Austin, Minnesota

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Austin
City
Austin, Minnesota
Clockwise from top: Downtown Austin, St. Augustine's Church, Paramount Theater, Spam Museum, Hormel Historic Home
Clockwise from top: Downtown Austin, St. Augustine's Church, Paramount Theater, Spam Museum, Hormel Historic Home
Official seal of Austin
Seal
Nickname(s): SPAM Town USA
Location of the city of Austinwithin Mower Countyin the state of Minnesota
Location of the city of Austin
within Mower County
in the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 43°39′59.76″N 92°58′29.50″W / 43.6666000°N 92.9748611°W / 43.6666000; -92.9748611Coordinates: 43°39′59.76″N 92°58′29.50″W / 43.6666000°N 92.9748611°W / 43.6666000; -92.9748611
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Mower
Established 1853
Incorporated 1856
Government
 • Mayor Tom Stiehm
Area[1]
 • Total 11.90 sq mi (30.82 km2)
 • Land 11.79 sq mi (30.54 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
Elevation 1,184 ft (360 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 24,718
 • Estimate (2015)[3] 24,563
 • Density 2,096.5/sq mi (809.5/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 55912
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-02908[4]
GNIS feature ID 0639531[5]
Website City of Austin

Austin is a city in Mower County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 24,718 at the 2010 census.[6] It is the county seat of Mower County.[7] The town was originally settled along the Cedar River and it has two artificial lakes called East Side Lake and Mill Pond. The town was named for Austin R. Nichols, the first settler in the area.[8]

Hormel Foods Corporation is the largest employer in Austin, and the town is sometimes called "SPAM Town USA".[9] Austin is home to Hormel's corporate headquarters, a factory that makes most of North America's SPAM tinned meat, and the Spam Museum. Austin is also home to the Hormel Institute, a leading cancer research institution operated by the University of Minnesota with significant support from the Mayo Clinic.[10]

Austin has been named one of the "Top 10 Affordable Small Towns Where You'd Actually Want to Live,"[11] as well as one of the "Best Small Cities in America" for 2015.[12]

History[edit]

Southern Minnesota Normal College, 1907
A postcard from the 1920s showing the Hormel meatpacking plant

Fertile land, trapping, and ease of access brought first trappers and then the early pioneers to this region. The rich gameland attracted a trapper named Austin Nichols, who built the first log cabin in 1853.[13] At that time there were "about twenty families in the area."[8] More settlers began to arrive by wagon train in 1855, and by 1856, enough people were present to organize Mower County.[8] It was in 1856 that the settlement adopted the name Austin, in honor of its first settler. That year the first hotel opened to travelers and the first physician moved to town, Dr. Ormanzo Allen. The first newspaper, the Mower County Mirror, was started in 1858.[8]

Mills, powered by the Cedar River, were the first industries in Austin. They provided much-needed flour and lumber for the growing village. Growth was slow during the first two decades, but the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul railroad arrived in the late 1860s, hastening economic development.[8] The town's first schoolhouse was constructed in 1865 and the first bank opened its doors the following year.

In 1891, George A. Hormel opened a small family-owned butcher shop in Austin,[14] which eventually grew into today's Fortune 500 company, Hormel Foods. By 1896, area doctors - with the help of local Lutheran congregations - formed the Austin Hospital Association, later becoming St. Olaf Hospital, and (since 1995) part of Mayo Clinic Health System.[8][15]

Austin received its first college in 1897 when the Southern Minnesota Normal College and Austin School of Commerce were opened by Charles Boostrom. The college closed in 1925 and the city was without an institution of higher education until Austin Junior College opened in 1940 (In 1964 it became part of the State College and University System and is now Riverland Community College).

A 50-acre parcel of land was made into Horace Austin State Park by the Minnesota Legislature in 1913. At the time, the land was "one of the beauty spots of Southern Minnesota, but of late years has not been cared for and in places the banks have been disfigured by dumping along the shore of the stream," according to the bill's author, Senator Charles F. Cook.[16] The park was converted to a state "scenic wayside" in 1937, then transferred to city ownership in 1949.

In the 1930s, Austin Acres was built with funding from the Subsistence Homesteads Division of the Department of the Interior,[17] and the Austin Parks Board was formed in the 1940s to oversee the growing number of green spaces within the city.

The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, established in 1971, a 500-acre nature preserve also including the 60 acre Hormel Arboretum, purchased from Geordie Hormel with a state grant. In 1973, the city opened Riverside Arena, the city's first indoor ice arena, now home to a variety of ice activities including the Austin Bruins junior ice hockey team.

