History Tour

Visit the Historic Downtowns in each of the three communities! 


Historical Society and Museum: Northfield 

408 Division St., Northfield 

Come learn about Northfield’s unique history, and experience life as it was in the 1800s at the Historical Society and Museum. The bank that the James-Younger gang attempted to rob in 1876 is one of Northfield’s most famous attractions, and the museum preserves the site as it stood on that fateful day. 


Historic Sites: Northfield 

Guide yourself back in time as you view Northfield’s historical architecture as it looked a century ago. The tour includes such landmarks as the Archer House, the Scriver Building, the Grand Event Center and more. 


Norwegian-American Historical Association: Northfield 


Dating back to 1925, the Norwegian-American Historical Association is a treasure trove for scholars of Norwegian history. Housed on the beautiful St. Olaf campus, NAHA’a archives are open to the public by appointment and feature letters, papers, books, periodicals, photographs, diaries and newspapers related to Norwegian-American life and history. 

Faribault Woolen Mills: Faribault 

1500 2nd Ave NW, Faribault 
(507) 412-5534 


For many generations, the Faribault Woolen Mill Company has grown and thrived as a business. Since 1865,the year Lincoln died and the Civil War ended, the Woolen Mill has played a part in history, whether its blankets traveled in covered wagons with the frontier movement West, covering our troops during the war years, or providing warmth for those in need, Faribault blankets and woolen products have been woven into the fabric of American history. The Woolen Mill retail store offers Faribault blankets, throws, scarves and accessories, as well as mill seconds and special runs. TOUR THE MILL: Available at 11am & 1pm every Friday and second Saturday of the month. Call 507.412.5534 or email info@faribaultmill.com to reserve your spot. 


Rice County Historical Society: Faribault 

1814 2nd Ave NW, Faribault 



The Rice County Historical Society was founded in 1926 as an outgrowth of the Old Settlers Association, formed in 1874. Its mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Rice County and the State of Minnesota.” The museum contains a collection of objects, images and artifacts, ranging from pre-history to present day. 


Alexander Faribault House: Faribault 

31 3rd St. NE, Faribault 



The Alexander Faribault House, built in 1853, was the first wood-frame house built in Rice County, Minnesota. It was built by fur trader Alexander Faribault in the Greek Revival style. Tours available. 

Step Back in Time: Owatonna Group Tour Package 


Call the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism for booking the Step Back in Time Tour. Visit the Orphanage Museum, Steele County History Center, Village of Yesteryear and National Farmers’ Bank all in one day. Lunch and snacks included! 


MN State Public School Orphanage Museum: Owatonna 

540 West Hills Circle 


Guided & Self-Guided Tours available. 
Approximately 10,635 orphaned, abandoned or abused children were sent to Owatonna between 1886 and 1945 to live at the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children, located on what is now called the West Hills Campus.  The historic campus is now home to the Owatonna Arts Center, the Little Theatre of Owatonna, City offices and the only known Orphanage Museum in the nation. The museum was founded by a former “State-Schooler” to remember the children who lived there. Explore the Museum, historic Cottage 11, the Children’s Cemetery, and an audio tour to get a glimpse of what life was like for the children who called the State School their home. Whether you schedule a guided group tour or choose a self-guided visit, you will find unforgettable history awaiting you.  


National Farmers’ Bank: Owatonna 



The National Farmers’ Bank is a premier example of Prairie School Architecture and was named one of the “11 Can’t-Miss Stops on a Tour of America’s Hidden Architecture Gems”. The bank was designed in the early 1900s by Louis Sullivan who was known as the “father of the skyscraper” and Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor. The National Farmers’ Bank became the first, and most famous of Louis Sullivan’s “jewel box” banks. The building features gold leaf arches, stained glass windows, ornate terra cotta, and 2-ton electroliers. Now an operating Wells Fargo, the bank is located across from Central Park in Historic Downtown. Take a self-guided tour or call the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism to organize a group tour.  


Steele County History Center and Village of Yesteryear: Owatonna 

1700 Austin Road, Owatonna 



Experience what life was like in Owatonna during the late 19th century at the Village of Yesteryear. The 17-structure village includes an 1868 mansion, a historic schoolhouse, a general store, log cabins, and a blacksmith shop. Stop in next door to the Steele County History Center to view rotating exhibits about the history of the region. In July, experience the Extravaganza - an afternoon of music, food, and historic demonstrations in the Village.