat for emerald ash borer based on national standards. This wood is safe to move throughout the country without being or becoming infested.

Community Service Organizations

Lanesboro is proud of the dedication of its citizens to community service and having fun! Anyone who wishes to serve has many choices for how to share their time and talents. Newcomers are welcome to join in - volunteer energy is a valued commodity in Lanesboro. You can really make a difference here!

4-H Clubs

4-H is a program coordinated for and by youth to encourage leadership and learning in a fun environment. Throughout the year, meetings are held monthly to take care of club business with various activities following the meeting. Members of the club prepare a wide variety of projects during the year to exhibit at the county fair along with other county-wide 4-H clubs. Project areas include everything: pets, entomology, wildlife, indoor gardening, aerospace, goats, beef, food and nutrition, poultry, woodworking, child development, vet science, tractors, and dairy cattle. If members place well at the county fair they often have the option to exhibit at state fair with other state-wide members. Members also have the opportunity to travel nationwide through several camps and conventions also held by the 4-H program.

Research shows that learn-by-doing opportunities for youth – where they decide what and how they want to learn– are critical for their positive development. And this type of learning only happens in youth programs like 4-H. Call the Fillmore County Extension Office at (507) 765-3896 and they will put you in contact with the current club leaders.

Lanesboro Livewires 4-H Club

The club is an active group of youth with a current enrollment of approximately 50 members. The club meets most often on the second Sunday of each month. Cloverbud enrollment is available for Kindergarten through second grade. Full membership is for those in third through twelfth grade. The 4-H Club is involved in community pride projects and county 4-H activities. For over 30 years, the annual Oyster Stew, Chili, and Chicken Noodle Soup Supper in January is always a successful fundraiser. If you want to make new friends, learn new things, share ideas, help others, and have fun, join us.

Arendahl Hi-Flyers 4-H Club

This club is located north of Lanesboro, and provides an array of activities for a broad range of ages.

Contact us
University of MN Fillmore County Extension
(507) 765-3896
902 Houston St NW #3
Preston, MN 55965-1080

American Legion

Legion meetings are the second Tuesday of each month at 7 PM located upstairs in the Legion

Contact us
Glen Jenssen
(507) 467-3440

Legion hours
Monday – Friday open at 3 pm, Sat open 12:30 pm - 3 pm
Happy Hour Monday - Thursday 4 pm - 6:30 pm, Fri 3 pm - 7 pm
Meat Raffle Every Friday at 6:30 pm ... Come Early - Seating Goes Fast!
103 ½ Elmwood St E

American Legion Auxiliary

Auxiliary meetings are the second Tuesday of September, November, January, March, and May at 7 PM located upstairs in the Legion. Contact Marge Fuller or Gwen Harmon for applications

Contact us
President, Anne Tuff
(507) 259-1508
103 ½ Elmwood St E

Booster Club

The Lanesboro Booster Club is a fundraising organization that supports Lanesboro School students’ academic, artistic and athletic endeavors by helping to provide athletic uniforms, trips and scholarship money. Individuals and businesses that wish to become members pay dues. The club also generates funds by selling “Burros” clothing, running several food stands, as well as hosting an annual golf tournament in August. Anyone can be a member.

Please consider volunteering for one of these activities:
• Homecoming BBQ
• Burro Wear Sales at Games
• Annual “Burro Pride” Golf Tournament (August)
• Future Board Member

Contact us
Denise Darling
(507) 467-2229
Office hours
6:00 am - 4:00 pm
100 Kirkwood St E

Friends of the Lanesboro Library

The mission of the Friends of the Lanesboro Library is to promote the use of the library and encourage the love of reading. The Friends helps support the Lanesboro Library through volunteering at library events, raising funds, and speaking up in the community on behalf of library programs, services and value to the community. Friends are library ambassadors in Lanesboro, providing local, grassroots support. Friends of the Lanesboro Library continually work to build a community location focused on being a leader in supplying a place in which literary, reference, musical, artistic and digital materials are available for enrichment of our community members, enabling us to build stronger minds, hearts, and community.

And we’re fun! Come join us! Here's how: Stop in at the library and the librarian will be glad to help you.

