Main Births etc
Rochester, Minnesota
—  City  —
City of Rochester
Downtown Rochester reflected in south Silver Lake

Official seal of Rochester, Minnesota
Med City,
Motto: "First Class City, First Class Service"[1]
Location of the city of Rochester
within Olmsted County, Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota is located in the USA
Rochester, Minnesota
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°1′24.24″N 92°27′46.62″W / 44.0234, -92.46295Coordinates: 44°1′24.24″N 92°27′46.62″W / 44.0234, -92.46295
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Olmsted
Founded 1854
 • Mayor Ardell Brede (I)
 • City 54.75 sq mi (141.80 km2)
 • Land 54.59 sq mi (141.39 km2)
 • Water 0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)  0.29%
Elevation 1,030 ft (401.4 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • City 106,769
 • Estimate (2013[5]) 110,742
 • Rank US: 246th
 • Density 1,955.8/sq mi (755.1/km2)
 • Urban 107,677 (US: 288th)
 • Metro 211,853[3] (US: 205th)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 55901, 55902, 55903, 55904, 55906
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-54880
GNIS feature ID 0650180[6]

Rochester is a city in the U.S. State of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County. Located on the Zumbro River's south fork, the city has a population of 106,769 according to the 2010 United States Census.[7] The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 2013 population is 110,742.[5] It is Minnesota's third-largest city and the largest city located outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2013, the Rochester metropolitan area has a population of 211,853.[3]


Old City Hall

The territorial legislature created Olmsted County on February 20, 1855, with Rochester named county seat in 1857. Rochester developed as a stagecoach stop between Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Dubuque, Iowa. When the railroad arrived in the 1860s, it brought new residents and business opportunities. In 1863, Dr. William W. Mayo arrived as the examining surgeon for draftees in the Civil War. The community was named after Rochester, New York.[8]

On August 21, 1883, the Great Tornado demolished much of Rochester, leaving 37 dead and about 200 injured. There was no medical facility at the time, so Mayo and his two sons worked together to care for the wounded. Donations of $60,000 were collected and the Sisters of St. Francis, assisted by Mayo, opened a new facility named St. Marys Hospital in 1889.[9] The Mayo practice grew and is today among the largest and most well-respected medical facilities in the world. Many famous people from around the world, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, have visited Rochester as patients of the Mayo Clinic. Rochester has also been hit by two F4 tornadoes since 1950 (the first on May 10, 1953 and the other on September 16, 1962.[10])


Rochester lies alongside the South Fork of the Zumbro River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 54.75 square miles (141.80 km2), of which 54.59 square miles (141.39 km2) of it is land and 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2) is water.[2] The city is 85 miles (137 km) away from Minneapolis-St. Paul.[11]

Rochester is in Olmsted County, one of only four counties in Minnesota without a natural lake. Artificial lakes exist in the area, including Silver Lake, a dammed portion of the South Fork Zumbro River just below the convergence with Silver Creek near the city center. The lake is used as a cooling pond by the coal-burning power plant operated by Rochester Public Utilities at Silver Lake. The heated water from the plant generally prevents the lake from freezing over during the winter. The open water attracts large numbers of migrating Giant Canada Geese. Rochester has many parks such as Silver Lake and Soldiers Field.

A major flood in 1978 led the city to embark on an expensive flood-control project that involved altering many nearby rivers and streams.

Downtown Rochester seen from Quarry Hill Park.
Downtown Rochester seen from Quarry Hill Park.


Rochester features a humid continental climate, with very warm summers and very cold winters. The city features four distinct seasons. Rochester sees on average 30 inches (760 mm) of rainfall and 48 inches (120 cm) of snowfall per year. Significant snow accumulation is common during the winter months. Spring and fall are transitional seasons, with a general warming trend during the spring and a general cooling trend during the fall. However, it is not uncommon to see some snowfall during the early months of spring and the later months of fall.

Climate data for Rochester, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 58
Average high °F (°C) 26
Average low °F (°C) 3
Record low °F (°C) −42
Rainfall inches (mm) 0.78
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.1


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 1,424
1870 3,953 177.6%
1880 5,103 29.1%
1890 5,321 4.3%
1900 6,843 28.6%
1910 7,844 14.6%
1920 13,722 74.9%
1930 20,621 50.3%
1940 28,312 37.3%
1950 29,885 5.6%
1960 40,663 36.1%
1970 53,766 32.2%
1980 57,890 7.7%
1990 70,745 22.2%
2000 85,806 21.3%
2010 106,769 24.4%
Est. 2013 110,742 29.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2013 Estimate[14]

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, there were 95,179 people, 39,203 households, and 23,831 families in the city.

