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Rochester, MN

Located in the heart of Olmsted County and situated along the banks of the Zumbro River, Rochester, Minnesota has a population around 97,000. Originally founded in the mid-19th century by a group of U.S. surveyors, the city is now the business and cultural focal point for southeastern Minnesota. Rochester is also world renowned as being the home of the Mayo Clinic, as well as for its high-tech industries and excellent schools.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Rated by Money magazine in 2000 as the nation's best small city to live in, Rochester has gained prestige from its local health care system, which is considered to be one of the finest in the world.

Not surprisingly, the most prominent industry in Rochester's economy is health care; more than two million people travel to the Mayo Clinic each year to seek medical treatment. Once a five-story brick building, the center now covers about 10 million square feet and is the major employer in the region.

The second largest employment division in Rochester is wholesale and retail trade. Rated one of the top entrepreneurial cities in the country, Rochester boasts a manufacturing industry that employs nearly 15 percent of the city's labor force. Manufacturing companies produce machine parts, computer components and electronics, and food and dairy products. Additional areas of growth in the economy include metal fabrication and agriculture. The local economy of Rochester is further enlivened by printing, packaging and construction businesses, as well as entertainment and communications facilities.

Agriculture continues to be important for Rochester's economy. Farms in the Rochester area produce a variety of fruits, corn and soybeans, while dairy farms produce milk. Rochester-based Marigold Foods produces Kemps brand ice cream.

Additionally, computer industry leader IBM is a major employer in Rochester.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Most of the population from Rochester is urban. The city accommodates about 35,220 houses with little less than 34,000 houses occupied by owners or renters. The renter-occupancy ratio for the city is 29 percent.

Some of the city's prominent neighborhoods include:

  • The northwest area has been one of the fastest growing parts of Rochester due to its close proximity of IBM, convenient transportation access, and the large amount of undeveloped land. The neighborhood consists mostly of multi-family residential use and single-family homes.
  • The Northern Heights neighborhood has mostly single-family homes, two major commercial areas, and a moderate amount of medium-density residential use. The housing in this area is generally in very good condition.
  • The Elton Hills neighborhood consists almost entirely of single-family homes, which were built within the past 20 years. The housing is generally in very good condition and has been developed largely on a curvilinear street pattern.
  • The Valley High neighborhood is home to IBM, which occupies more than 10 percent of the neighborhood's total acreage. Other industrial uses are located in this neighborhood, as well as a few residential and commercial structures.
  • The Washington neighborhood has largely maintained its single-family character. This area also includes the Assisi Heights Convent, a three-story Italian Romanesque style building.
  • The Silver Lake neighborhood consists almost entirely of single-family residential homes.
  • Silver Creek consists of approximately 1,975 acres, of which approximately 1,570 acres are undeveloped. The neighborhood contains approximately 292 acres of state-owned land, on which the State Hospital and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Regional Headquarters are located. The remainder of the land includes some suburban residential properties and agricultural land. This area has seen little growth.
  • Downtown's Central Business District is a primarily commercial area, with some medical/institutional, park, and residential areas.

EDUCATION

The Mayo Foundation runs many of Rochester's most prestigious schools:

  • Mayo Graduate School of Medicine offers doctoral degrees in the areas of biomedical engineering, molecular neuroscience, immunology, molecular pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, biochemistry and molecular biology, virology and gene therapy, and clinical and translational science.
  • Mayo Medical School enrolls an elite group of 42 medical students per year. Students have the option of combining an M.D. degree with a master's degree in public health or clinical research.

Rochester also has a number of degree-granting academic institutions outside of the medical field:

  • University of Minnesota-Rochester offers several graduate degrees from a variety of programs.
  • Rochester Community and Technical College provides technical programs in science and social science, trade and industry, and business.
  • Winona State University-Rochester offers mainly undergraduate programs.

Rochester offers additional options for higher learning, including the Minnesota Bible College, which enrolls students seeking degrees in professional ministry.

LOCAL MEDIA

Rochester has two major newspapers:

  • Rochester's daily Post-Bulletin is an evening newspaper.
  • The Agri-News is a weekly newspaper that covers farming news.

Monthly journals based in Rochester include Fertility and Sterility, which concerns reproductive medicine, and the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Additionally, the Journal of Andrology is a bimonthly publication that offers articles on the male reproductive system.

Rochester has a number of local radio stations:

  • KMSE 88.7 FM (classical)
  • KRPR 89.9 FM (alternative)
  • KZSE 90.7 FM (public radio)
  • KLSE 91.7 FM (classical)
  • KFSI 92.9 FM (religious)
  • KWWK 96.5 FM (country)
  • KNXR 97.5 FM (easy listening)

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Rochester has a vibrant arts and culture scene:

  • Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists gallery is located on First Street Southwest in the Peace Plaza and features a wide selection of original works from artists hailing from southeastern Minnesota. The artwork ranges from prints and pottery to woods to fabrics.
  • Rochester Art Center on Civic Center Drive Southeast is part of the downtown Rochester cultural campus, which includes Rochester Civic Music, the Rochester Civic Theatre, and the Mayo Civic Center. Mayo Park offers access to parkland and the pathways along the Zumbro River.
  • The Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale is housed on South Broadway. A fixture in the Rochester community for more than 90 years, it offers a concert season each year that includes a wide variety of musical styles and guest musicians. Maestro Jere Lantz teaches classes prior to each performance. The symphony also offers popular educational programs for both children and adults.
  • Situated near the corner of Third Avenue and Center Street, the Rochester Civic Theatre is a small, intimate setting that enhances the performances put on there. Each season features a wide variety of performances including musicals, dramas, poetry slams, and family events. The Theatre also hosts a popular film festival.
  • Constructed in 1927, Historic Chateau Theater is designed in the French Village style, which includes interior balconies and turrets. No longer in use as a theater, the building became a bookstore in 1994.