Extraordinary & Every Day Events

What past downtown happenings were the talk of the town?



With wooden ladders still propped against the remains of this bank building, Faribault citizens gathered across the street to view the damages after one of the most costly fires in the town’s history. Fire was an unfortunate but regular feature of early towns, with early firefighting equipment pitted against a collection of flammable wooden buildings. This 1878 fire destroyed almost all of one downtown block, including two banks and ten stores. Losses were estimated to be between $100,000 and $150,000 at the time, roughly the equivalent of $2 million in today’s terms.


Downtown Faribault hosted a wide variety of community festivals. With over 10 percent of its population comprised of German immigrants by 1902, the town of Faribault showed its colors around the turn of the 19th century by displaying both American flags and a German sign bidding visitors “Welcome to the Joyful Singer’s Festival.”


The Circus Parade


Even elephants participated in downtown events. Central Avenue provided the pathway from the circus train to the circus grounds ca. 1925.