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Historic Attractions Fact Sheet

December 16, 2010

Related Document: HistoricAttractions.doc

Rochester, Minn. offers a variety of historical attractions to enhance the visitor experience.  By discovering Rochester's unique history, including the story of the renowned Mayo Clinic, visitors come to understand why Rochester is such an important innovation city.

Historic Mayowood Mansion

Mayowood Mansion is the historic home of three generations of the famous Mayo family.  The five-story stone mansion contains 100 rooms in a beautiful rural setting only three miles from downtown Rochester.  The mansion is part of the Mayowood Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Open year-round.

Soldier's Field Veterans Memorial

Opened in 2000, this large war memorial located near downtown Rochester honors all those who served in the Armed Forces.  The granite walls at the memorial contain the names of 2,300 veterans from southeast Minnesota who have died in service, along with engraved graphics to show battle scenes from the Civil War to the Persian Gulf War.  "The Walk of Remembrance" has the names of over 4,900 veterans who served from all 50 states and all branches of service.  It is the only large war memorial in the Midwest constructed without public money.

Heritage House

Located in Rochester's 1856 Town Square Central Park in the heart of downtown, this house authentically demonstrates the way of life for a Midwestern family over 125 years ago.  The home has been restored and authentically furnished with antiques, quilts, dolls, china and a beautiful garden.  Open June through August.

History Center of Olmsted County

The History Center of Olmsted County (HCOC) offers a variety of educational programs, special historical events, exhibits, libraries and archives.  Its mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the history of Olmsted County and Southeastern Minnesota.  The HCOC's 46 acre campus features the Hadley Valley School House (a one room school house), the William Dee Log Cabin and the Stoppel Family Farmsteads.  The center also hosts Roosters and Hens 1860 vintage baseball teams that have games and events throughout the summer. The teams play on Schmitt Field on the grounds of the History Center.

Plummer House

A 49-room mansion located on 11 acres of landscaped grounds, Plummer House is the former home of Henry S. Plummer, a member of the Mayo Clinic staff in 1901.  The home features beautifully landscaped grounds including roses, a flower garden and a water tower.  Innovative features that were built into the house included:  central vacuum systems, underground sprinkler system, inter-communications septum, security system, dumb waiter, electric and gas lights, the first gas furnace in the City, garage  door openers, heated pool, and a water tower.

The Rochester Carillon

The 56-bell carillon atop the Plummer Building at Mayo Clinic is the most complete in North America.  Thirty-minute concerts are Mon. at 7p.m. and on Wed. and Fri. at noon.

Historic Chateau Theatre

Built in 1927, the Chateau was an elaborate movie theater known for its exterior sunburst-design marquee, which is lit with 636 light bulbs, and its unique "French village" décor including interior balconies and turrets.  The ceiling features "stars in the night sky."  Refurbished in 1994, the elegant old theater now houses a Barnes & Noble Bookstore and Starbucks Café.

Assisi Heights

This 3-story Italian Romanesque building is home to the Sisters of St. Francis, who were instrumental in establishing St. Mary's Hospital - the first hospital in Rochester, predating Mayo Clinic.  The structure bears a remarkable resemblance to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy and sits on top of a high hill on 100 acres, overlooking the city of Rochester.  The convent was founded in the 1870s and has a unique red tile roof, slate floors, a Romanesque ceiling and beautiful hand-blown stained glass windows from Germany.  Visitors can explore the Tuscan-inspired grounds and beautifully manicured gardens on one hour guided tours.

Amish Tours of Harmony

Harmony, Minn. is home to a large Amish community.  The community was established in 1974 and has grown to about 100 families with three church "districts" and seven one-room schools.  Tours of this community are available Monday-Saturday throughout the day and include watching farmers work on farms with horse-drawn equipment, men hand-carving furniture in the wood shop, and women baking pastries from scratch in the bakery.


For more information regarding Rochester's historic attractions, please contact Mary Gastner at
800-634-8277 or mgastner@rochestercvb.org or visit http://www.rochestercvb.org/.