On The Road in Forestville: A trip back in time to 1899 - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

On The Road in Forestville: A trip back in time to 1899


Once you cross the bridge over the Root River eight miles southwest of Preston, you're magically transported to a distant place and distant time.

Welcome to Historic Forestville, a part of Forestville State Park that functions as a living museum of the year 1899. Forestville was once a booming town that made its name as a farming center during the late 1800s.

"There are many folks that like to come here and see how their forefathers had farming operations back then," said Paula Ruesink of Historic Forestville.

Forestville became a ghost town once the railroads passed it by, but the state of Minnesota preserved what was left in 1949 and the spirit of 1899 has been alive here ever since.

"It brings back a lot of nostalgia for life the way it was," said Ruesink.

Forestville State Park isn't just about the historical town; the area is also one of the best known trout fishing spots in Southeast Minnesota and the Mystery Caves down County Road 118 offers its own batty adventure.

However, for people like Hastings resident Sue Esler, the nostalgic charm of historic Forestville was the main draw.

"It's interesting to see how simply they lived and how we could live that simply today," said Esler.

While some got enjoyment out of seeing how Forestvillians farmed and shopped back in 1899, others such as Cottage Grove newlyweds Mitch and Brittany Plisek found happiness by reconnecting with nature and feeding Forestville's famous chickens.

"It's definitely therapeutic for sure," said Mitch. "It's so wonderful being able to escape the city."

The chickens weren't the only ones fed, as Forestville's resident baker creates period specific meals for the weary travelers that pass through.

From the food to the music and everything in between, Historic Forestville is your gateway back to a simpler time.

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