Austin, Minnesota: Wikis


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File:Skyline, austin mn
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Nickname(s): Spamtown, USA
Location of Austin within Mower County, Minnesota
Coordinates: 43°39′59.76″N 92°58′29.50″W / 43.6666°N 92.974861°W / 43.6666; -92.974861
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Mower
Established 1853
Incorporated 1856
 - Mayor Tom Stiehm
 - Total 10.84 sq mi (28.08 km2)
 - Land 10.75 sq mi (27.84 km2)
 - Water 0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)
Elevation 1,184 ft (360 m)
Population (2000)[1]
 - Total 23,314
 - Density 2,168.2/sq mi (837.2/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 55912
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-02908[2]
GNIS feature ID 0639531[3]
Interstate Hwy. 90 Business Loop (Oakland Avenue) runs through the center of Austin.
Hormel Spam Museum.

Austin is a city in Mower County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 23,314 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mower County.[4] 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 at the intersection of Interstate Highway 90 and U.S. Highway 218 in the southeastern part of the state. The town was originally settled along the Cedar River and it has two man-made lakes called East Side Lake and Mill pond.

The meat packer Hormel Foods Corporation is the largest employer in Austin, where its factory makes most of North America's Spam tinned meat. The Austin Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors an annual Independence Day Freedom Fest. "Spam Town USA," as Austin is sometimes called, is also home to the Spam Museum.

Packer Arena opened in 2004.


Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.8 square miles (28.1 km²).10.8 square miles (27.8 km²) of it is land; 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) (0.83%) is water. Its elevation is approximately 1,200 ft (370 m).


Major Tornadoes

August 20, 1928

F-2 size. Touchdown on Winona Street (1st Ave.) damage path ran from the southern edge of Austin High School to the Milwaukee Road railyards on the city's east side. Buildings ruined or damaged: St. Olaf Lutheran church, Carnegie Library, main street, spire on the old courthouse, Paramount Theatre, Austin Utilities, Lincoln school, damage to boxcars at Milwaukee yards before it dissipated. Austin residents noticed debris raining out of the sky, such as straw and laundry.

August 1961

F-0 Touchdown in backyard at 808 18th St. S.W. (Sucha residence) Gained strength as F-1, when it hit block at 17th St. S.W. and blew up a garage. Lifted and touched down in fairgrounds and hit the grandstand roof, tearing off parts and damaging beams.

June 27, 1998

Disputed tornado or straight line winds took down massive amounts of branches and trees, uprooting smaller trees and knocking large branches across streets. In the northwest quarter of the city, the storm had the effect of blocking several side streets, 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 as many congregations organized clean up activities instead of regularly scheduled events

Summer-1984 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.

May 1, 2001

Touchdown in Glenville, with twister gaining strength before it turned into a F-3 headed for Austin. Dissipated before hitting town. Notable damage path in Glenville, and damage in Austin.

June 17, 2009

Touchdown in north side of Austin, with at least one funnel touching down next to the K-Mart store near Highway 218. There were an estimated 3 tornados in Austin reported during this storm. There was damage in Austin, plunging the city in darkness without power. One injury, a minor cut, was treated. [1]

Major Floods

September 2004

A huge rainstorm caused a major flood throughout Austin and surrounding areas. The flood was responsible for two lives lost. Many businesses were flooded. Citizens of Austin worked together to fix up the city.

1983 Red Cedar River rose and flooded much of Austin, Lansing, aand surrounding areas. Many dollars worth of damage was the result.Heavy rains that were proceeded by a drought were to blame.


Historical populations
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%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 23,314 people, 9,897 households, and 6,076 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,168.2 people per square mile (837.4/km²). There were 10,261 housing units at an average density of 954.3/sq mi (368.5/km²). 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, 48.6% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29; the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out, with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 22.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

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, including 15.0% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.


