History of St. Charles
Historically, St. Charles was founded in 1854 along the bank of the Whitewater River and became a City in 1858. Located in the heart of the richest farmland in southern Minnesota, St. Charles quickly grew into an agricultural center. Much of that heritage we have retained today.
The City of St. Charles was named for St. Charles of Italy. Our City lies in a fertile valley and early settlers were drawn to this area because of the Whitewater River, the beauty of the surrounding limestone bluffs and the richness of the land.
In 1864, the first railroad tracks crossed the City limits, connecting St. Charles with our neighbors in Winona. Electric power illuminated St. Charles in December 1903, with the first currents of electricity brightening the bulbs of St. Charles' 70th Christmas. The first automobile to travel the City streets arrived in 1904. U.S. Highway 14 was completed in the early 1930's and Interstate 90 was built on the southern edge of the City in the early 1970's.
St. Charles is best known for being the "Gateway to the Whitewater Valley", however, the gladiolus flower made the City world famous, thanks to former local resident Carl Fischer.