In August 1985, 1,500 Hormel meatpackers went on strike at the Austin plant after management demanded a 23% cut in wages. A protracted battle between union employees and Hormel continued until June 1986, one of the longest labor struggles of the 1980s. In January 1986, some workers crossed the picket lines, leading to riots; the conflict escalated to such a point that the National Guard was called in by governor Rudy Perpich to keep the peace.[18] The strike received media attention on a national level and a documentary film, American Dream, was made during the ten-month long conflict. The movie was released in 1990 and went on to win the Best Documentary Feature at the 63rd Annual Academy Awards.[19] A song about the strike, entitled "P-9", was written by Dave Pirner of the Minneapolis band Soul Asylum. The song can be found on their 1989 album, Clam Dip & Other Delights. Hormel never gave in to the workers' demands, and when the strike ended in June 1986, 700 employees were left without work.[20]

Present day[edit]

The Hormel Institute is a cancer-research facility operated by the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic. It was significantly expanded in 2015-2016.

Austin has recently undergone several notable developments: a new $28 million courthouse and jail were completed in 2010, a new intermediate school opened in 2013, and a major redevelopment project is taking place at the site of the former Oak Park Mall.[21][22]

The city is currently embarking on a community development project called Vision 2020. This grassroots movement was chartered in 2011 to implement ten major new community initiatives that could be completed by the year 2020. The projects involve a variety of projects related to economic development, heath and wellness, education, and tourism. A community recreation center is in progress as well as a tourism and visitor center.[23] One of the stated goals including making the downtown business district more of a destination, aided in part by the relocation of the Spam Museum to Main Street in 2016.[22]

In 2015, the National Association of Realtors named Austin one of the "Top 10 Affordable Small Towns Where You'd Actually Want to Live."[11]

Major floods[edit]

Cedar River and Ramsey Dam

Austin has a long history of flooding. The Cedar River, along with Dobbins Creek and Turtle Creek, flow through the community, and many homes and businesses were constructed in flood plains. A series of floods between 1978 and 2010 resulted in a major flood mitigation program. This program involved the purchase and demolition of buildings within the flood plain, converting low-lying areas of town to parks, and the installation of a flood wall to protect downtown.[24]

After two major floods occurred in July 1978, city officials and local residents decided to take action. Locals organized the Floodway Action Citizens Task Source (FACTS), who met with local and state leaders, as well as members of the Army Corps of Engineers, but it was decided that major flood prevention measures would not be cost-effective. However, a Community Development Block Grant was won from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, allowing for the buyout of homes lying in the flood plain. City planners also vowed to no longer build new structures in the existing flood plains. In 1983 and 1993, major floods again brought damage to many homes and businesses in Austin. Over 400 homes were affected and a new round of buyouts took place through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

The worst flooding on record came several years later when the Cedar River crested at 23.4 feet in the spring of 2000. Many of the worst-hit parts of town were now void of homes and businesses but there was still damage and extensive clean-up required. Flooding came again in September 2004, resulting in two fatalities. Additional protection (dikes) were added along the Cedar River as a result.

The most recent round of serious flooding came in 2010, after which a plan was developed for a permanent flood wall to protect downtown from the floodwaters of the Cedar River and Mill Pond. The wall was completed in 2014.[24][25][26]

Major tornadoes[edit]

Tornado damage in Austin, 2009.

On 20 August 1928, an F-2 sized tornado touched down on Winona Street (1st Ave). The damage ran from the southern edge of Austin High School to the Milwaukee Road railyards on the city's east side. Buildings ruined or damaged included St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Carnegie Library, Main Street, the spire on Austin's former courthouse, Grand Theatre (replaced in 1929 with what is now the Paramount Theatre), Austin Utilities, Lincoln School, and several boxcars at the Milwaukee railyards before it dissipated. Austin residents noticed debris raining out of the sky, such as straw and laundry.

Another F-2 touched down in August 1961, at 808 18th St. S.W. It quickly gained strength once on the ground, become an F-3 at 17th St. S.W., where it destroyed a garage. The twister lifted briefly, touching down in the city fairgrounds and hitting the grandstand roof, tearing off parts and damaging beams.

In the summer of 1984, a tornado destroyed Echo Lanes Bowling Alley as it swept through the S.E. part of Austin. Neighboring Bo-Dee Campers had suffered considerable damage as well. The tornado also destroyed Schmidt TV.

