City of Lanesboro
"Heart of Bluff Country"
In the Heart of the Valley
It was the rushing Root River that gave life to the small town of Lanesboro, where the community harnessed the power of this important water source. Though the townsite was created in the 1850s, it was not until 1868, when the Lanesboro Townsite Company constructed a stone dam, that the city really began to develop. The dam channeled water through a long canal to power flour mills. Boosted by the arrival of the Southern Minnesota Railroad line into town, these mills provided economic vitality for the city of Lanesboro.
Evidence of this industrial prosperity can be seen in the brick and stone buildings of the downtown commercial district, the old single-track metal railroad bridge, and the Italianate brick home of James Thompson, who constructed one of the first three mills in town. Waterpower continued to propel Lanesboro even after milling was gone, as you can see by visiting the 1922 powerhouse and the picturesque stone dam, still in use. Today, Lanesboro is rich with artistry and has been named one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America. Visitors are treated to art galleries and workshops, an arts center, and performance at the Commonweal Theatre.