Contact us
Tara Johnson
(507) 467-2649
On-going Book Sale
Continuous book sale whenever library is open
4 meetings annually, second Wednesday of the month
202 Parkway Ave S (lower level)

Lanesboro Historical Preservation Association (Museum)

The Lanesboro historical Association oversees the Lanesboro Museum. The Museum is located in downtown Historic Lanesboro, next to the Root River State Bike Trail. It has a large three-floor collection of items from the past of Lanesboro. The museum building is owned by the City of Lanesboro, and maintained by the Park Board. Because the Park Board has a zero lease, the Association can run the museum and share the origins of Lanesboro with the public at low cost. The Museum depends upon membership dues and donations (money and items from the past). Everyone is welcome to come in and enjoy this link to the past. Admission is free.

Contact us
Lanesboro Historical Association
(507) 467-2177
Vary through the year
105 Parkway Ave S
Lanesboro, MN, 55949

Lions Club

The Lions are a service organization dedicated to serving their communities and other humanitarian causes in their state, nation and around the world. Some service activities supported by the Lanesboro Lions include: local community service projects, breakfast with Santa, Buffalo Bill Days, Lanesboro Public Library ,Peace Poster, Bean Bag Tournaments, Lanesboro Summer Recreation Programs, Camp Winnebago, 5th Grade trip to Eagle Bluff, used eyeglasses and hearing aid collection, scholarships for local high school students. The Lions meet at the Cottage House Inn for coffee.

We invite new members, Men and Women to come and join our local Lions Club.
Guests are always welcome.

Contact us
President, Steve Olson
(507) 467-2930
Second Saturday of the month: 7 am
Cottage House Inn
209 Parkway Avenue North

Sons of Norway Lodge #376

Heimbygda (“Home Town”) Lodge numbers over 75 members and continues to grow. Members share Norwegian traditions along with their interest in Norwegian Heritage and culture with the people of southeastern Minnesota. Lodge members also serve their hometowns in a wide variety of capacities, to the school, library, churches and other community organizations. Heimbygda Lodge meets at 7:30 pm on the first Thursday each month at the Sons of Norway Lodge, located on Parkway Avenue, next to the beautiful Sylvan Park. A short business meeting is followed by a program – anything from community interests to Norwegian history. The evening concludes with fellowship and refreshments. Heimbygda Lodge also hosts a Spring Luncheon during Ibsen Festival in April, lunch with coffee at the Rhubarb Festival in June, and a traditional Norwegian Breakfast, Labor Day Saturday. In October, you can buy cookies by the pound at the Cookie Walk in October.

Contact us
Lodge President, David Susag
(507) 467-0100
First Thursday of the month: 7:30 pm
Sons of Norway Lodge
108 Parkway Avenue South


Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The Reverend Kerry B. Eversole and his wife Cindy Cordes-Eversole are currently serving the church as Pastor and Associate in Ministry, respectively. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month. From September to May, Christian education classes are held on Sunday mornings at 10:15 am.

Contact us
Bethlehem Lutheran
Pastor, Kerry Eversole
(507) 467-3344

Sun: 9am
Office Hours
Tues – Thurs: 10 am - 3 pm
200 Kenilworth Avenue South
Located at the top of “Church Hill”

Elstad Lutheran Church

Elstad Lutheran Church is among the oldest Lutheran churches in Minnesota. It is a small rural church surrounded by the fields and woods of Southeastern Minnesota. Come visit! Worship schedule is seasonal. Call for schedule, or check the event calendar on our website.

Contact us
Elstad Lutheran
Pastor, Kay Wold
(507) 467-2113

37784 Dogwood Rd
6 miles south of Lanesboro, off Hwy 21. Follow the signs. Turn east for ¾ miles on a gravel road

Highland Lutheran Church

Contact us
Highland Lutheran Church
(507) 467-3318

9 am, worship
10:15 am, education
22423 391st Ave

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

Established in 1872, Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church overlooks the city of Lanesboro from atop Church Hill. Today we are a vibrant, welcoming community of believers grounded in traditional Catholic values lived out in a contemporary environment. Our liturgies are faith filled and energetic, inviting all to full, conscious and active participation. Saint Patrick’s provides a life-long faith formation program, which provides opportunities, not only to grow in ones own personal faith, but to grow in an understanding of the faith tradition of the Catholic Church.