A disputed tornado or straight line winds took down massive amounts of branches and trees on 27 June 1998, uprooting smaller trees and knocking large branches across streets. Several side streets in the northwest quarter of the city became impassable, as well as 8th Ave northwest (near Sumner Elementary School), and 14th St. Northwest (between I-90 and 8th Ave). The event caused disruption in Sunday church services the next morning, and many congregations organized clean up activities instead of regularly scheduled events.

A tornado touched down in Glenville on 1 May 2001, gaining strength before it turned into a F-3 headed for Austin. While the twister dissipated shortly after hitting town, notable damage occurred in both cities.

On 17 June 2009, an EF2 tornado touched down outside of Austin and moved across the northwest and northern parts of the city, gradually weakening as it moved east. The worst damage in Austin was about three miles north of downtown. The Visitors Center at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center sustained damage, with the nature preserve losing some 300 trees. There were a few minor injuries.[27][28]

Downtown Power Plant, Mill Pond, and Horace Austin Park
Downtown Power Plant, Mill Pond, and Horace Austin Park

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.90 square miles (30.82 km2), of which 11.79 square miles (30.54 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water.[1] Its elevation is approximately 1,200 ft (370 m).

Climate[edit]

Austin has a humid continental climate typical of the Upper Midwest. Winters are cold and snowy, while summers are warm with moderate to high humidity. On the Köppen climate classification, Austin falls in the humid continental climate zone (Dfa) and is situated in USDA plant hardiness zone 4b.[29][30] Below is a table of average high and low temperatures throughout the year in Austin.

Climate data for Austin, Minnesota (55912)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 22 27 39 56 68 78 81 78 71 58 41 26 53.8
Average low °F 4 9 22 35 47 57 61 58 49 37 24 10 34.4
Average precipitation inches 0.91 0.83 1.89 3.54 4.33 4.88 4.76 4.41 3.46 2.36 1.93 1.22 34.52
Average high °C −6 −3 4 13 20 26 27 26 22 14 5 −3 12.1
Average low °C −16 −13 −6 2 8 14 16 14 9 3 −4 −12 1.3
Average precipitation mm 23.1 21.1 48 89.9 110 124 120.9 112 87.9 59.9 49 31 876.8
Source: U.S. Climate Data[31]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 200
1870 2,039 919.5%
1880 2,305 13.0%
1890 3,901 69.2%
1900 5,474 40.3%
1910 6,960 27.1%
1920 10,118 45.4%
1930 12,276 21.3%
1940 18,307 49.1%
1950 23,100 26.2%
1960 27,908 20.8%
1970 25,074 −10.2%
1980 23,020 −8.2%
1990 21,907 −4.8%
2000 23,314 6.4%
2010 24,718 6.0%
Est. 2015 24,563 [32] −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[33]
2015 Estimate[3]

In 2000, there were 23,314 people, 9,897 households, and 6,076 families residing in the city and 10,261 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 92.6% White, 0.81% African American, 0.18% Native American, 2.22% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.09% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 6.12% of the population. There were 9,897 households, out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18. The average household size was 2.29; the average family size was 2.90. The median income for a household in the city was $33,750, and the median income for a family was $42,691. Males had a median income of $31,787 versus $23,158 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,651. About 7.5% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 24,718 people, 10,131 households, and 6,114 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,096.5 inhabitants per square mile (809.5/km2). There were 10,870 housing units at an average density of 922.0 per square mile (356.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.8% White, 3.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 4.8% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.4% of the population.

There were 10,131 households of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.7% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.05.

The median age in the city was 37 years. 25.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.3% were from 25 to 44; 23.5% were from 45 to 64; and 17.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.

Economy[edit]

Downtown Austin

With Hormel's corporate headquarters and main production facility located in Austin, food processing plays a dominant role in the city's economy. Hormel and Quality Pork Processors, a contract food processing firm serving Hormel, are by far the largest private employers in Austin.[34] Though most famous for SPAM, Hormel also produces many other popular brands, such as Jennie-O turkey, Muscle Milk, Skippy peanut butter, and Dinty Moore beef stew.[35]

The government, education, hospitality, and retail sectors comprise much of the remainder of Austin's employment base.

Hormel's consistent and steady growth have resulted in below average unemployment rates for Austin and Mower County in recent years. As of February 2016, the unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent in Austin and Mower County. This is below both the state and national average.[36][37]

Austin area businesses and community actively supported an application to participate as a test community in the Google Fiber project, started in 2010.[38] Though unsuccessful in their bid, the adoption of high-speed fiber optic and wireless internet throughout the community is a stated goal of the Vision 2020 committee and their initiative, GigAustin.[39]

Retail business in Austin struggled during the Great Recession, including the demise of the Oak Park Mall. As of 2016, the business climate has improved, including a major redevelopment of the former mall site. Downtown remains vibrant, as well, including construction of a new SPAM Museum in 2016.

