Fountain featured on the Today Show - and now, upset - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

Fountain featured on the Today Show - and now, upset

FOUNTAIN, MN (KTTC-TV) -- A small town in Fillmore County got a national shout-out Tuesday on the Today Show. But it's not the type of shout-out that residents wanted.

Peter Greenburg, Today's travel editor was on the show, talking about his new book. The first town he talked about was the small town of Fountain.

"Here's a town in southern Minnesota that actually put on their brochure, the sinkhole capital of America. Okay? Now that's not bad enough. Look closely at that brochure. The artist depiction of two kids riding bicycles. It's the sinkhole capital. Where's little Johnny? I don't know."

"He was defaming us and we're very upset with this," said Sharon Speer, the assistant city clerk in Fountain.  "I was very irritated."

"Fountain is a beautiful small community, gateway to the Root River State Trail and to think that this person who came on the Today Show to say that we were one of the spots that you would not want to visit," said Speer.

The show dismissed the small town of Fountain, saying their claim to fame is lame.

"And his opinion was, as we were calling ourselves the sinkhole capital of the U.S. that these bicyclists were going to fall into a sinkhole. That was his opinion," said Speer.

Debra Richardson of the Fillmore County History Center says the sinkholes actually attract tourism.

"If you're a geologist or somebody that's interested in that. It's very interesting because in Minnesota this is the place to go if you're interested in sinkholes. We have people come here just to look at the sinkholes," said Richardson.

In fact, they're a part of history.

"They would throw everything in them," said Richardson.

Some items, like an old shoe polish and an old bottle of medicine, have been recovered from a nearby sinkhole, a look into Fillmore county's past.

"Most of them are in Southeast Minnesota. That's why we're the sinkhole capital of the world," said Richardson.

And one persons trashing, is one town's treasure.

The town will be featured in Peter Greenburg's new book.

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