In the early days, there were no highways in Southwest Minnesota. Railroad ties and steam engines connected our communities. Stop by one of our historic town depots, and chances are you'll make a new friend who can tell you all about the railroad days.
Murray County: Murray County hosts Lake Shetek State Park and nine other county parks where some of our earliest history can be explored. Murray County has something for everyone; Hunting, Fishing, Camping, Golf, Shopping, Dining and several festivals and events scheduled throughout the year.
Currie: At the End-O-Line Park & Museum. Learn from the educational exhibits, railroad equipment and history. Ride the manually operated turntable. Children ride miniature Hilfers train. Reminisce in the country school, general store and gristmill. See Veterans Memorial. Access bike trail to Lake Shetek State Park. In Currie, visit the unique Currie Corner Store.
Buffalo Ridge: The western edge of Murray County is famous "Buffalo Ridge". The tip of the ridge is over 1900 feet above sea level and is one of the highest points in the state. The ridge is the dividing line between the two major watersheds in the country, the Mississippi and Missouri River systems. Buffalo Ridge was well known by the Sioux Indians. It was undoubtedly a place of religious significance. Early explorers discovered several rock outlines that had been made there by the Indians. Near the summit of the ridge was once an Indian cemetery that was scattered over a mile of ground. At the very tip there still remains an Indian Smoke Pit. The earliest explorer to document our immediate area was Joseph Nicollet. He was a French scientist that led a government expedition through our area. On June 28, 1838, Nicollet described Buffalo Ridge and Lost Timber in his notes that were later compiled and printed in a book. www.murray-countymn.com
Slayton: Slayton was surveyed and platted in 1881 and named after Charles W. Slayton, a land agent for the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad. The village was incorporated in 1887 and became the official county seat in 1889. It achieved this distinction after a heated and lengthy battle with Currie which was the county's first county seat by virtue of being the only settlement in the county at the time.
Located at the intersection of U. S. Highway 59 and State Highway 30, Slayton is the hub of the county. It still has three banks and six churches, a high school and elementary school and a business district that continues to hold its own. http://slayton.govoffice.com
Fulda: Fulda is located on Highway 59 just 15 minutes north of I-90 on the gently rolling prairie plains of Murray County in southwestern Minnesota. The prairie of this area of Minnesota provides a variety of high quality natural resources including productive soils, many lakes, small streams, a multitude of marshes, abundant wildlife and lots of clean air. Fulda encompasses the north shore of beautiful Seven Mile Lake, a 177 acre recreational lake. Fulda was established in 1881 as a railroad community. America was stretching out into the rich agricultural promise of the Great North American Prairie and immigrants from Europe were pouring into the United States. Settled by German, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrants, Fulda is still predominantly an agricultural community even today.
Avoca: Avoca, Minnesota is located in the eastern part of Murray County. The lakeshore of Lime Lake wraps around the north and west side of Avoca. A monument at the wayside rest was built by the State of Minnesota in 1959 and given to the City of Avoca to maintain. The local Federated Women have added a picnic table and flowers on either side. Inscription on monument reads as follows: This town began in 1878 and, named for a river in Ireland, became a key point for the sale of 50,000 acres of railroad land to Catholic Colonists in Murray County through the activities of Archbishop Ireland and the Catholic Colonization Bureau.
Dovary: The unique historical fact about Dovray is that in 1904 the town site was moved to be closer to the railroad line. Originally, the town was one mile south and one mile east of the present location. The town flourished until 1916 when the "big fire" destroyed many of the buildings.
Hadley: The prairie village sits on a hill overlooking Summit Lake. The lake is 80acres and is the tributary to Beaver Creek. The residents of Hadley can trace their ancestors back to the first brave settlers who came from Norway when Native Americans camped on the shores of Summitt Lake. Hadley Buttermakers Baseball is a rich tradition in Hadley and they have had some good teams. In the 1940s they went to state four times, 1940, '42,'43, and '45. In the late '60s Hadley was having trouble finding players and folded from '68 to '70. In 1971 Hadley and Lake Wilson ballplayers again started the team, eventually moving it to Lake Wilson where a manager could be found. The Buttermakers are now back in Hadley and made a trip to state in 2001.
Chandler: Like many towns, Chandler got its start with the coming of the railroad. The Southern Minnesota Railroad completed a line through the area in 1880. A windmill was built there and for years it was the lone edifice on the eastern end of the Chanarambie Valley. Then, in 1886, G.W. Smith surveyed the plat for the town site and a railroad station was built the same year. The first store was owned by Samuel B. Rockey and, when obtainable, eggs sold for 5 cents a dozen. The building had been brought from Iowa and rebuilt here and was located where the Chandler Cafe now stands.
Westbrook: See restored 1906 Westbrook Hotel. Visit Heritage House Museum, a restored depot stands on original site.
Lake Shetek State Park: Access the 6-mile bike trail to the End-O-Line Park. Camping, fishing, hiking, boating and guided tours. One of the region's hot spots!
Jeffers Petroglyphs: Native American drawings on red quartzite rock. Carvings of human figures, weapons and animals are explained in the Interpretive Center.
Jeffers Petroglyphs (Minn. Historical Society)
Sanborn: Spend the night in an authentic sod house at the McCone Sod House exhibit. Gift shop with 1880's items. Phone 507-723-5138.
Red Rock Falls County Park: Enjoy the waterfalls and dells. Also fishing, hiking and Frisbee disc course at nearby Moundscreek County Park.
Dovray: Visit the nationally touted care run by volunteers.
Iona: The history of Iona village and Iona township are linked inseparably with the name of Father Martin McDonnell. In 1878, he platted the village next to the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Southern Minnesota Railroad. Visit Lundblad Prairie, native prairie on the edge of Badger Lake, three miles northeast of Iona.
Tracy: Visit Wheels Across the Prairie Railroad Museum, which displays artifacts from the pioneer days. Visit St. Mark's Museum.
Murray County: Visit the Murray County website.