Top employers[edit]

Riverland Community College is one of Austin's top employers

According to Austin's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (2015),[40] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Hormel Foods 2,700
2 Quality Pork Processors 1,500
3 Mayo Clinic Health System 900
4 Austin Public Schools 777
5 Hy-Vee 350
6 Mower County 285
7 Riverland Community College 280
8 Bellisio Foods 244
9 St. Mark's Lutheran Home 230
10 REM - Minnesota 152

Arts and culture[edit]

The Austin Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performing at St. Augustine's Church (2015)

Music

Austin is home to several long-standing performing arts organizations, including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, which was established in 1957.[41] The Austin Artist Series, one of the Midwest's largest and longest-running concert and performance series, was established in 1945.[42] The Historic Paramount Theatre hosts a variety of local and regional performances throughout the year,[43] and the music programs at Austin High School have been recognized for decades among the best in the state. Austin is also home to a community choir (Northwestern Singers[44]) and several community bands (Austin Community Band, Austin Community Jazz Band,[45] and the Austin Big Band[46]). Austin has also produced many professional musicians of regional and national acclaim, including John Maus, Trace Bundy, Charlie Parr, Martin Zellar, and Molly Kate Kestner.

In 2015, the MacPhail Center for Music, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, opened their first outstate location in Austin. Currently located at Riverland Community College, MacPhail's Austin campus provides individual instruction on nearly a dozen musical instruments for adults and children, as well as large ensembles and early childhood music instruction.[47]

Theater

The Frank W. Bridges Theatre is home to an active theatre program at Riverland Community College, while Matchbox Children's Theatre, established in 1975, provides shows year-round for both adults and children.[48] Summerset Theatre, a community theater organization first organized in 1968, also presents several shows per year.[49]

ArtWorks Center

The Austin ArtWorks Center, established in 2014, hosts gallery exhibits, educational classes, performance space, and a retail gallery. The Center is operated by the Austin Area Commission for the Arts, which also sponsors the Austin ArtWorks Festival, an annual celebration of visual, performing, and literary arts.[50] The Center is located in the historic First National Bank Building, which opened in 1896.[51]

Architecture

There are several historically and architecturally significant buildings in Austin, including Austin High School, St. Augustine's Church, Roosevelt Bridge, the Historic Paramount Theatre, the Hormel Historic Home, the Arthur W. Wright House, and several blocks of historic downtown buildings on Main Street. Austin is also home to a Frank Lloyd Wright home, the Elam Residence.[52]

Places of interest[edit]

St. Augustine Catholic Church, the oldest place of worship in Austin, as well as host of cultural events.
  • Mower County Fairgrounds and Mower County Fair
  • Buffy the Cow
  • SPAM Museum
  • Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
  • Hormel Historic Home
  • St. Augustine's Church
  • Austin ArtWorks Center
  • Austin High School and Knowlton Auditorium
  • Mower County Historical Society
  • Historic Paramount Theatre
  • Sola Fide Observatory
  • East Side Lake
  • Bandshell Community Park
  • Todd Park
  • Austin Country Club (private)
  • Meadow Greens Golf Course (public)
  • The Elam House (Frank Lloyd Wright home)
  • Christ Episcopal Church
  • Packer Dome (seasonal)
  • Vintage Bicycle Collection at Rydjor Bike Shop
  • Hormel Institute
  • Roosevelt Bridge

Sports[edit]

Packer Dome
Riverside Arena and its Spam Zamboni

The Austin Bruins are a North American Hockey League team that began play during the 2010–11 season. The team finished 1st in the Central Division in the 2012–13, 2013–14, and 2014–15 seasons, and advanced to the Robertson Cup Finals in 2014 and 2015, though ultimately losing the championship both times. The Bruins play their home games at Riverside Arena. Austin previously was represented in Junior hockey by the Austin Mavericks, a team that first participated in the Midwest Junior Hockey League from 1974 to 1977 and following a league merger competed in the United States Hockey League from 1977 to 1985.

