Minnesota’s Bluff Country Destination

OUR MISSION:  “To establish the Historic Bluff Country Region of Southeastern Minnesota as a desirable travel destination, as well as to strengthen and improve the economic base of the area.”

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Hwy 16 Byway Walking Tour  - Spring Valley

Just east of the town of Spring Valley, the original "Old Spring Valley" began where settlers staked claims along the creek and bubbling springs. In May of 1855 a group of men arrived from Pennsylvania, considered the founding fathers of Spring Valley. They purchased, with gold, what is now the core of Spring Valley. Both east and west sites were platted and recorded as Spring Valley, Minnesota in 1856, but it became evident the west site would best develop, and "Old Spring Valley" was destined for farmland.

Along with farming, many businesses quickly came to town to provide for the growing community. The stagecoach line and two railroads brought new faces as the town expanded. By the turn of the century Spring Valley was thriving with countless businesses including grain and planing mills, hotels, foundry, blacksmith and harness shops, cigar and brush factories, creameries, a light plant, lumber yards, camera and staple factories, department stores and much more. Crucial to the community was a fine school system, several churches and an outstanding Carnegie library.

Many individuals soon stood out to later become well known names: Richard Sears (Sears & Roebuck catalog & retailstores); Charlie Henderson (inventor of the desk stapler); Bernard Pietenpol (homebuilt aircraft designer); Dr. Henry Plummer (Mayo Clinic fame); the Conley brothers (Conley Camera Co.); Hans Andersen (founder of Andersen Windows); and Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder (author). These stories and more are detailed at the Historical Society's Methodist Church Museum complex which chronicles the rich history of the community.

Today Spring Valley remains a thriving community with hometown appeal. There is a variety of restaurants, gas stations, local businesses, commercial businesses, and winery. Important to the citizens in the area are the many churches, excellent schools, and a new library. To enhance the small town feeling, there are seasonal events for everyone - chances to relax, talk with friends and neighbors and enjoy fun times. Sunday evening concerts in the park run from May through October; Wilder Days are in May with the Almanzo 100 bike race; Freedom Fest is held July 3rd; the third weekend in August is Ag Days; and Christmas on Broadway comes in December.

There are many reasons to stop in Spring Valley. Visit the Methodist Church Museum, a Laura Ingalls Wilder Site, the historic Washburn-Zittleman Historic Home, the Ag Building & History Hall, Deer Creek Speedway, Mystery Cave, Historic Forestville State Park, and the 9-hole Root River Country Club. See the many historic downtown buildings on a leisurely walking tour, the nostalgic A & W Drive-In, and the beautiful homes that boast of successful residents of the past. Stop by the quaint Tourist Information Center (summer hours) on Highways #63 & #16 for more information on these sites and events, or visit




Driving Tours…

Spring Valley