Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Zumbro River Watershed Environmental History Research

  • Project Overview
  • Project Details
The five "lobes" of the watershed
Old postcard of the Zumbro River at 5th Street, Rochester, MN.
In 1904, the city of Mazeppa built this steel truss bridge over the Zumbro.
Shown here is a postcard of the stone bridge over one of the mill races in Roche
In 1937, a new dam at Oronoco replaced the original one.
The History Center hold extensive photographic evidence of Zumbro River flooding
Zumbro floodwaters invade someone’s back yard.
Built over the Zumbro in 1869, Minnesota’s last covered bridge.
In 1919, Rochester built the 900 foot long Lake Zumbro hydroelectric dam.

Project Overview

Recipient: Minnesota Historical Society

Partners: Olmsted County Historical Society and Zumbro Watershed Partnership. As the first part of a two phase project, this grant enabled personnel and contractors to research the history of the Zumbro Watershed while conducting oral history interviews of people who have lived and/or been involved in businesses and organizations in the Zumbro Watershed area. The oral histories were audiovisual recorded and a completed annotated bibliography was also written.
 
The completed annotated bibliography and oral histories are available for researchers and others interested in the history of the Zumbro Watershed. The information developed from this project is currently being used to further develop the information in a book about the environmental history of the Zumbro Watershed.
 
This project seeks to observe and identify not just how human actions and policies have affected the Zumbro River and its communities, but also what part the river has played in shaping the human landscape. The Zumbro River is a microcosm of America’s heartland rivers. Its story includes the rural and the urban, dry upland prairies and lowland forested valleys, wild floods and domesticating engineered projects, agriculture and industry. What makes this river system unique are the stories of the individuals and industries that grew up along its banks, among them, international giants like the Mayo Clinic and IBM. This project intends to find and collect the resources to tell the story, not just of the river, but the human endeavor within the embrace of the whole watershed. Nature is included, not as a backdrop to that human endeavor, but as an active participant in human history. Charles Kuralt once said, “America is a great story, and there is a river on every page of it.” The Zumbro is an important chapter to tell in America’s river history. 

Project Details

Partners: Olmsted County Historical Society and Zumbro Watershed Partnership. The Zumbro River in Southeastern Minnesota is an important part of America's river history. This project  seeks to collect and research historical and environmental data on the river to prepare for the creation of an environmental history.  The project will observe and identify how human actions and policies have affected the Zumbro and its communities, and also how the river has shaped the human landscape. What makes this river system unique are the stories of the individuals and industries that grew up along its banks, among them, international giants like the Mayo Clinic and IBM.

Fund Availability:

07/01/2012 - 06/30/2013

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, SS. 1, Chp. 6, Art. 4, Sec. 2, Subd. 5

Appropriation Language
History Partnerships. $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for partnerships involving multiple organizations, which may include the Minnesota Historical Society, to preserve and enhance access to Minnesota's history and cultural heritage in all regions of the state.

Funding Amount: $30,020

Direct Expenses: $30,020

Project Manager

Barbara Howard


,
651-259-3000

Administering Agency

Minnesota Historical Society

Quick Facts

Project Type: External Partnerships

Recipient: Minnesota Historical Society

Funding Amount: $30,020

Source: Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Status: In Progress

Appropriation Years: 2012

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.