Austin is home to two amateur baseball clubs, the Austin Blue Sox and Austin Greyhounds. The Riverland Community College Blue Devils field six intercollegiate athletic teams.[53]

Several other teams, clubs, and activities are prominent in Austin, including the Southern Minnesota Bicycling Club,[54] the Austin Curling Club,[55] the Minnesota Southbound Rollers (female roller derby),[56] and the Southeast Minnesota Warhawks of the Southern Plains Football League.[57]

The addition of Packer Dome, a seasonal athletic facility built in 2015, has already enhanced sport and recreation options in Austin. Packer Dome is operated by Austin Public Schools and was funded in large part by the Hormel Foundation as part of the Vision 2020 community development project.[58][59]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Austin has an extensive network of 28 parks and green spaces, which the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry oversees. These range from small, passive spaces like Sterling Park (manicured but lacking recreational equipment) to the 507-acre Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Established in 1971, the Hormel Nature Center is located in Western Mower County within the city limits of Austin. The Nature Center features restored and remnant prairie, hardwood forest, wetlands and meandering streams. There are more than ten miles of trail, giving visitors the opportunity to see deer, mink, raccoons, salamanders, many different birds and other native wildlife. It features an Interpretive Center, open daily, where visitors can learn about the history and biology of the area through hands-on exhibits, interactive displays and live educational animals. The Nature Center offers equipment rental throughout most of the year: canoes and kayaks in the summer months and cross country skis and snowshoes while snow conditions are good.[60]

Other parks Horace Austin Park, in downtown, is the most centrally located and boasts a blend of modern amenities, including playground equipment and the municipal pool as well as trails and green spaces surrounding Mill Pond.[61] Austin's parks are located throughout all four quadrants of the city and many are connected by a trail system, including three of the largest parks in Austin: Bandshell Community Park, Driesner Park, and Todd Park. Todd Park is a popular summer recreation space, with several sand volleyball courts and 11 softball and baseball diamonds.[62]

Bandshell Community Park is the site of Austin's annual Independence Day celebration, which draws thousands of residents for two days of music, carnival games, and evening fireworks.[62][63][64]

Government[edit]

Austin City Hall
Austin Mayor and City Council
Mayor Tom Stiehm term ends in 2016
Council: At-large Janet Anderson term ends in 2016
Council: 1st Ward Michael Jordal term ends in 2018
Council: 1st Ward Jeff Austin term ends in 2016
Council: 2nd Ward David Hagen term ends in 2018
Council: 2nd Ward Steve King term ends in 2016
Council: 3rd Ward Jeremy Carolan term ends in 2016
Council: 3rd Ward Judy Enright term ends in 2018

Located in western Mower County, the southern part of the City is in Austin Township while the northern part is in Lansing Township; the city is politically independent of both.

Austin is located in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, represented by Mankato educator Tim Walz, a Democrat. Austin is located in Minnesota Senate District 27, represented by Dan Sparks, and House District 27B, represented by Jeanne Poppe. Both Sparks and Poppe are Austin residents.

Austin is the seat of Mower County, and home to the Mower County Justice Center (courthouse) and Jail. Two new buildings were completed in 2010, a $28 million campus located in downtown Austin.[65]

The City of Austin is led by a Mayor-council form of government. All terms are four years in length.[66]

Education[edit]

Schools and colleges[edit]

Austin Public Schools (Independent School District 492) serves more than 4,700 students in the Austin area. Pacelli Catholic Schools also provides a PreK-12 private education option. Austin High School, a large portion of which was constructed in 1919, is well known for its distinctive architecture. A 1939 addition to the school includes Knowlton Auditorium, one of the largest high school auditoriums in the state of Minnesota, seating 1,850. Post-secondary education is available through Riverland Community College, first established as Austin Junior College in 1940.

  • Colleges
  • High Schools
  • Middle Schools (Junior High)
    • Ellis Middle School [Grades 7–8]
    • I.J Holton Intermediate School [Grades 5–6]
    • Pacelli Middle School (Grades 6–8)
  • Elementary Schools
    • Pacelli Elementary School (Grades PreK-5)
    • Banfield Elementary School (Grades 1–4)
    • Neveln Elementary School (Grades 1–4)
    • Southgate Elementary School (Grades 1–4)
    • Sumner Elementary School (Grades 1–4)
    • Woodson School (Kindergarten only)
  • Other schools
    • Gerard Academy (ages 6–19)
    • Oakland Baptist School
  • Former school buildings
    • Franklin School (original built in 1869, burned in 1890; new Franklin High School opened in 1891)
    • Shaw Elementary School (opened, 1916; last year of operation, 1992; demolished, 1993)
    • Webster School (Built in 1891, functions today as apartment homes)
    • Lincoln Elementary School (Built in 1887; last year of operation, 1977); functions today as apartment homes)
    • Queen of Angels School (now home to Community Learning Center and Early Childhood Family Education Center)
    • St. Edward's School (currently unoccupied)

Public library[edit]

Austin's Carnegie Library, 1904 to 1996.

