Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota
City of Rochester
—  City  —
Downtown Rochester reflected in south Silver Lake


Nickname(s): Med City, Roch
Coordinates: 44°1′24.24″N 92°27′46.62″W / 44.0234°N 92.46295°W / 44.0234; -92.46295Coordinates: 44°1′24.24″N 92°27′46.62″W / 44.0234°N 92.46295°W / 44.0234; -92.46295
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Olmsted
Founded 1854
 – Mayor Ardell Brede (I)
 – City 39.8 sq mi (103.0 km2)
 – Land 39.6 sq mi (102.6 km2)
 – Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)  0.35%
Elevation 1,317 ft (401.4 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 – City 106,769 (MN: 3rd)
 – Density 2,454.3/sq mi (947.3/km2)
 – Metro 186,011
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 55901, 55902, 55903, 55904, 55905, 55906
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-54880[2]
GNIS feature ID 0650180[3]

Rochester is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County. Located on both banks of the Zumbro River, The city has a population of 106,769 according to the 2010 United States Census[1], making it Minnesota's third-largest city and the largest outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area.[4]



The territorial legislature created Olmsted County on February 20, 1855, with Rochester named county seat in 1857. Rochester developed as a stagecoach stop between Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Dubuque, Iowa. When the railroad arrived in the 1860s, it brought new residents and business opportunities. In 1863, Dr. William W. Mayo arrived as the examining surgeon for draftees in the Civil War.

Old City Hall

On August 21, 1883, the Great Tornado demolished much of Rochester, leaving 37 dead and about 200 injured. There was no medical facility at the time, so Mayo and his two sons worked together to care for the wounded. Donations of $60,000 were collected and the Sisters of St. Francis, assisted by Mayo, opened a new facility named St. Marys Hospital in 1889.[5] The Mayo practice grew and is today among the largest and most well-respected medical facilities in the world. Many famous people from around the world, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, the Dalai Lama, and King Hussein of Jordan, have visited Rochester as patients of the Mayo Clinic.

A number of Rochester buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the former Chateau Theatre, which now houses a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and Avalon Music, formerly a hotel important in the local civil rights movement.


Rochester lies alongside the South Fork of the Zumbro River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.8 square miles (103 km2): 39.6 square miles (103 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.35%) is water.

Rochester is in Olmsted County, one of only four counties in Minnesota without a natural lake. Artificial lakes exist in the area, including Silver Lake, a dammed portion of the South Fork Zumbro River just below the convergence with Silver Creek near the city center. The lake was used as a cooling pond for the nearby electrical power plant for many years, although the amount of water used for this purpose has been significantly reduced. Heated water in the lake generally prevents it from freezing over even during Minnesota winters, attracting large numbers of migrating Giant Canada Geese, which have become symbols of the city.

A major flood in 1978 led the city to embark on an expensive flood-control project that involved altering many nearby rivers and streams.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 1,424
1870 3,953 177.6%
1880 5,103 29.1%
1890 5,321 4.3%
1900 6,843 28.6%
1910 7,844 14.6%
1920 13,722 74.9%
1930 20,621 50.3%
1940 28,312 37.3%
1950 29,885 5.6%
1960 40,663 36.1%
1970 53,766 32.2%
1980 57,890 7.7%
1990 70,745 22.2%
2000 85,806 21.3%
2010 106,769 24.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 95,179 people, 39,203 households, and 23,831 families in the city. There were 42,049 housing units. There were 39,203 households out of which 49.8% were married couples. About 31.6% had children under the age of 18. About 2.5% were made up of a male householder with no wife present and about 8.5% were made up of a female householder with no husband present. In addition, 39.2% of all households were non-family households and 32.6% of households were made up of householders living alone. And 8.7% of households were made up of someone living alone who was 65 years of age and over. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.04.[6]

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey, the median household income was $57,957 and the median family income was $74,467. The per capita income was $30,977. About 5.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those aged 65 or over.[7]

In terms of ancestry, the 2005–2007 American Community Survey found German Americans to be the largest single ethnic group in Rochester, making up 35.5% of the city's population. Norwegian Americans made up 15.9%, while Irish Americans contributed to 11.6% of the city's populace. English Americans made up 8.2% of the population and Swedish Americans were 5.0% of the city's population.[6] As many patients of the Mayo Clinic are Muslim, Rochester's Abubakar Siddiq Mosque was recently built.

