Much to see in Spring Valley decades ago

By : 
Mary Jo Dathe

What to see in Spring Valley?  Well, we had a few more folks, and we had a Community Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home, a new country club, a lovely high school, and a fine swimming pool, with a trade center as pictured in the accompanying photo, of which we are unable to identify the exact year. The trade center served a radius of 15 to 20 miles in all directions. 

The public is aware of these churches:  Assembly of God on East Church St.; Church of Christ at 707 South Washington; Downtown Church of Christ in the library basement; Faith United Methodist at 617 Maple Lane; First Baptist at 115 North Section; First English Lutheran (MS) at 217 West Grant; Jehovah Witness at 525 North Pleasant Ave.; Our Saviors Lutheran on South Broadway; Rivers of Living Water at the Community Center; Spring Valley Bible on North Pleasant, and St. Ignatius Catholic on West Franklin.  Plus the public library on South Broadway.

Clubs and organizations?  You had a choice of American Legion & Auxiliary; Arts & Crafts Club; Boy Scouts; Brave Community Theater; Chamber of Commerce; Community Historical Society; Cosmopolitan Club; 4-H Clubs; Garden Club; Girl Scouts; Hospital & Nursing Home Auxiliary; Kiwanis Club; Mason Lodge & OES; Senior Citizens; Sportsmen's Club; Up-to-Date Club; Veterans of Foreign Wars; volunteer many other groups.

Things to see and do: free corn on the cob the third weekend in August plus a parade and other activities; numerous leagues for individuals and couples at the bowling alley; camping at the Forestville State Park plus 5 J's Campground and Good Earth Village north of town; and Mystery Cave ... open Memorial Day through Labor Day, free picnic and campground.  The Community Center was available for dances, meetings and special events; good trout fishing plus the trout farm northeast of the city; the Fillmore County Flying Club operates the county airport;  and a beautiful nine-hole golf course offering men's and women's leagues.  There is good pheasant and deer hunting in the area; our library is open five days a week with books, cassettes, and videocassettes available.

The Pioneer Home Museum and Methodist Church Museum are open Sunday afternoons.  The National Register of Historic Places has listed the church museum, Dennis Essig home, Robert Chase home, and the public library plus the Cherry Grove Garage (Pietenpol) is also open.  The city park has tables, shelter, grills, horseshoe pits, and playground equipment; three parks are open to children with two softball fields, one lighted, numerous leagues and tournaments.  The Forestville State Park is open year-round with campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking, horseback and snowmobile trails, and fishing.  We have a solar heated municipal swimming pool open in the summer, supervised; two lighted courts for tennis, and an active community theatre with two productions a year.  

The city is governed by an elected mayor and City Council; city offices are provided by a modern municipal building which also houses the fire station, the sheriff's department, and a meeting room.  Electricity, water and sewer is provided by a utility plant, most of which goes through the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, of which the city is the first member.  Natural gas is available in the city from People's Natural Gas Co.  Police protection is with the county, of which three deputies are assigned; and the volunteer fire department is a well-equipped group with a  rescue unit and all firemen are trained annually.  Both the elementary and high school are modern with a student population of about 800; there is an active community education program for adults. 

We find a 35-bed hospital and skilled nursing care home, both served by a central kitchen, city-owned; a nearby modern medical clinic is served by three doctors; the Spring Valley Tribune is the largest newspaper in the area, with a free shopper, combined circulation of 4,700.  Daily newspapers provide same day delivery; we are served by Highways 63 & 16, Rochester airport is only 20 miles north.  Spring Valley is headquarters for a $200,000,000 banking firm with offices in five cities; the First Bank System serves the other; Amoco Oil Co. has a large terminal to the east; there is a large truck terminal, and two firms specialize in restoration of antique automobiles. All in all, a special place to reside and to visit.

Again, a reminder, that the Methodist Church Museum and Washburn-Zittleman Historic Home on West Courtland will re-open on Memorial weekend; coming up soon!