The Austin Public Library opened in 1884 in the basement of the Mower County Courthouse. In 1904, the city opened a newly constructed Carnegie Library. This building was demolished in 1996 when a new library was opened at 323 4th Ave. NE. It holds over 80,000 volumes.[67]

Media[edit]

Austin is part of Nielsen's Rochester-Mason City-Austin designated market area.[68] Austin has two television studios, KAAL channel 6 (ABC), and KSMQ-TV channel 15 (PBS). Other stations in the area include Rochester stations KTTC channel 10 (NBC) and KXLT-TV channel 47, plus KIMT Channel 3 (CBS) from Mason City, Iowa.

Radio stations in Austin include KAUS (AM) (1480 AM, local news/talk), KAUS-FM (99.9 FM, country), KNSE (90.1 FM, public talk radio), KLSE (FM) (103.3 FM, public classical radio), KNSE (103.9 FM, public AAA), KQAQ (970 AM, classic country).

A daily newspaper, the Austin Daily Herald, serves the community and has a circulation of approximately 7,000. Austin Living Magazine is an award-winning bi-monthly publication featuring culture and lifestyle stories about the Austin community.[69] The Post-Bulletin, a daily newspaper from Rochester, is also widely read and distributed in Austin.

The documentary film American Dream, was filmed in Austin during the 1985–1986 Hormel strike. The movie was released in 1990 and went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 63rd Annual Academy Awards.[19]

Infrastructure[edit]

Interstate Hwy. 90 Business Loop (Oakland Avenue) runs through the center of Austin.

Transportation[edit]

Airports[edit]

Austin is served by the Austin Municipal Airport, a public-owned, public-use airport located on the east edge of the city.[70] The nearest commercial international airports are located in Rochester (RST) and the Twin Cities (MSP).

Bus and mass transit[edit]

Southern Minnesota Area Rural Transit provides bus transit within Austin and Mower County; daily routes, as well as on-demand pick-up and drop-off service is available.[71] Rochester City Lines provides daily bus transportation between Austin and Rochester. For travel within the city, there is also local taxi service available.

Major highways[edit]

Austin is located at the intersection of Interstate 90 and U.S. Route 218. Minnesota State Highway 105 runs from Austin south to Iowa.

Rail[edit]

Passenger trains once traveled the "Smoky Valley" line between Austin and La Crosse, and on to Madison, Wisconsin.

Once known as a railroad town, Austin was the site of a division point for two lines of the Milwaukee Road, one east-west and one north-south on its pioneering line in Minnesota. Austin was also served by the Chicago Great Western's north-south mainline for trains between the Twin Cities and Chicago, Kansas City, and Omaha. All lines once served passengers, and the Milwaukee Road Depot was once a busy station ferrying travelers to and from Austin. Passenger rail service on the Milwaukee Road through Austin between Calmar, Iowa and St. Paul ended in 1953, and Pullman sleeper service on the Milwaukee between Austin and Chicago ended in 1960. An overnight train on the Chicago Great Western between the Twin Cities and Omaha stopped at Austin until 1965, with the southbound coming through late evening, and the northbound train stopping early in the morning.[72] The north-south Milwaukee Road mainline continues to carry freight of that railroad's successor, the Canadian Pacific Railway, but the Chicago Great Western was abandoned soon after its acquisition by the Chicago and North Western Railway.

Trails[edit]

The City of Austin has an extensive network of paved recreational trails for biking and hiking. Several miles of bike paths are located within the city, extending north to Todd Park and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. Austin also has a mountain biking trail, completed in 2015, that played host to a Minnesota High School Cycling League competition in its inaugural year.

Extensions to these existing non-motorized trails will connect Austin to the Blazing Star Trail (west toward Albert Lea and Myre-Big Island State Park) and the Shooting Star State Trail (east toward Rose Creek, Adams, and Leroy). The resulting trail system would be one of southern Minnesota's largest, and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.[73]

Health care[edit]

Austin Medical Center, a full-service hospital and clinic, is part of the Mayo Clinic Health System.