According to the 2010 US Census, non-Hispanic whites made up 81.9% of Rochester's population. Blacks made up 6.3% of the population while American Indians made up 0.2% of the populace. Asians were the largest minority group; representing 6.8% of Rochester's population. Hispanics and Latinos made up 5.2% of the city's population.[8]

According to newly released 2010 census information Rochester has a population of 106,760 a 24.4 percent increase since 2000. Olmsted County has a population of 144,248 in 2010.


The Mayo Clinic forms the core of Rochester's economy, employing about 30,000 people and drawing over 2 million visitors to the city each year.[9] The clinic's many facilities, along with hotels, restaurants and retail stores, comprise nearly all of the city's downtown. Other care providers, including the Rochester Federal Medical Center, are significant employers.

IBM's Rochester campus is one of the company's most important manufacturing centers, having produced the System i series,[10] been home to the first Blue Gene prototype, and contributed the servers for Roadrunner.[11] Seven employees at the Rochester IBM campus created IBM Employees Credit Union, which is now Think Mutual Bank, a chain of banks in the Rochester and Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The economy of Rochester is also influenced by the agricultural nature of the region. Seneca Foods has a processing plant in Rochester, and multiple dairy producers such as Kemps are active in the area. In addition, Kerry Flavours and Ingredients, a subsidiary of the global Irish company called Kerry Group, maintains a production plant in Rochester that specializies in fermented ingredients, found in breads, meats and other manufactured foods.

Downtown Rochester reflected in the Zumbro River
# Employer # of Employees
1 Mayo Clinic 32,000
2 IBM 4,400
3 Rochester Public Schools 2,200
4 Olmsted County 1,181
5 Olmsted Medical Center 1,138
6 Walmart and Sam's Club 1,005
7 HyVee 880
8 City of Rochester 947
9 Crenlo 725
10 Sunstone Hotel Properties 650
11 Charter Communications 625


Rochester is served by three U.S. highways (U.S. 14, U.S. 52, and U.S. 63), and the southern edge of Rochester is skirted by Interstate Highway 90 and State Highway 30. Olmsted County Highway 22 is also a main highway in the city because it circles most of Rochester. A combination of skyways and subterranean walkways (the "subway") link most downtown buildings. Public transit is run by Rochester City Lines. Rochester International Airport, located about seven miles south of downtown, is the second busiest commercial airport in Minnesota.

A proposed Twin Cities-Rochester rail link has been subject to a series of studies since the late 1980s, either as an independent route to the Twin Cities or as part of a high-speed link to Chicago. Rochester previously had service to Chicago until the Chicago and North Western Railway's Rochester 400 ended service in 1963.


Part of the Government Center building in Rochester. The section in center and left houses county offices and courtrooms. To the right is part of City Hall.

Rochester is located in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, represented by Mankato educator Tim Walz, a member of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party| (DFL]. The city includes parts of Minnesota state legislative districts 29 and 30.[12]

The mayor of Rochester is Ardell Brede.[13] The city has an early defibrillation program;[14][15] all marked city police cars carry defibrillators.[16]


Corn water tower near the Seneca Foods plant

Rochester Public Schools enroll 16,300 students in 23 public primary and secondary schools.[17] The city is divided into three public high school districts: John Marshall, Mayo and Century. Private schools in the city include Lourdes and Schaeffer Academy, and Studio Academy, a fine arts-focused charter school.[18][19]

Higher education in Rochester has been concentrated at University Center Rochester in the city's southeast outskirts, where Rochester Community and Technical College shares a campus with a branch of Winona State University.[20] The University of Minnesota offered degrees through UCR until 2007, when the University of Minnesota Rochester was established downtown.[21] Rochester is also home to Crossroads College, along with branches of Cardinal Stritch University and the Minnesota School of Business. Branches of Augsburg College and College of St. Scholastica are also in Rochester as are branches of Winona State University and St. Mary's University.

The Mayo Clinic offers graduate medical education and research programs through the Mayo Medical School.


