Faribault, Minnesota

City in Minnesota, United States
City in Minnesota, United States
Flag of Faribault
"Faribo”, “Athens of the West"[1][2]
"Small Town Pride, Big City Opportunities[3]"
Location of the city of Faribault within Rice County in the state of Minnesota
Location of the city of Faribault
within Rice County
in the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 44°17′26.12″N 93°16′5.95″W / 44.2905889°N 93.2683194°W / 44.2905889; -93.2683194Coordinates: 44°17′26.12″N 93°16′5.95″W / 44.2905889°N 93.2683194°W / 44.2905889; -93.2683194CountryUnited StatesStateMinnesotaCountyRiceGovernment
 • MayorKevin VoracekArea • Total15.78 sq mi (40.86 km2) • Land15.50 sq mi (40.15 km2) • Water0.28 sq mi (0.71 km2)Elevation
994 ft (303 m)Population
 • Total24,453 • Density1,577.41/sq mi (609.03/km2)Time zoneUTC-6 (CST) • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)ZIP code
Area code507FIPS code27-20546GNIS feature ID0643560[5]Websitewww.faribault.org

Faribault (/ˈfɛərb/ FAIR-boh) is a city in, and the county seat of, Rice County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 23,352 at the 2010 census.[6] Faribault is approximately 50 miles (80 km) south of Minneapolis–Saint Paul.

Interstate 35 and Minnesota State Highways 3, 21, and 60 are four of Faribault's main routes.

Faribault is situated at the confluence of the Cannon and Straight Rivers in southern Minnesota.


Faribault is regarded as one of the most historic communities in Minnesota, with settlement and commercial activity predating Minnesota's establishment as a U.S. Territory. Until 1745, the area was primarily occupied by the Wahpekute band of Dakotah. Shortly thereafter, the tribe was driven south after several clashes with the Ojibwe over territory.

Main Street, circa 1898
Faribault City Hall

The city's namesake, Alexander Faribault, was the son of Jean-Baptiste Faribault, a French-Canadian fur trader, and Elizabeth Pelagie Kinzie Haines, a Dakotah woman.[7] He is credited with fueling most of the early settlement in the area, beginning in 1826, when he established a fur trading post on the banks of the Cannon River. By 1834, the trading post had grown in popularity and was relocated to the Straight River, one mile (1.6 km) upstream of its junction with the Cannon River, the site of modern-day Faribault. The young Alexander Faribault used his knowledge of Dakota language and culture to improve relations with the displaced Wahpekute and even helped the tribe to resettle in the area. This relationship was instrumental in ensuring the success of the trading post and allowing safe travel to the area for settlers. The Dakota in the area called this soon-to-be town "Adek" for Alex (Alexander Faribault).[8]

Another source maintains the city is named for Jean-Baptiste Faribault.[9]

The Alexander Faribault House was built in 1853 by Alexander Faribault at a cost of $4,000. It is considered the oldest framed structure in the area, and still stands in its original location near the southeastern edge of Faribault's historic downtown district.

The years following the construction of this first building brought unprecedented growth, development, and economic prosperity to the young settlement. Spurred by the completion of the area's first steam-powered sawmill in early 1854, the next year took Faribault from a sleepy settlement of 20 buildings to a bustling town with more than 250. Historians attribute Faribault's impressive growth during this period to a number of important milestones in 1855 and 1856, including the creation of roads connecting to other settlements and trading posts in Iowa and Minnesota Territory, the availability of mail service, and the construction of schools and churches.

The City of Faribault was platted in 1855 and granted a home-rule charter in 1872.[10]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.67 square miles (40.59 km2); 15.32 square miles (39.68 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.91 km2) is water.[11] The confluence of the Straight River and the Cannon River is located within city limits.[12] Sakatah Lake State Park and Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park are nearby.

Interstate Highway 35 runs along the western edge of the city. The city is served by two full interchanges and one partial interchange. Before I-35's completion, traffic was routed through town, generating significant sales revenue to the retailers that had a major highway running past their doors. In approximately 1975, the last portions of I-35 were completed and through traffic started to bypass Faribault. On that same corridor through town, the White Sands Swimming Pool ("Minnesota's Largest Outdoor Swimming Pool") operated from 1964 to 1977. This swimming area is now the White Sands Dog Park, as well as the trailhead for the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail, which runs to Mankato. The Mill Towns Trail is planned to run to Northfield. The site includes parking, restrooms and a shelter.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2018 Estimate[14]

2010 census

As of the census[15] of 2010, there were 23,352 people, 8,317 households, and 5,208 families living in the city. The population density was 1,524.3 inhabitants per square mile (588.5/km2). There were 8,946 housing units at an average density of 583.9 per square mile (225.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.6% White, 7.6% African American, 0.9% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.4% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.0% of the population.

There were 8,317 households, of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.5% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.12.

The median age in the city was 35.4 years. 25.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.5% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 54.1% male and 45.9% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,818 people, 7,472 households, and 4,946 families living in the city. The population density was 1,644.8 people per square mile (634.9/km2). There were 7,668 housing units at an average density of 605.8 per square mile (233.9/km2). The ethnic/racial makeup of the city was 89.87% White, 2.69% African American, 0.67% Native American, 1.83% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.33% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.90% of the population.

There were 7,472 households, out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.2% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,865, and the median income for a family was $49,662. Males had a median income of $32,404 versus $24,046 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,610. About 5.8% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.


Faribault has the usual gamut of small-town retail and service shops. Employers also include an assortment of light manufacturing offerings.

