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Historical and Scenic Sites

Watonwan County Historical Center –
423 Dill Avenue SW, Madelia – 507-642-3247

One of the most enjoyed museums in the area. The Watonwan County Historical Center offers three buildings with several displays that includes the original log cabin home that also served as the first post office, a replica of a covered wagon dating back to the 1800’s, a horse drawn hearse, two headed calf, several artifacts and antiques all displayed uniquely in old time settings. The historical center has just completed a large addition that…that houses a library, extensive genealogy center, and several other displays. Groups are welcome and encouraged to visit but please call ahead to check on hours.

Madelia Veterans Memorial Park 
The Madelia Veterans Memorial Committee is pleased to announce that they have received a grant from the State of Minnesota Sesquicentennial Committee for the development of Veterans of Watonwan County Histories. The Committee in collaboration with the Watonwan County Historical Society will be collecting as many veteran stories as possible in Watonwan County.

This is a wonderful opportunity for veterans to share their memories of military service. Each story is important, not only stories of heroism, but the everyday story of your service to country. At this time I would also like to mention that we are not only looking for stories of war but of peace time tours of duty also. Remembering that “all wars are started in peace time”.

HONOR YOUR VETERAN The Veterans Memorial will fly a flag monthly for your Veteran.
  Veterans Committee
PO Box 155
Madelia, MN 56062

To make the collecting of histories easier, we have the capabilities of video taping these stories along with the written stories. This is a huge undertaking but it is very important that we preserve these important bits of history. Your story is important.

Contact: Deb Grote @ 507-317-8550
Wilma Wolner @ 507-642-3247
Visit Madelia Veterans website.
Christensen Building 
Home to the Chamber & Visitors Bureau, this building is believed to be the first brick building in the county and inspired other area builders to use the same material. It was built in 1872 by William Estes, one of the city’s early settlers. The building originally started out as a general merchandise store but later was home to numerous other businesses such as a newspaper, auto dealership, tv sales & service store, beauty salon and furniture upholstery shop. Local business owner Everett Christensen Jr. purchased the building in 1985 and began extensive restoration. The building now houses a unique two-room hotel in the top floor and the main floor is the home of the Chamber & Visitors Bureau. In 1998, Christensen commissioned the mural which covers the west side of the building and depicts the gun battle between the Younger Brothers Gang and the citizens of Madelia (Magnificent Seven) who eventually brought them to justice. There you will also find a plaque that tells the story of the Capture  of the Younger Brothers
Pioneer Bank 
Located at 34 West Main Street, the first courthouse for the county. When Joseph Flanders, county register of deeds built it in 1872 the first floor held county offices and a bank. The second floor was the court room and the basement housed the jail. After the county seat was moved to a bakery and retail stores. The second floor became a community room. When Farmers State Bank started up in 1916, they took over the building and in 1985 completely restored the building. It was the first building in the county to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In December 2013, Pioneer Bank purchased Farmers State Bank.
Fort Cox Marker –
Located at the corner of Center Avenue North and 1st Street NE next to the United Methodist Church. The fort is no longer standing, but a small window (hardly more than a gun port) is on display at the Watonwan County Historical Center here in Madelia. This fortification was constructed in 1862 during the Sioux Uprising to help protect settlers. Interestingly, the two story log structure was built in a hexagon shape.
Younger Brothers Capture Site –
To get to the marker go North on Benzel Avenue from Madelia for ½ mile to County Road 3, turn left and go towards LaSalle. A sign next to the highway at LaSalle will indicate another left turn. Proceed ½ mile south to the marker indicating the site of the gun battle. 

Watonwan River Scenic Overlook 
Built on the two remaining pillars of the Middle Bridge that once spanned the river, replacing a ferry boat that had operated as early as 1869.
Capture Site
School to Nature Area Project –
To the east of the Watona Park, this area consists of walking trails, various plant life, indigenous to this flood plain area and an observation deck overlooking the Watonwan River. This project is a joint effort of the city and the local school district.
Warren Truss Through Bridge –
The oldest bridge of this type left in Minnesota. It served this area from 1908 to 1990. It is located near the Madelia Golf Course on Joy Avenue. It stands exactly where it was built in 1908, although, much around it has changed. On December 3, 2013 – West Bridge No. 6527: Warren Truss Through Bridge of Madelia was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Winfield Scott Hammond Memorial Highway –
This highway connects Madelia with St James. Hammond, a former governor of Minnesota, was a resident of Madelia before moving to St James. A marker that tells his story is located at the Madelia end of the highway where it meets Benzel Avenue SW, just south of the Watonwan River bridge
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