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Faribault, Minnesota
—  City  —

Nickname(s): "Faribo"
Motto: "Small Town Pride, Big City Opportunities[1]"
Location in Rice County and the state of Minnesota.
Coordinates: 44°17′26.12″N 93°16′5.95″W / 44.2905889°N 93.2683194°W / 44.2905889; -93.2683194
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Rice
 - Mayor John Jasinski
 - Total 12.9 sq mi (33.3 km2)
 - Land 12.7 sq mi (32.9 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 994 ft (303 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 20,818
 Density 1,644.8/sq mi (634.9/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 55021
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-20546[2]
GNIS feature ID 0643560[3]

Faribault (pronounced /ˈfɛərboʊ/ FAIR-boh) is a city in Rice County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 20,818 at the 2000 census, and currently has a population of 25,000 to 30,000 people. It is the county seat of Rice County. Faribault is approximately 50 miles (80 km) south of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Interstate 35 and Minnesota State Highways 3, 21, and 60 are four of the main routes in the community.

Faribault is situated at the confluence of the Cannon and Straight Rivers in southern Minnesota.



Faribault is regarded as one of the most historic communities in Minnesota, with settlement and commercial activity predating Minnesota’s establishment as a U.S. Territory. Prior to 1745, the area was primarily occupied by the Wahpekute band of Dakotah. Shortly thereafter, the tribe was driven south after several clashes with the Ojibwe over territory.

The city's namesake, Alexander Faribault, was the son of a French-Canadian fur trader and a woman of the Dakotah tribe. He is credited with fueling most of the early settlement activity in the area beginning in 1826, when he established a fur trading post on the banks of the Cannon River. By 1834, the trading post had grown in popularity and was relocated to the Straight River, one mile upstream of its junction with the Cannon River, the site of modern-day Faribault. The young Alexander Faribault used his knowledge of Dakotah language and culture to improve relations with the displaced Wahpekute and even helped the tribe to resettle in the area. This relationship was instrumental in ensuring the success of the trading post and allowing safe travel to the area for settlers.

The aptly-named Alexander Faribault House was built in 1853 by Alexander Faribault at a cost of $4,000. The house is considered the oldest framed structure in the area, and still stands in its original location near the southeastern edge of Faribault's historic downtown district.

The years that followed the construction of this first building brought unprecedented growth, development, and economic prosperity for the young settlement. Spurred by the completion of the area's first steam-powered sawmill in early 1854, the year that followed would bring Faribault from a sleepy settlement of 20 buildings to a bustling town with more than 250 buildings. Historians attribute Faribault's impressive growth during this period to a number of important milestones which were passed in 1855 and 1856, including the creation of roads connecting to other settlements and trading posts in Iowa and Minnesota Territory, the availability of mail service, and the construction of schools and churches.

The City of Faribault was platted in 1855 and granted a home-rule charter in 1872.


Additional historical resources


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33.3 km²), of which, 12.7 square miles (32.8 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (1.56%) is water. The confluence of the Straight River and the Cannon River is located within city limits.[4] Sakatah Lake State Park and Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park are nearby.

Faribault County, Minnesota, roughly 100 miles to the southwest, is unrelated to the city of Faribault.

Interstate Highway 35 runs along the western edge of the city. The city is served by three full interchanges and one partial interchange. Prior to completion of I-35, traffic was routed directly through town; generating significant sales revenue to many retailers which literally had a major highway running directly past their doors. In approximately 1975, the last portions of Interstate 35 were completed and all traffic finally started to move around (and not through) Faribault. On that same corridor through town, the White Sands Swimming Pool ("Minnesota's Largest Outdoor Swimming Pool") operated from 1964 to 1977. This is now the trailhead for the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail which runs to Mankato and the future Mill Towns Trail is planned to run to Northfield. The site includes parking, restrooms and a shelter.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 3,045
1880 5,415 77.8%
1890 6,520 20.4%
1900 7,868 20.7%
1910 9,001 14.4%
1920 11,089 23.2%
1930 12,767 15.1%
1940 14,527 13.8%
1950 16,028 10.3%
1960 16,926 5.6%
1970 16,595 −2.0%
1980 16,241 −2.1%
1990 17,085 5.2%
2000 20,818 21.8%

As of the census of 2000,[2] there were 20,818 people, 7,472 households, and 4,946 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,644.8 people per square mile (634.9/km²). There were 7,668 housing units at an average density of 605.8/sq mi (233.9/km²). The ethnic/racial makeup of the city was 89.87% White, 2.69% African American, 0.67% Native American, 1.83% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.33% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.90% of the population.

There were 7,472 households out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 106.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,865, and the median income for a family was $49,662. Males had a median income of $32,404 versus $24,046 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,610. About 5.8% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.


Faribault has the usual gamut of small-town retail and service shops. Employers also include an assortment of light manufacturing offerings.

The main street, Central Avenue, is seeing a renaissance of re-development with most of the historic commercial block listed on the national register of historic places. Many buildings are being restored to their original appearance. Among them is the Paradise Center for the Arts, a multipurpose art center which is the result of a merger between the Faribault Art Center and the Faribault Area Community Theatre. Two long-time Faribault retailing/shopping institutions closed: the oldest and a long-time Central Avenue fixture, Jim & Joe's Clothiers, closed after 125+ years of service due to a number of related factors, primarily centering around the standard issues facing most small-town, family-owned retailers. The store was later leased by Brogan Equity and Investments in late 2009. [5] The second, Minnick's Food Market, was Faribault's last mom-and-pop grocery store and was closed after 60+ years of operation in late 2006.

Herbert Sellner, a woodworker and maker of water slides, invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926, at his Faribault, Minnesota, home. Over the next year, the first 14 Tilt-A-Whirls were built in Sellner's basement and yard. In 1927, Sellner Manufacturing opened its factory in Faribault, and the ride debuted that year at the Minnesota State Fair.


Faribault is located in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, represented by John Kline, a Republican.

Notable institutions


The Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and for the Blind, including the State Library for the Blind, are located in the southeast part of the city above the Straight River. Noyes Hall, a neoclassical building on the campus of Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6][6][7] The building is named for Jonathon L. Noyes, long-time administrator of the school.[8]

On the bluffs overlooking the Straight River east of downtown of Faribault is Shattuck-Saint Mary's School, a private college prep school for boys and girls grades 6-12. The institution was formerly three schools: Shattuck School (college prep for boys, grade 7-12), St. Mary's (college prep for girls, grade 7-12) and St. James (for elementary). Shattuck was originally an Episcopal military school. One enters Shattuck by driving through the stone arch which frames the stone buildings comprising the original campus; this image has been used in many movies when the director wishes to represent an elite, ivy league type school. {cite}

The most notable Shattuck attendee was Marlon Brando. In his autobiography, Songs My Mother Taught Me, he spoke glowingly of his classmates but was critical of the school administration. After being expelled prior to graduation for removing the clapper from the main bell (never proven), he received a letter from all his classmates in which they sent him their collective regards. The letter was one of only a few possessions which he appeared to appreciate throughout his life and it was framed and prominently displayed at one of his homes.

Other institutions

The Thomas Scott Buckham Memorial Library is the city library.

The Faribault Correctional Facility is a state prison located on the campus of a former mental hospital (aka "The State Schools").

The River Bend Nature Center is a 750-acre non-profit nature center in the southeast corner of Faribault.

Notable Faribault residents

See also

Mark Dusbabek 1989-1992 Minnesota Vikings Linebacker, University Of Minnesota Gophers Football team 4 year letterman. Current USGA Southwest Rules Director.


External links


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