Historic Forestville, 21899 County 118 Road, Preston, Minnesota
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|Address:||21899 County 118 Road|
|Fillmore County, Minnesota|
|State/province:|| Minnesota |
|Current Function:||Historic site|
Forestville developed as a pioneer town in the mid-1850s while the new Minnesota Territory was being settled. Located in southeastern Minnesota, Fillmore County attracted farmers with its good cropland and plentiful timber and water power. At its peak, the town of Forestville boasted a grist mill, school, brickyard, two hotels, two saw mills, a cabinet shop, a blacksmith shop, general store, and post office.
However, this blossoming community was hard hit by the decision of the Southern Minnesota Railroad to bypass Forestville in 1868. Many townspeople and businesses moved to more prosperous communities, leaving a few dwindling enterprises behind. The town was transformed during the next two decades into a large one-family-owned farming operation. By the 1890s, Thomas Meighen's general store was one of the few remaining businesses in town, and by 1899, he employed everyone, paid workers in store credit and rented them houses that he owned.At Historic Forestville today, the Minnesota Historical Society looks through the eyes of the Meighen family and their paid workers to teach visitors about a town experiencing economic and population decline.