There were 42,049 housing units. There were 39,203 households out of which 49.8% were married couples. About 31.6% had children under the age of 18. About 2.5% were made up of a male householder with no wife present and about 8.5% were made up of a female householder with no husband present. In addition, 39.2% of all households were non-family households and 32.6% of households were made up of householders living alone. And 8.7% of households were made up of someone living alone who was 65 years of age and over. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.04.

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey, the median household income was $57,957 and the median family income was $74,467. The per capita income was $30,977. About 5.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those aged 65 or over.

In terms of ancestry, the 2005–2007 American Community Survey found German Americans to be the largest single ethnic group in Rochester, making up 35.5% of the city's population. Norwegian Americans made up 15.9%, while Irish Americans contributed to 11.6% of the city's populace. English Americans made up 8.2% of the population and Swedish Americans were 5.0% of the city's population.

In the mid-1980s Rochester had fewer than 40 Hmong persons.[11] The 1990 United States Census counted 200 Hmong persons in Rochester. This increased to 300 by 1998. Cathleen Jo Faruque, author of "Migration of Hmong to Rochester, Minnesota: Life in the Midwest," wrote in 2003 that there was "every indication that this trend will continue".[15]

Downtown Rochester reflected in the Zumbro River

2010 census[]

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 106,769 people, 43,025 households, and 26,853 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,955.8 inhabitants per square mile (755.1 /km2). There were 45,683 housing units at an average density of 836.8 per square mile (323.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.0% White, 6.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 6.8% Asian (1.3% Indian, 1.2% Cambodian, 1.0% Chinese, 0.9% Vietnamese, 0.6% Laotian, 0.4% Korean, 0.4% Filipino, 0.2% Hmong, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% Pakistani), 2.0% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.2% of the population (3.7% Mexican, 0.3% Puerto Rican).

There were 43,025 households of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.6% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 35 years. 24.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.4% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 12.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.


Corn water tower near the Seneca Foods plant

Mayo Clinic forms the core of Rochester's economy. It employs over 30,000 people in the city and every year draws over 2 million visitors to the city.[16] The clinic's many facilities, along with hotels, restaurants and retail stores, comprise nearly all of the city's downtown. Excluding the state government, Mayo Clinic is the largest employer in Minnesota.[17] Other care providers, including the Rochester Federal Medical Center, are significant employers.

IBM's Rochester campus is one of the company's most important manufacturing centers. It has produced the System i series,[18] been home to the first Blue Gene prototype, and contributed the servers for Roadrunner.[19] Seven employees at the Rochester IBM campus created IBM Employees Credit Union, which is now Think Mutual Bank, a chain of banks in the Rochester and Twin Cities metropolitan areas.

The economy of Rochester is also influenced by the agricultural nature of the region. Seneca Foods has a processing plant in Rochester. There are multiple dairy producers such as Kemps that are active in the area. In addition, Kerry Flavours and Ingredients, a subsidiary of the global Irish company called Kerry Group, maintains a production plant in Rochester that specializes in fermented ingredients, found in breads, meats and other processed foods.

# Employer # of Employees
1 Mayo Clinic 36,505
2 IBM 2,201
3 Rochester Public Schools 2,200
4 Olmsted County 1,181
5 Olmsted Medical Center 1,138
6 Walmart and Sam's Club 1,005
7 City of Rochester 947
8 HyVee 880
9 Crenlo 725
10 Sunstone Hotel Properties 650
11 Charter Communications 625

Arts and culture[]

Museums and other points of interest

A number of Rochester buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the former Chateau Theatre, which now houses a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and Avalon Music, formerly a hotel important in the local civil rights movement.

The Rochester Art Center is located downtown, just south of the Mayo Civic Center.

In the summer, every Thursday the city puts on "Thursdays on First" where local restaurants and artists can set up booths all along First Avenue downtown Rochester. There are also a few stages where bands perform and provide entertainment, but there are always a number of street musicians sitting on walls or standing on the sidewalks.

Performing Arts

Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale

The oldest cultural arts institution in the community, Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale was founded in 1919 as a professional performing arts organization called the Rochester Orchestra. Its earliest ensemble — the Lawler-Dodge Orchestra — was founded in 1912 as a volunteer orchestra motivated by their passion to play, driven by Daisy Plummer, wife of world famous Mayo Clinic physician, Dr. Henry Plummer and directed by Harold Cooke. In early years, the Orchestra appeared in the former Chateau Theatre where they performed background music for silent movies.

