Did you know?
Trail Towns Unique Facts!
The name given to the town by the railroad was originally "Clinton" later it became St Joseph and is the site of the first consecrated Catholic Church in Minnesota. St Joseph is home to St Benedict’s Monastery one of the largest Catholic women’s religious communities in the world.
This area was originally referred to as "Sugar Bush" after the common practice of local Native American Indians collecting Sugar Maple sap to create maple sugar. It is also the site where thousands of students over the years got off the train and made their way to St John’s Abbey and University for their college education. The Benedictine monks came to St Cloud Minnesota in 1856 from St Vincent Abbey in Latrobe Pennsylvania and moved to the present location in 1857 and established the Abbey which is the largest Benedictine Abbey in the world.
Avon was originally called Spunk Lakes. Legend has it the name came from the name of a local Indian Chief whose name was "Spunk"
The Albany area was referred to as "Two Rivers" from the name of the river that flows through the area and eventually flows into Two Rivers Lake northwest of Albany just south of Holdingford. The river is also the inspiration for the Bad Battle River in Jon Hassler’s novels set in the fictional town of Staggerford Minnesota.
"Oak Station" was the original name for Freeport because of the large oak savannas that covered the area. The name was later changed to "Freeport" to avoid confusion with "Osakis" because the names were too similar and railroad freight was being miss-delivered because of names. The name "Freeport" came from the Postmaster at the time, Frank Benolken. He came from Illinois and the nearest town to where he was from was Freeport, IL.
Sauk Centre was the home town of Sinclair Lewis who was a very popular, successful and critically acclaimed author in the first half the 20th century. His book "Main Street" was about life in a small town called "Gopher Prairie" and he used his home town as the basis for his story. Lewis received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1930 the first American author honored with the award. He published 27 books. The townspeople of Sauk Centre were not happy with the portrayal of their town and did not embrace Lewis until much later. The city now uses Sinclair Lewis to help promote their town.
Another popular American Author Jon Hassler used Holdingford and Central Minnesota as the location for his novels. He changed the name to "Staggerford" in his stories. He's the author of 12 novels. He graduated from St John's University in 1955 and became a high school teacher and later a college professor. He taught at Bemidji State and Brainerd Community College. His last position was at St John's University where he held the positions of Regents Professor Emeritus and Writer-in-Residence.