Contact us
St. Patrick’s Catholic
Pastor, Fr Patrick Arens
(507) 467-2480

Sept – May: Sun, 8 am
June – Aug: Sat, 5 pm
100 Ridgeview Ln
Located at the top of “Church Hill”

United Methodist Church

Open hearts, open minds, open doors...the people of the United Methodist Church. We are handicap accessible and have a children's nursery. Call us for more information about programs and ministries.

Contact us
United Methodist
Pastor, Amanda Larsen
(507) 467-2646
10:30 am, Worship
507 Parkway Ave S

Whalan Lutheran Church

Whalan Lutheran, a small rural congregation set in scenic Whalan above the Root River Bike Trail, welcomes visitors.

Contact us
Whalan Lutheran Church
(507) 467- 2663
(507) 467-2398
516 New St
4 miles E of Lanesboro off Hwy 16

History, Demographics & Weather – Odds & Ends


Landform and community size in the valley reinforce a sense of cohesion and closeness. The narrow two-story commercial buildings, older homes, and compact residential areas all contribute to the impression that change has generally been gradual.

Immigrant groups have made local architectural contributions through the introduction of old world construction details. These details provide a counterpoint to the general character of the wood frame buildings of the Root River Valley, contributing to a fine blend of continuity and change. Old buildings are still heavily used. Lanesboro’s downtown area is of notable historic interest. Many structures remain largely unchanged from the early days of settlement.

The Root River, the sheer cliff at the north side of town, and the surrounding hills and bluffs give Lanesboro a dramatic physical setting unique in southeastern Minnesota. The hill in the center of town, crowned by two churches and school, are a focal point for the whole town. The town is visible from an overlook (Inspiration Point) along Highway 16, about two miles southwest of Lanesboro.

--- from a report done by the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA)

Some believe the town’s name was given as a result of the early settlers coming from Lanesboro Township in Massachusetts, while others believe the name honors F.A. Lane, one of the stockholders in the town site company. Others say this small town acquired its name from the Lanesboro Townsite Co., which was organized with New York capital to build a resort in Southeastern Minnesota. Lanesboro was chosen and about 3,000 acres of land were purchased for $30/acre. After its purchase in 1868, the town grew rapidly. The company built a road up the west bluff so settlers could get onto the prairie to get onto homesteads. They also built a dam to create a lake intended to be used for sail boating while summer homes were to be built on its shores. The Southeastern Minnesota Railroad Company train arrived in Lanesboro, the end of the line for about two years, where they had built the Lanesboro Elevator. Mills, stores, and a brewery were built. By 1872, Cooper Shop (barrel making) made 1800 barrels a day.

In 1874, the town did some remodeling. The channel of the Root River was changed. The bend in the river was removed, so instead of running through what is now Sylvan Park, it ran directly downstream from the dam. This enabled them to extend Main Street (Parkway Avenue) to the Brooklyn side of town.

William Cody (Buffalo Bill) came to town in 1879 to visit a Civil War buddy of his, Dr. David Powell (White Beaver). The first Buffalo Bill Wild West Show was performed in Lanesboro. To this day, the town commemorates that with its annual Buffalo Bill Days.

Lester’s History of Lanesboro, 20 July 2011

We will start our history tour just before the Civil War.

There were a couple of farms in the area but it was still a very desolate area to live in.

If you wanted to sell anything, you would have to take your oxcart two days to the Mississippi river to Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and then two long days back.

Descendants of the Scanlon farm still run the Scanlon House B&B at the end of Parkway Ave.

The Civil War was fought from 1861 through 1865.

In 1866, there was thought of building a railroad up this valley.

In 1867, while surveying, they found a really good place for a dam where the river flowed through a narrows in the rock and there was abundant rock nearby to use in building a dam.

In 1868, the Lanesboro Town Site Company was founded in New York for the purpose of raising money to develop this area as a tourist Mecca for people from the east to enjoy scenery rivaling Switzerland. That is their ad, not mine.

