History of Rochester
Olmsted County was created on February 20, 1855, and Rochester was immediately named the county seat in 1857. The city started off as a stagecoach stop between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Dubuque, which is a city in Iowa. Many new residents came to Rochester with the arrival of the railroad in the 1860s. New business opportunities also came with the railroad. Dr. William W. Mayo arrived in 1863 and he would later found the very well-known may Clinic.
A large portion of the town was destroyed by the Great Tornado of 1883. This tornado killed about 37 people and injured another 200. Since there was no hospital of any kind in the town at the time, Mayo and his two sons worked together to care for the wounded. Donations were collected and the Sisters of St. Francis, assisted by Mayo, opened a new facility named St. Mary’s Hospital in 1889. Of course, the Mayo Clinic is one of the most respected medical facilities in the world today. In fact, many presidents of the U.S. have been treated at the Mayo Clinic.
Today, the Mayo Clinic forms the core of Rochester's economy with over 30,000 employees from the city. The Clinic also attracts over 2 million visitors to the city every year on its own. The clinic has many different facilities, not just a hospital. The Mayo facilities include hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Almost all of the city's downtown area is made up of Mayo-related facilities. Excluding the state government, the Mayo Clinic is the largest employer in Minnesota.
Also, the IBM campus in Rochester is one of the company's most important manufacturing centers.
The economy of Rochester also relies a lot on agriculture. There are also a good deal of dairy producers in the area.
Culture and POI
In terms of cultural institutions, there are several buildings in the city that are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the former Chateau Theatre, which now houses a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and Avalon Music, which used to be a hotel that was very important in the local civil rights movement.
The city’s park system is also very large, with more than 100 sites spread out on five square miles.
Education in Rochester
The city has several institutions of higher education, the most notable being University Center Rochester. Also, the Mayo Clinic offers graduate medical education and research programs through the Mayo Medical School in Rochester.
Rochester is served by three U.S. highways (U.S. 14, U.S. 52, and U.S. 63). Olmsted County Highway 22 is also a main highway in the city, circling a majority of the city.
Public transit in the city is run by Rochester Public Transit and operated by First Transit. The area is also served by the Rochester International Airport, located about seven miles south of downtown. It is the second busiest commercial airport in the state of Minnesota.
Good Place to Live
The city is regarded as one of the best places to live in the U.S. and has been a fixture on Money magazine's "Best Places to Live" index. It was ranked number 67 on the 2006 list and during the 1990s; it was ranked in the top 3 numerous times.
In 2009, US News and World Report ranked the city as being one of the top ten best places to grow up and the ninth best city for job seeking retirees.