The Mayo Clinic Health system operates a full-service hospital and clinic in Austin, the Austin Medical Center. Both primary care and specialty care services are available locally. The campus also provides emergency and urgent care services, a complete pharmacy, and a recently expanded pediatrics department. Before joining the Mayo system, Austin Medical Center was St. Olaf Hospital.[74]

The Hormel Institute is a medical research branch of the University of Minnesota. Established in 1942, the institute has become one of the world's leading cancer research facilities. The institute is currently undergoing a significant expansion that will result in a facility twice the size of the original campus. The expansion was completed in Spring 2016.[75] Tours of the Institute are available, but must be pre-arranged through Discover Austin, the local convention and visitors bureau.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "City of Austin City Council, History". Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  9. ^ Weber. "Adkins headlines at Spam Town USA". Rochester Post-Bulletin. Rochester, MN. Retrieved 4 September 2016. l
  10. ^ "About Us". The Hormel Institute. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Pan, Yuqing. "Top 10 Affordable Small Towns Where You'd Actually Want to Live". Realtor.com. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Miller, Courtney. "Best Small Cities in America". Nerdwallet. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 359. 
  14. ^ "Milestones in Our History". Hormel. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "History". Mayo Clinic Health System - Austin. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Horace Austin State Park beginnings at the Minnesota Legislature". Rochester Post-Bulletin. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "A return to Austin Acres". The Austin Daily Herald. Austin, MN. 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  18. ^ Baier, Elizabeth (17 August 2010). "25 years ago, Hormel strike changed Austin, industry". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  19. ^ a b "American Dream (1990)". IMDB. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  20. ^ Risen, James (1 September 1986). "Despite Settlement, It's Still Not Over : Hormel Strike May Divide Town for Years to Come". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  21. ^ Ross, Jenna. "Austin moves forward after year". Minneapolis StarTribune. Retrieved 24 March 2016. /
  22. ^ a b Schoonover, Jason (25 March 2016). "Austin primed for a new future". Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  23. ^ "Vision 2020 Austin". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "On the Move: A Minnesota City Creatively Battles Repetitive Flooding" (PDF). Federal Emergency Management Agency. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  25. ^ "Flood Mitigation Program". City of Austin. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  26. ^ Mewes, Trey (18 September 2013). "Council moves ahead on flood project". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  27. ^ Austin, MN Tornado Of June 17 2009. Crh.noaa.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  28. ^ Peterson, Matt (17 June 2011). "A Date to Remember". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  29. ^ "Moist Continental Mid-latitude Climates - D Climate Type". The Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  30. ^ "USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map". US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  31. ^ "U.S. Climate Data (55912)". Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  33. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  34. ^ Major Employers & Workforce
  35. ^ "Business Divisions". Hormel Foods. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  36. ^ Jackson, Jeffrey (17 March 2016). "Unemployment inches up across the region". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  37. ^ Jackson, Jeffrey (31 March 2016). "Jobless rate remains flat in region". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  38. ^ Austin High Rallies for Google Fiber
  39. ^ "GigAustin-Home". Gig Austin. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  40. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-04. 
  41. ^ "Austin Symphony Orchestra". Austin Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  42. ^ "Austin Artist Series". Austin Artist Series. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  43. ^ "Paramount Theater". Austin Area Commission for the Arts. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  44. ^ "Northwestern Singers". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  45. ^ "Community Band brings sound of summer". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  46. ^ "Austin Big Band". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  47. ^ "MacPhail Center for Music - Austin". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  48. ^ "Matchbox Children's Theatre". Matchbox Children's Theatre. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  49. ^ "Summerset Theatre". Summerset Theatre. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  50. ^ "Austin Area Commission for the Arts". Austin Area Commission for the Arts. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  51. ^ http://www.austindailyherald.com/2012/06/a-history-of-the-first-national-bank/
  52. ^ "The Elam House". The Elam House. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  53. ^ "Blue Devils Athletics". Riverland Community College. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  54. ^ "Southern Minnesota Bicycling Club". USA Cycling Clubs. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  55. ^ Hulne, Rocky (23 March 2015). "Stones and ice; Austin Curling Club slides into Riverside Arena". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  56. ^ Hulne, Rocky (14 July 2015). "Rolling to new levels". Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  57. ^ "Southern Plains Football League". Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  58. ^ "Packer Dome". Austin Public Schools. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  59. ^ Underwood, Kim (6 December 2015). "Public invited to check out the new dome". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  60. ^ "About". Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  61. ^ http://www.ci.austin.mn.us/park-recreation/park-information/horace-park