So, in 1868, lumber was brought here by oxcart from Rushford, 20 miles to the east, to build housing for workers. Rushford was as far as the railroad went at that time.

Then construction began on the Phoenix Hotel and the dam.

When the hotel was completed two years later, it was the biggest and fanciest hotel in Minnesota. It was three and four stories tall. The hotel eventually burned in 1885. The stone from the hotel was recycled into what are currently the Old Village Hall restaurant and the American Legion building.

When the dam was completed it formed a lake two and one half miles long and half a mile wide. It was useful for recreational boating and swimming. The dam facility includes a canal that had three grist mills for grinding the farmers’ wheat into flour. As the virgin soil became exhausted, farmers switched to other crops and the mills became less important. They all eventually burned. Today the canal feeds the power plant where we turn out one hundred kilowatts of green electrical power, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That is enough power for 1000 100-watt bulbs. Enough for a light bulb in every house in Lanesboro, as long as no one turns on an air conditioner. Not bad for a 130 year old dam.

The railroad continued until being disbanded in 1978.

Construction of the bicycle trail started in 1988 and brought the town back to life.

Historic Architecture

Lanesboro has a compact and well-defined downtown, much of which has been designated a National Historic District. Strewn all about town are architectural gems, many built in the 1800’s. There is an active Heritage Preservation Commission. Many historic homes are used as Bed & Breakfasts, contributing to our reputation as the Bed & Breakfast capital of Minnesota. Atop the hill in the center of town, are two churches, which is why the hill is called Church Hill. Both churches were constructed using limestone quarried from the surrounding bluffs (1868-1872).

A school was built on Church Hill, replacing the first house built in Lanesboro. The first graduating class was in 1880. After the new school was built, the old school wasn’t used until recently, when it was converted to condominiums. The Lanesboro Public Library traces its roots back to 1927.

Lanesboro Museum

The museum has a wonderful collection with three floors of exciting exhibits including: bridal room, school room, military room, etc. Donations welcome.

Contact Us
Lanesboro Historical Preservation Association
Fri – Sun: 1 - 5 pm
105 Parkway Ave S

History of Fillmore County

Fillmore County, located on the southern border of Minnesota, is the second county west of the Mississippi River. Fillmore County is located on 865 square miles--that's 553,082 acres. At it’s beginning, Fillmore County included all of Houston, most of Winona and Wabasha, some of Olmsted, and a little of Dodge and Mower counties. The present boundaries were established in 1855. Fillmore County was established March 5, 1853 and was named in honor of President Millard Fillmore who was President of the United States 1850 to 1853. At the time of its statehood, Fillmore was the most populous county in Minnesota, a distinction held until 1870. Its population peak occurred in 1895 at 28,599 people.

Railroads played an integral role in the development of Fillmore County. There were three major railroads in Fillmore County. The last railroad left in the late 1970's. Railroads could make or break a town; many small towns became flourishing cities due to the business brought in by the railroads.

In it’s beginning, Fillmore County was a diversified business area. Because of its abundant water resources, sawmills, gristmills, feed mills, and woolen mills flourished. Agriculture was as important then, as it is now. According to a survey of 1,913 farms from the Census of Agriculture of 1978, approximately 483,555 acres of land were being used for farming. Due to improved farming methods, small farms have been combined into larger units. There are more acres being farmed now, but by fewer farmers. The chief crops raised are corn, soybeans, and alfalfa; the chief livestock--dairy and beef cattle, poultry, and hogs.

In 1854 and 1855, the first county seat was located in Chatfield. On March 2, 1855, Carimona was designated as the county seat. March 1, 1856, the voters of Fillmore County voted for Preston to be the county seat. On February 24, 1863, the citizens of Preston decided to erect a brick courthouse 50 feet square and two stories high on a public square; two wings were added in 1884. The present courthouse was erected in 1958 on the site of the previous courthouse.

After time, space in the courthouse became insufficient. Construction to enlarge it began in October of 1998. The new 26,320 square foot Fillmore County Office Building was completed on March 17, 2000. Public Health and Social Services moved into the upper level of this new building and Veterans Services/Emergency Management, Minnesota Extension Services, and Information Systems offices into the lower level.

