City History

The Zumbro River, first explored by Major Stephan Long in 1817, was named the “Riviers des Embarrass” or River of Difficulties. A point on this river was used as a ford for the Territorial Road going from Lake City to Rochester. In 1855 Zumbro Falls, not having a name at that time, was first settled by the Tibbetts brothers. They built their homes on each side of the river for the purpose of running a ferry across the river where the ford had been. They ran their ferry for three years, at which time it was sold. After this, the town expanded on the south side of the river. In 1866, Benjamin Clark moved to town and built a gristmill and dam above the rapids. The dam created a small falls and the town received the name Zumbro Falls. The town grew enough that the Midland Railroad ran tracks through the town in 1877 and a depot was built. By 1896 some of the village residents were demanding to become an organized town. The county board granted the incorporation of Zumbro Falls on February 28, 1898. Since that time many changes have occurred.  The town celebrated its 100th year celebration on May 16, 1998. At that time a book titled Zumbro Falls, Minnesota Memoirs 100 Years Plus…”Then and Now” was created. The book contains pictures and the history of the businesses and buildings that make up our village.