Rochester features a humid continental climate, with very warm summers and very cold winters. The city features four distinct seasons. Rochester sees on average 30 inches of rainfall per year, as well as 48 inches of snowfall. Significant snow accumulation is common during the winter months, with average temperatures well below the freezing point. Spring and fall are transitional seasons, with a general warming trend during the spring and a general cooling trend during the fall. However, it’s not uncommon to see some snowfall during the early months of spring and the later months of fall.

Climate data for Rochester, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 21
Daily mean °F (°C) 12
Average low °F (°C) 3
Rainfall inches (mm) 0.78
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.1

Parks and recreation

Downtown Rochester seen from Quarry Hill Park.

Rochester's park system is large, with more than 100 sites covering 5 square miles (13 km2). The city maintains 85 miles (137 km) of paved trails.[23] In addition, the Root River and Douglas State Trails, developed on historic rail passages, combine for nearly 55 miles (89 km) of scenic recreation paths in the Rochester area.


The city newspaper is the Post-Bulletin, an afternoon paper which publishes Monday through Saturday. The Post-Bulletin company also publishes Rochester Magazine, a monthly features periodical, as well as an Austin, Minnesota edition of their main paper.[24][25] A newspaper for all of Olmsted County, the Olmsted County Journal, is a weekly newspaper in the area. [26]

Rochester has a network of bike and pedestrian paths.

There are two television stations based in Rochester: KTTC channel 10 (NBC), KTTC-(CW) channel 10.2, and KXLT-TV channel 47 (Fox). The stations share studios as part of a special agreement between Quincy Newspapers and Segamorehill Broadcasting. KIMT channel 3 (CBS) in Mason City, Iowa, KAAL channel 6 (ABC) in Austin, channel 15 KSMQ (PBS) in Austin and channel 24 KYIN (PBS) in Mason City are among the stations that serve the market. KAAL is licensed to Austin, but has a studio in Rochester.

The Rochester area is served by cable company Charter Communications.


The city had long been a fixture on Money magazine's "Best Places to Live" index, and was ranked number 67 on the 2006 list,[27][28] and in the top 3, including number one multiple times, from 1993-1997.

Rochester ranked second in Quality of Life by American City Business Journal. [29]

Rochester ranked sixth in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine's 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade.

Golf Digest and Golf for Women both ranked Rochester as the fifth best golf market in the midwest in 2006.

In 2009, US News and World Report ranked Rochester in the Top Ten Best Places to Grow Up and ninth for Best Cities for job seeking retirees.

Sister Cities

See also


  1. ^ a b "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Rochester, MN Metro Area - ACS Demographics and Housing Estimates: 2008". 2008 American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  5. ^ "Tornado Strikes Rochester". Mayo Foundation for Medical and Educational Research. 
  6. ^ a b Rochester City, Minnesota. Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2005-2007. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  7. ^ Rochester City, Minnesota. 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Rochester: Economy. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  10. ^ "IBM Archives: Rochester profile". IBM. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  11. ^ Roadrunner. Top500 Supercomputing Sites.
  12. ^ "Your Elected Officials". Rochester City Clerk official website. City of Rochester, Minnesota. 
  13. ^ "Office of the Mayor". City of Rochester, Minnesota. 
  14. ^ White RD; Bunch TJ; Hankins DG (June 2005). "Evolution of a community-wide early defibrillation programme experience over 13 years using police/fire personnel and paramedics as responders.". Resuscitation. 
  15. ^ Robert Davis (2005-05-20). "The price of just a few seconds lost: People die". Six minutes to live or die (USA Today). 
  16. ^ "How Early Defibrillation Works". Rochester Police official web site. City of Rochester, Minnesota. 
  17. ^ "District 535 at a Glance". Rochester Public Schools. 
  18. ^ "Homepage". Schaeffer Academy. 
  19. ^ "Homepage". Studio Academy Charter High School. 
  20. ^ "Homepage". University Center Rochester. 
  21. ^ "Growth of UMR". University of Minnesota Rochester. 
  22. ^ "Historical weather for Rochester, Minnesota USA". Canty & Associates, LLC. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  23. ^ "Recreational trails". City of Rochester, Minnesota. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  24. ^ "Rochester Magazine". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC.. 
  25. ^ "Austin P-B". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC.. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Best Places to Live". Money Magazine. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  28. ^ "Best Places to Live". Money Magazine. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  29. ^

External links

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