The RSOC has a rich heritage and legacy connected to Drs. William J. & Charles H. Mayo founders of the world famous Mayo Clinic. The Drs. Mayo recognized the need for quality of life amenities in order to attract the best and brightest physicians from around the world to come to Rochester to live and work. Among these important offerings is the need for vibrant cultural arts. To ensure the community had an orchestra with the highest artistic excellence, they invested $7,500 from their personal monies annually so to attract the best professional musicians and conductors from around the region and country, to perform. Each year they would challenge the community to match that investment dollar for dollar. That investment today is equal to $94,500.

In 1936, the City of Rochester started a music department and the orchestra was a part of Rochester Civic Music until 1995 when the orchestra and chorale separated to once again become an independent non-profit organization called the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale (RSOC). The RSOC received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in 1996.

Today, the RSOC remains an independent nonprofit corporation that does not receive local government general operating support. It is committed to serving the needs of the community and region through educational programs and high quality performances accessible to all and enriching quality of life. The RSO consists of 70 professional and semi-professional musicians, half coming from Rochester and the surround region, including Northern Iowa and Western Wisconsin. The remaining members come from the twin cities metro area. A volunteer chorale of 60 people performs with the RSO throughout the season. All are proud to serve the region’s demand for high-quality musical performance and advancing the art of music. The organization is fortunate to have some members who have been with it for over fifty years.[20]

Parks and recreation[]

Rochester has a network of bike and pedestrian paths.

Rochester's park system is large, with more than 100 sites covering 5 square miles (13 km2). The city maintains 85 miles (137 km) of paved trails.[21] The south terminus of the Douglas State Trail, built on an abandoned railroad grade, is in Rochester.


Part of the Government Center building in Rochester. The section in center and left houses county offices and courtrooms. To the right is part of City Hall.

The mayor of Rochester is Ardell Brede.[22]

The city includes parts of Minnesota state legislative districts 25 and 26.[23] In the Minnesota House of Representatives, District 25A is represented by Duane Quam (R), District 25B is represented by Kim Norton (DFL), District 26A is represented by Tina Liebling (DFL), and District 26B is represented by Mike Benson (R). In the Minnesota Senate, Rochester is represented by Dave Senjem and Carla Nelson, both Republicans. Rochester is located in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, represented by Mankato educator Tim Walz, a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL).

The city has an early defibrillation program;[24][25] all marked city police cars carry defibrillators.[26]


Rochester Public Schools enroll 16,300 students in 23 public primary and secondary schools.[27] The city is divided into three public high school attendance zones: John Marshall, Mayo and Century. Private schools in the city include Lourdes and Schaeffer Academy, a classical Christian school with an enrollment of 370 in grades K-12. Studio Academy, a fine arts-focused charter school operated for 10 years in Rochester and closed its doors in 2011 upon losing its charter.[28][29] The Rochester STEM Academy opened in 2011, occupying the former Studio Academy building.

Higher education in Rochester has been concentrated at University Center Rochester in the city's southeast outskirts, where Rochester Community and Technical College shares a campus with a branch of Winona State University.[30] The University of Minnesota offered degrees through UCR until 2007, when the University of Minnesota Rochester was established downtown.[31] Rochester is also home to Crossroads College, along with branches of Cardinal Stritch University and the Minnesota School of Business. Branches of Augsburg College and College of St. Scholastica are also in Rochester as are branches of Winona State University and St. Mary's University. The Mayo Clinic offers graduate medical education and research programs through the Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School.


The city newspaper is the Post-Bulletin, an afternoon paper which publishes Monday through Saturday. The Post-Bulletin company also publishes Rochester Magazine, a monthly features periodical, as well as an Austin, Minnesota edition of their main paper.[32][33]

There are two television stations based in Rochester: KTTC channel 10 (NBC), KTTC-(CW) channel 10.2, and KXLT-TV channel 47 (Fox). The stations share studios as part of a special agreement between Quincy Newspapers and Segamorehill Broadcasting. KIMT channel 3 (CBS) in Mason City, Iowa, KAAL channel 6 (ABC) in Austin, channel 15 KSMQ (PBS) in Austin and channel 24 KYIN (PBS) in Mason City are among the stations that serve the market. KAAL is licensed to Austin, but has a studio in Rochester.

The Rochester area is served by cable company Charter Communications.