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.[5]

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


  • Tom Steihm- Mayor
  • City Council
    • Pete Christopherson- Council Member-At-Large
    • Brian McAlister-Council Member, First Ward
    • Jeffrey Austin- Council Member, First Ward
    • Richard Pacholl- Council Member Second Ward
    • Scott Pacholl- Council Member Second Ward
    • Norm Hecimovich Council Member Third Ward
    • John P. Martin- Council Member Third Ward

Austin is located in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, represented by Mankato educator Tim Walz, a Democrat.

Mayors of Austin

Source: [2] List is incomplete and contain seeming contradictions. Years given are years in office or start of office

  • George Cameron 1868
  • Charles Cook 1870
  • John F. Cook 1870-1874
  • D.B. Smith 1871
  • Seymour Johnson 1872
  • Edward C. Dorr 1881 - 1885
  • LaFayette French 1885 - 1887 (namesake of LaFayette Park)
  • Dr. Oris Gibson 1888 - 1892
  • Lyman D. Baird 1894
  • Charles Harcourt Johnson 1895 - 1902
  • Frank Irving Crane 1896
  • Charles L. West 1901 - 1902
  • George H. Sutton 1906 - 1909 (namesake of Sutton Park)
  • Alexander S. Campbell 1910 - 1911
  • John H. Anderson 1916 - 1918
  • Alfred C. Page 1920 - 1922
  • George Hirsh 1918 - 1920; 1922 - 1924
  • William Owen 1924 - 1926
  • Edward B. Carter 1926 - 1930
  • Jacob Becker 1926 - 1932; 1938 - 1942
  • Harry Poll 1932 - 1933
  • Hans J. Marcusen 1933 - 1938 (namesake of Marcusen Park)
  • Tunis B. Rockne 1942 - 1947
  • Merril Glen Rolfson 1948 - 1954
  • Charles R. "Baldy" Hansen 1954 - 1962
  • Roger Svejkovsky 1962 - 1964
  • Fayette Sherman 1964 - 1968 (namesake of Sherman Park)
  • Robert J. Enright 1968 - 1970; 1975 - 1983
  • Leo Reding 1970 - 1974
  • Tom Kough 1982 - 1986
  • John O'Rourke 1987 - 1997
  • Bonnie Rietz 1997-2007
  • Tom Stiehm 2007-present


Famous residents

Novelist Tim O'Brien was born in Austin and lived there until he was twelve. American football coach and commentator John Madden was also born in Austin. Artist/writer Matt Dahl was also born in Austin and spent his first decade there. In addition, PGA Golfers Tom Lehman , Lee Janzen and Jon Chaffee were born in Austin.


  1. ^ 2000 U.S. Census Factfinder
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  5. ^ Major Employers & Workforce

Further reading

  • Mill on the Willow: A History of Mower County, Minnesota by various authors. Library of Congress No. 84-062356

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AUSTIN, a city and the county-seat of Mower county, Minnesota, U.S.A., on the Red Cedar river and Turtle creek, (by rail) 105 m. S. of Minneapolis and loo m. from St Paul. Pop. (1890) 3901; (1900) 5474; (1905, state census), 6489, of whom 913 were foreign-born. It is served by the Chicago Great Western and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul railways. Austin is the seat of the Southern Minnesota Normal College and Austin School of Commerce (1896), and has a Carnegie library, court house and city hall. It is a market for live-stock, and for dairy and farm products, and has slaughtering and packing establishments, flour mills, creameries and cheese factories, canning and preserving factories, carriage works, a flax fibre mill and grain elevators. Brick, tile, sewer-pipe, and hydraulic cement are manufactured, and there are railway repair shops. A valuable water-power is utilized for manufacturing purposes. Fresh-water pearls of considerable value and beauty are found in the Red Cedar river. The city owns and operates its own water-supply system and electric-lighting plant. Austin was settled in 1855, was incorporated as a village in 1868, and was chartered as a city in 1873.

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