Happy Birthday: Rochester Turns 160 Years Old
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - We haven’t heard of any official parties but Rochester is observing a birthday Sunday.
The city was incorporated August 5th, 1858.
Thomas Simpson first settled in this area and staked a claim to a portion of land along the Zumbro River near where the Government Center is located. That was in 1854.
The 1860 census put the new town’s population at 1,424. About 5,000 people were living in Rochester when a killer tornado struck Aug. 21, 1883. Nearly 40 people were killed and destruction was widespread. But that disaster also marked the infancy of what would become Rochester’s claim to fame - the now world-famous Mayo Clinic. Dr. William W. Mayo had been practicing in the city and in the aftermath of the tornado, he was approached by a group of local nuns ( Sisters of St. Francis) who proposed a new hospital. The nuns, Mayo, and his sons opened St. Marys Hospital in 1889 and the rest is history.
Rochester grew steadily over the decades but its population exploded after 2000, increasing from 86,000 to an estimated 116,000 in 2017. That makes Rochester the 244th largest city in the nation and third largest in Minnesota.
Did you know Rochester has been ranked as the second windiest city in the country? According to the Weather Channel, the city’s average wind speed is 12.6 mph, one degree lower than Amarillo, Texas.