The main street, Central Avenue, is seeing a renaissance of redevelopment with most of the historic commercial block listed on the national register of historic places. Many buildings are being restored to their original appearance. Among them is the Paradise Center for the Arts, a multipurpose art center that is the result of a merger between the Faribault Art Center and the Faribault Area Community Theatre. Two longtime Faribault retailing/shopping institutions closed: the oldest, a longtime Central Avenue fixture, Jim & Joe's Clothiers closed after 125+ years of service due to a number of related factors.[16] The other, Minnick's Food Market, was Faribault's last mom-and-pop grocery store and closed after 60+ years of operation in late 2006.

Herbert Sellner, a woodworker and maker of water slides, invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926 at his Faribault home. Over the next year, the first 14 Tilt-A-Whirls were built in Sellner's basement and yard. In 1927, Sellner Manufacturing opened its factory in Faribault, and the ride debuted that year at the Minnesota State Fair.[17]

Founded in 1865, the Faribault Woolen Mills stayed in continuous operation until 2009. Reopened in 2011, it is one of few remaining vertical woolen mills in the United States, taking raw wool and producing finished goods.[18]

SAGE Electrochromics, a specialized window glass developer and wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, is based in Faribault.


Faribault is in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, represented by Jim Hagedorn, a Republican.

Presidential election results
Precinct General Election Results[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 51.4% 5,246 45.9% 4,692 2.7% 278
2016 50.3% 4,669 41.5% 3,847 8.2% 758
2012 44.7% 4,109 52.9% 4,857 2.4% 225
2008 44.4% 4,054 53.2% 4,852 2.4% 221
2004 45.8% 4,195 52.6% 4,814 1.6% 148
2000 41.2% 3,264 51.5% 4,079 7.3% 579
1996 29.6% 2,120 57.0% 4,087 13.4% 961
1992 32.1% 2,504 43.1% 3,357 24.8% 1,935
1988 49.2% 3,085 50.8% 3,188 0.0% 0
1984 51.5% 3,510 48.5% 3,300 0.0% 0
1980 41.6% 2,706 49.1% 3,190 9.3% 608
1976 46.1% 3,018 52.3% 3,426 1.6% 107
1968 46.7% 2,879 50.9% 3,139 2.4% 148
1964 37.0% 2,271 62.8% 3,858 0.2% 13
1960 56.0% 3,388 43.9% 2,653 0.1% 2

Notable institutions


The Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and for the Blind, including the State Library for the Blind, are in southeastern Faribault, above the Straight River. Noyes Hall, a neoclassical building on the campus of Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[20][21] The building is named for Jonathon L. Noyes, the school's longtime administrator.[22]

Shattuck-Saint Mary's is a coeducational boarding school especially noted for its Centers of Excellence program in hockey, winning numerous youth national championships and producing several NHL and Olympic team players.

South Central Community College (a Minnesota State College and University System institution) has a campus in Faribault.

The Faribault Public Schools operate an early childhood center, four elementary schools (one of which is a charter school), a middle school, Faribault High School, the Area Learning Center, and Faribault Education Center, which offers adult education.[23] Students come from Faribault and surrounding communities and rural areas.[24]

Other institutions

The Thomas Scott Buckham Memorial Library is the city library.

The Minnesota Correctional Facility - Faribault is a state prison on the campus of a former mental hospital (aka "The State Schools").

The River Bend Nature Center is a 750-acre (3.0 km2) nonprofit nature center in Faribault's southeast corner.

The Rice County Historical Society is in Faribault.

Notable people

See also

  • Bethlehem Academy


  1. ^ Jarvis, Jeff (January 29, 2019). "Layout 1" (PDF) (Brochure). Morristown, Minnesota: West Cedar Studio. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "Layout 1". Faribault, MN (Official Website). October 1, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  3. ^ Faribault web site
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 April 2011.[dead link]
  7. ^ Faribault Life and Times. "Alexander Faribault Before the Story: 1806-1855" <http://www.faribault.org/history2/Alex/Alex_before.html Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine>
  8. ^ Durand, Paul (1994). Where the Waters Gather and the Rivers Meet.
  9. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 123.
  10. ^ Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 462.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  12. ^ Minnesota Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Me.: DeLorme. 1994. p. 33. ISBN 0-89933-222-6.
  13. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  14. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  16. ^ Huppert, Boyd (2006-05-19). "Over a century of service with a smile comes to an end". KARE 11. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
  17. ^ "Minnesota State Fair: Origins and Traditions | MNopedia". www.mnopedia.org. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  18. ^ "Our Heritage – Faribault Mill". www.faribaultmill.com. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  19. ^ "Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State - Election Results".
  20. ^ "2001 Minnesota capital budget request for restoration of Noyes Hall" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  21. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  22. ^ "Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission, virtual tour, Noyes Hall". Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  23. ^ Faribault Public Schools.
  24. ^ Public School District Attendance Areas and Educational Facility Locations
  25. ^ Brown, Emma. "George 'Elfie' Ballis, 85, who photographed struggle of Cesar Chávez and migrant farmworkers, dies", The Washington Post, September 27, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2010.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Faribault, Minnesota.
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article "Faribault".
  • City of Faribault, MN – Official Website
  • Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce site
  • Faribault Tourism Department – Visitor Information Website
  • Faribault Public Schools
  • Rice County Historical Society

Additional historical resources

  • Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission
  • Preserving Faribault's Past
  • Faribault Lives and Times
  • Faribault, Our Community
  • v
  • t
  • e
Municipalities and communities of Rice County, Minnesota, United States
County seat: Faribault
communitiesGhost towns/NeighborhoodsFootnotes
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
  • Minnesota portal
  • United States portal
  • v
  • t
  • e
Saint Paul (capital)
Largest cities
pop. over 25,000
flag Minnesota portal
  • v
  • t
  • e
Authority control Edit this at Wikidata
  • VIAF
    • 1
  • WorldCat
National libraries
  • Israel
  • United States
  • MusicBrainz area
  • National Archives (US)