  62. ^ a b "Park Information". City of Austin - Department of Parks, Recreation, & Forestry. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  63. ^ "Parks and Recreation". Austin Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  64. ^ "Freedom Fest Schedule". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  65. ^ "2010: Year in Review". Austin Daily Herald. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  66. ^ "City of Austin, Mn". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  67. ^ "About the Library". Austin Public Library. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  68. ^ "Local Television Market Universe Estimates" (PDF). Nielsen. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  69. ^ "Herald staff take home MNA awards". Austin Daily Herald. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  70. ^ "KAUM - Austin Municipal Airport". AirNav.com. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  71. ^ "SMART". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  72. ^ Official Guide, April 1965, p. 688.
  73. ^ https://havefunbiking.com/blazing-star-trail/
  74. ^ "History". Mayo Clinic Health Ssytem. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  75. ^ Yang, Hannah (11 August 2015). "Hormel Institute expansion includes new learning center". Rochester Post-Bulletin. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  76. ^ Williams, Brandt. "Drummer follows musical path from Austin to Africa". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  77. ^ "Josh Braaten - Actor". IMDB. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  78. ^ Cummings, Robert. "Philip Brunelle - Artist Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  79. ^ "Trace Bundy". Pure Volume. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  80. ^ Lampard, Robert. "The Life and Times of Rotarian James Wheeler Davidson, FRGS". Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  81. ^ "Richard Eberhart". Poets.org. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  82. ^ Shannon Frid, Cloud Cult. Npr.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  83. ^ "Jason Gerhardt excited about upcoming birth of son". People Magazine (online). Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  84. ^ Harringa, Adam. "Honoring Jackie Graves". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  85. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ha/burdie-haldorson-1.html
  86. ^ "Cougar Great Vince Hanson Passes Away". Washington State Cougars. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  87. ^ Vezner, Tad (April 5, 2011). "Young Austin, Minn., author finds fame — and fortune — publishing her work online". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  88. ^ "Geordie Hormel". IMDB. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  89. ^ http://www.hormelfoods.com/About/History/Company-History
  90. ^ Rapp, Linda (1 March 2004). "Hormel, James C. (b. 1931)". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  91. ^ Bonorden, Lee (5 October 2002). "Life behind the mansion doors". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  92. ^ "Craig Hutchinson". IMDB. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  93. ^ http://www.austindailyherald.com/2016/05/a-lasting-impact-austin-native-making-waves-in-science/
  94. ^ "Lee Janzen". IMDB. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  95. ^ Gabler, Jay (22 August 2014). "Molly Kate Kestner talks about staying grounded". The Current. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  96. ^ "Larry Kramer". University of Nebraska. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  97. ^ "Tom Lehman". PGA Tour. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  98. ^ "John Madden". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  99. ^ John Maus: The Sound of the North. Mpls.Tv (2011-06-23). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  100. ^ Ferguson, Wm. (28 October 2011). "The Orchestral Maneuvers of John Maus". Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  101. ^ 'Former Legislator McMillan, 74, Dies,' Minnesota Star-Tribune, January 30, 1984
  102. ^ "Patrick Moore". PGA Tour. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  103. ^ "Wilbur Moore". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  104. ^ "Bob Motzko: Head Men's Hockey Coach". St. Cloud State University. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  105. ^ "Minnesota Author Biographies Project : mnhs.org". People.mnhs.org. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  106. ^ Mewes, Trey (17 May 2012). "Charlie Parr plans homecoming". Austin Daily Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  107. ^ "Patricia Kathryn Piper". Patricia Kathryn Piper Obituary. 
  108. ^ "Rep. Jeanne Poppe". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  109. ^ Minnesota Legislators Past and Present-Leo J. Reding
  110. ^ "William Pitt Root". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  111. ^ "Frank Twedell". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  112. ^ Gregg Wong (May 21, 1995). "Ulrich Was No Fair-Weather Golfer". St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Paul, Minnesota. p. 14C. 
  113. ^ http://www.nndb.com/people/958/000120598/
  114. ^ "Bree Walker Interview". Ability Magazine (online). Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  115. ^ "Michael Wuertz Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  116. ^ Galbally, Erin (10 February 2005). "Martin Zellar gets political". Retrieved 23 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mill on the Willow: A History of Mower County, Minnesota by various authors. Library of Congress No. 84-062356
  • The 1985–1986 Hormel Meat Packers Strike in Austin, Minnesota by Frank Halstead. Pathfinder Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87348-489-4.
  • City of Austin: 150th Anniversary Pictorial. Turner Publishing Company, 2005. ISBN 978-1-59652-189-6.
  • Remembering Austin's yester years by Richard Hall. Mower County Historical Society, 1995.
  • Once around the Mill Pond and Cedar River by Richard Hall. Mower County Historical Society, 2009.