A Jaunt to Rushford

24 August 1867

At the request of a stranger we agreed to accompany him last Wednesday on short jaunt to the brand new city of Rushford, the current endpoint of the southern Minnesota railroad. Rushford lies about 33 miles from La Crosse in the northeast corner of Fillmore County, Minnesota, entirely between hills, but the valley is big enough to fit a sizeable town in it.

The place became well-known only two years ago, after one learned that the railroad must go by it; actually prior to this time there stood only a couple of farm houses, but someone with a good head for speculating created a city as he thought to hear the train whistle, i.e., he displayed the streets after the four heavenly regions and let the land be divided into construction sites and now the place already has over a hundred houses and about 1,000 inhabitants. There are already two hotels there, a number of stores, among which are some right nice ones, together with a dozen inns that carry the proud name of "saloon".

Most kinds of craftsmen are also represented, as one reports to us, only a baker is missing and the housewives must all bake their own bread. Misters Riede and Pfäfflin are building a brewery to provide the Germans with their national drink and they've found a nice place for it. Wood huts like the American pattern, 10 x 12, 12 x 16 or even 16 x 20 are put up every day and one business after another is opened and thus arises yet another American "city" and as just as one doesn't know when people are born, it's not clear if it will grow up or remain small.

The population is mostly from the northern race, the flaxen haired Norwegians who build up and live in most of the land in the area. Understandably there are some Americans there who give it a tone and shape, for wherever a new city is set up, there are always the American speculators around - for once and for all, says the Berliner. There are only a half dozen Germans there and strangely none of them are saloon proprietors! The flaxen haired monopolize here that otherwise very German branch of business. Mr. Coleman has a lumber depot here and supplies the city and region with the necessary boards.

West of Rushford is an unusually rich farm region. Miles and miles broad, as far as the eye can see, farms stretch out in rows and better farmland as what one finds in Fillmore County can't be found elsewhere in the United States. The southern Minnesota railroad presently has been graded some miles beyond Rushford and the trains only run to this place. Rushford will become therefore this fall one of the liveliest little places in the West, for the farmers from fifty to a hundred miles away must come here to the market with their fruit; one estimates that the harvest in this region was about two million bushels of wheat. (article continues)