About/History

|About/History
About/History

About

Whether you decide to stay, or just plan to visit, we welcome you to St. Charles and hope your stay is filled with many fond memories!

Located 20 miles east of Rochester and 20 miles west of Winona, St. Charles offers big city conveniences with the advantages of small town living.  Best known for being the Gateway to the Whitewater Valley, St. Charles is a vibrant community of 3,825 people comfortably nestled within the rolling hills and valleys of southeastern Minnesota.

St. Charles is a great place to visit and an even better place to live.  Our vibrant main street, small town charm, and scenic residential subdivisions make St. Charles a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.

In St. Charles, recreational opportunities abound. The Majestic Whitewater State Park is only seven miles north of the city. We have five beautiful city parks offering a variety of activities, including picnic areas, volleyball courts, ball fields, playground equipment and biking and hiking trails.  We are very proud of our Senior Center with over 90 active members, and our expansive recreation programs.

While you’re here, play a round of golf at the St. Charles Golf Course, enjoy a warm summer day at our state-of-the-art aquatics facility, or visit our public library.

If shopping is more your style, St. Charles’ downtown area has several antique and specialty shops for your prowling pleasure, a pleasant outing for both the treasure seeker or browser.

History

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.