Due to heightened security awareness after the September 11, 2001, attacks and the need to upgrade the original mechanical system in the courthouse, the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners approved to enter into an agreement with Kane & Johnson Architects, Inc. for architectural services for the Fillmore County Courthouse addition, remodel, and mechanical upgrade project. Construction costs totaled $3.4 million and the project, which also included asbestos abatement and technology upgrades, was funded through sales of bonds and existing resources. The project added 16,320 square feet to the existing 28,160 square feet. The courthouse was completed in February of 2005. Offices located in the courthouse include District Court, Attorney, Auditor/Treasurer, Assessor, Community Corrections, Coordinator, Planning and Zoning, and Recorder.

--- From SmallTownGems: The best, quaint, charming, historic, recommended small towns in America.

Fillmore County History Center

The Fillmore County History Center Museum and Genealogy Library is located at the start of the Root River Recreational Trail in Fountain, Minnesota, on Highway 52 and County Road 8. The History Center is home to one of Southern Minnesota’s largest collection of antique agricultural equipment. From vintage tractors to rare handmade wooden tools, the museum traces the tradition of agriculture in Fillmore County.

They also feature a wide variety of exhibits focusing on various time periods. Visit a turn-of-the-century newspaper office, an old-fashioned post office, an antique country kitchen, or nostalgic soda fountain. Children will enjoy the displays of old-fashioned dolls and toys. Ladies will be fascinated viewing exhibits of vintage and antique fashions from a bygone era.
Our collection numbers well over 15,000 three-dimensional objects plus over 10,000 printed, written, and photographic materials. The majority of artifacts date from 1860 to 1915, with a fair number of turn-of-the-century objects.

Genealogy queries may be emailed through the contact form online or sent directly to the email address.

Contact Us
Fillmore County History Center

Tues – Sat: 9am – 4pm
Closed all major holidays
202 County Rd 8
Fountain MN 55935



Located in the southeastern Minnesota county of Fillmore
In the Central Time Zone
Latitude: 43.8136
Longitude: -91.6609

Zip code: 55949

Population in 2011: 753

Males: 364 (48.4%)
Females: 389 (51.6%)

Median resident age: 49.8 years
Minnesota median age: 43.1 years

Fillmore County

County population in July 2011: 20,852 (all rural)

Land area: 861 sq. mi.
Water area: 0.9 sq. mi.

March, 2012, cost of living index in Fillmore County: 80.0 (low, U.S. average is 100)

Males: 10,416 (49.3%)
Females: 10,706 (50.7%)

Median resident age: 39.8 years
Minnesota median age: 35.4 years

Population density: 24 people per square mile (low)

There is one traffic light in Fillmore County.


Average climate in Lanesboro, Minnesota

--- Based on data reported by over 4,000 weather stations

Tornado activity

Fillmore County historical area-adjusted tornado activity is significantly below Minnesota state average. It is 2.6 times below overall U.S. average. Tornadoes in this county have caused 10 injuries recorded between 1950 and 2004.


  • Paddling Minnesota, by Greg Breining
  • Jailhouse Stories, by Neil Haugerud
  • The 100 Best Art Towns in America, by John Villani
  • Everything Rhubarb: Recipes and Stories from a Small Town that Celebrates Rhubarb, by The Divine Rhubarb Committee
  • Best of the Midwest, Rediscovering America’s Heartland, by Dan Kaercher
  • Lanesboro, MN: Historic Destination, by Don Ward & Ted St Mane
  • The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota, by Thomas F Waters


The City of Lanesboro has various permits that are required for residents and business owners. The following are a list of the current permits that the City issues. To do any of the following a resident or business owner would need a permit issued from the City office: Contact the City Administrator, 507-467-3722, or

Building Permits

If you plan to change the exterior of your home or property, please complete and submit a building permit to the city for your project. Building permits can be obtained at or from the City office.

Pet Licenses

All dogs and cats within city limits are required to be licensed by the City of Lanesboro. Please stop by the City office to license your pet. Bring in proof of your pets updated shot records. Licenses are valid for one year.