Fire Chief Retires from ZFFD

The City of Zumbro Falls recognizes Bruce Heitmann, Fire Chief, for 43 years of dedication and service to our Community.

Bruce Heitmann has retired from the Zumbro Falls Fire Department ending over 43 years of true dedication, sacrifice & service on his part. Always there to help when needed, Bruce has served as Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Chief, a staple in the Zumbro Falls Fire department’s leadership, culture and all emergency scenes. His knowledge, professionalism, and experience has directly saved many lives!
Thank you for everything you have done and passed on to make ZFFD strong and for keeping our communities safe!

We wish you the best of everything as you retire, enjoy some much deserved R & R.
You will be missed Chief!

Bruce shared the following –
Today, December 31, 2021, is my last day responding to calls. Beginning at midnight tonight comes to an end of 43 years in the fire service. My mind tells me I am still 21 but my body tells me enough is enough, this has been quite a ride. I have worked and met with a lot of great firefighters a share many memories “Thank you” everyone.
This too is worth sharing, I don’t think there is a Fire Department out there that could top this one last Saturday. The Zumbro Falls Fire Department had a Retirement Party Open House to celebrate my retirement of 43 years in the fire service. Some of you might not know that I had the pleasure of delivering two babies in my career; one alongside of the road, a baby girl, and the other was in a snow storm. The ambulance was delayed getting to the address, a baby boy. This was 26 years ago and after the ambulance took them I never heard from them again. The guys on the department were able to track both of them down. To my surprise they walked in to my retirement party! I don’t care who you are, it brought tears to my eyes. To all the people who came “Thank You” and to the ZFFD “you knocked it out of the park!” What a Retirement Party, I challenge any department to top that, Lol.
Bruce Heitmann

The Zumbro Parkway Bridge

The Zumbro Parkway Bridge, #3219, Preservation has been completed.

The project was started in April 2020 and completed in July 2020. In August 2014, the Minnesota Department of Transportation completed the Local Historic Bridge Report Executive Summary Bridge Number: 3219. Built in 1937, the bridge is located immediately south of Zumbro Falls; along County road 68 in a rural area of Wabasha County.

The Zumbro Parkway Bridge is significant as a representative example of a multi plate arch bridge featuring stone headwalls, wing walls, and railings. Due to the historic nature, any work on Bridge 3219 should proceed according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Standards) [36 CFR part 67] and The Secretary’s Standards with Regard to Repair, Rehabilitation, and Replacement Situations, as adapted by the Virginia Transportation Research Council (Guidelines). To learn more about the bridge history and the Minnesota Department of Transportation Historic Bridge Report visit

Take a scenic drive to Zumbro Falls and visit the bridge location, we can now enjoy a piece of history for many more years to come.

Al VanDeWalker Retires as Mayor

Al VanDeWalker retires after 24 ½ years as Mayor of Zumbro Falls. As Mayor, he began serving in 1990 and terms ran consecutively thru 2010. He stepped back in to fill a mayoral vacancy in 2012 and completed two more terms. Looking back in history, beginning 1898 thru 2016, Al served as Mayor longer than anyone before him (Zumbro Falls Centennial Book, City Government information-chapter 4). Zumbro Falls has seen many challenges and changes during these years. Al’s leadership, dedication, determination, perseverance and hands on approach has surely been an asset to our community. Thank you!

Zumbro Falls – Water Tower, Water and Sewer Project 2006

PostBulletinZFWaterProjectThe City of Zumbro Falls marks the 10th anniversary of the city water tower and water distribution project this summer – 2016. The project cost was about $2 million.

The city council and residents were faced with tough choices. It was clear the current system was failing and no longer provided safe water for the city. Decisions were made to move forward and replace both the ground reservoir and the water system. Not only was the project costly for the small city and its 177 residents but construction proved difficult. A large rock cutting machine was brought in to cut thru the rock in order to position the water/sewer lines. Residents endured impassible roads during the construction.

The water tower was built first and the distribution lines followed. The construction completion in the fall of 2006 provided safe water and allowed a housing development to move forward within the city.

Barn Quilt/Valley Giant Art Tour

barnquilt2The Barn Quilts/Valley Giants projects are a part of the Zumbro Valley Art Tour Projects. The goal is to promote tourism and aimed at bringing motorists to the Zumbro Valley.

Barn Quilts in the Zumbro Falls area are located at the Cold Brook Farm, just west of Zumbro Falls and Scooters Bar & Grill, downtown Zumbro Falls.

barnquilt1There are currently 20 locations to visit; approximately 12 of these locations are on or near the Highway 60 corridor. Each one of the Barn Quilts/Valley Giants on display has a story to tell. For example, the Barn Quilt at the Cold Brook Farm has special meaning for Chuck Sprenger and his sister Linda. The double wedding ring quilt was a pattern that Sprenger’s grandmother made and gave 9 of her grandchildren. The Valley Giant art billboard is an image of the late Jim Poncelet that is located on the Terry Poncelet Farm, west of Mazeppa.

These colorful images enhance the valley history and invite visitors to the Zumbro Valley.

The Art Tour projects are funded by the Zumbro Valley Community Growth Initiative (CGI) process; which was facilitated by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. This is a multi-county community economic development effort.

The Zumbro Valley Art Tour Map gives the locations along the Art Tour and access to more information.


5 Year Anniversary of the 2010 Flood

Zumbro Valley Disaster Recovery from Flight Creative Media on Vimeo. Video narrator – Al VanDeWalker, Mayor.

September 24th is the 5 year anniversary of the 2010 Flood in the Zumbro River Valley. Zumbro Falls endured the greatest flooding in City history. Approximately 2:00 am on September 24, 2010 the Zumbro River flowed over the 28 foot level of the City dike. The river crested 8 feet above the dike. This wall of water flooded homes and businesses, City buildings, the City park, the US Post Office, also State Highways 63/60 were closed. The City, including downtown residents and businesses, was devastated. The national guard was called in to assist along with other state and federal agencies. ZUMBRO FALLS SURVIVED! Residents relocated, businesses rebuilt, the Hills of Zumbro Falls housing development offered a new beginning to those in need of housing, the Buckman Coulee Diversion Project was initiated and directs water over flow to the east of State Highway 63, green space created areas for new trees and beautiful landscaping projects, a Community Garden and Zumbro River Access have been added. The City of Zumbro Falls, Residents, and Businesses continue to move forward.


Antiques 5Explore the Zumbro River Valley area Antique shops. This tour offers 47 Shops, including Frog Town Antiques located in Zumbro Falls, MN. What a great way to enjoy the valley, do some shopping and visit local eateries.

Note: If making a special trip you may wish to phone the shop first so as not to be disappointed in finding a shop closed.