Rochester is served by three U.S. highways (U.S. 14, U.S. 52, and U.S. 63), and the southern edge of Rochester is skirted by Interstate Highway 90 and State Highway 30. Olmsted County Highway 22 is also a main highway in the city because it circles most of Rochester. A combination of skyways and subterranean walkways, subways, link most downtown buildings. Public bus transit is run by Rochester Public Transit. It's operations are carried out by First Transit.

Rochester International Airport is located seven miles south of downtown. The airport is the second busiest commercial airport in Minnesota [34] It has direct flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and other destinations.

Rochester has a shuttle service connecting to the Minneapolis St. Paul International airport by Rochester Shuttle Service and Go Rochester Direct.

Rochester has 3 taxi companies operating in town: Yellow Cab, Med City Taxi, and Rochester Taxi Inc.

A proposed Twin Cities-Rochester rail link has been the subject of a series of studies since the late 1980s. Rochester previously had service to Chicago to the southeast and to Rapid City, South Dakota to the west until the Chicago and North Western Railway's Rochester 400 streamliner ended service in 1963.

Major highways[]

  • US 14.svg U.S. Highway 14
  • US 52.svg U.S. Highway 52
  • US 63.svg U.S. Highway 63
  • I-90.svg Interstate 90
  • MN-30.svg Minnesota State Highway 30


Team League Venue
Rochester Honkers Northwoods League, Baseball Mayo Field
Rochester Ice Hawks MnJHL, Ice hockey Rochester Recreation Center
Rochester Giants Northern Elite Football League, Semi-pro football[35] Rochester Regional Stadium

Awards and rankings[]

The city had long been a fixture on Money magazine's "Best Places to Live" index, and was ranked number 67 on the 2006 list,[36][37] and in the top 3, including number one multiple times, from 1993-1997.

Rochester ranked second in Quality of Life by American City Business Journal.[38]

Rochester ranked sixth in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade.

Golf Digest and Golf for Women both ranked Rochester as the fifth best golf market in the midwest in 2006.

In 2009, US News and World Report ranked Rochester in the Top Ten Best Places to Grow Up and ninth for Best Cities for job seeking retirees.

Rochester was ranked the 5th best city to retire in by the Milken Institute.[39]

See also[]

  • List of tallest buildings in Rochester, Minnesota
  • List of people from Rochester, Minnesota



  1. ^ "City of Rochester Minnesota". City of Rochester Minnesota. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  5. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Profile for Rochester, Minnesota, MN". ePodunk. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Tornado Strikes Rochester". Mayo Foundation for Medical and Educational Research. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Faruque, p. 1.
  12. ^ "Historical weather for Rochester, Minnesota USA". Canty & Associates, LLC. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  13. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  15. ^ Faruque, p. 2.
  16. ^ Rochester: Economy. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  17. ^ "Minnesota's Largest Employers". University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  18. ^ "IBM Archives: Rochester profile". IBM. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  19. ^ Roadrunner. Top500 Supercomputing Sites.
  20. ^ RSOC website
  21. ^ "Recreational trails". City of Rochester, Minnesota. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  22. ^ "Office of the Mayor". City of Rochester, Minnesota. 
  23. ^ "Your Elected Officials". Rochester City Clerk official website. City of Rochester, Minnesota. 
  24. ^ White RD (June 2005). "Evolution of a community-wide early defibrillation programme experience over 13 years using police/fire personnel and paramedics as responders.". Resuscitation. 
  25. ^ Robert Davis (2005-05-20). "The price of just a few seconds lost: People die". Six minutes to live or die (USA Today). 
  26. ^ "How Early Defibrillation Works". Rochester Police official web site. City of Rochester, Minnesota. 
  27. ^ "District 535 at a Glance". Rochester Public Schools. 
  28. ^ "Homepage". Schaeffer Academy. 
  29. ^ "Homepage". Studio Academy Charter High School. 
  30. ^ "Homepage". University Center Rochester. 
  31. ^ "Growth of UMR". University of Minnesota Rochester. 
  32. ^ "Rochester Magazine". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC.. 
  33. ^ "Austin P-B". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC.. 
  34. ^ (RST) Rochester International Airport. Retrieved on 2013-09-20.
  35. ^ Rochester Giants Football - Official Website
  36. ^ "Best Places to Live". Money Magazine. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  37. ^ "Best Places to Live". Money Magazine. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  38. ^ "Rochester MN - Hotels - Things To Do - Visitor Information - Rochester MN Convention & Visitors Bureau". Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  39. ^ "Rochester ranks 5th in best places for aging - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports". Retrieved 2013-06-03. 

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