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History

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Albert Lea – The County Seat and the largest city in Freeborn County stretches around the bays of Albert Lea Lake, Fountain Lake and Lake Chapeau, and has over 40 parks and recreation areas throughout the community.

Albert Lea is a thriving community of commercial enterprises, including the manufacturing of store fixtures, processed meat/food products, deli foods and condiments, machined parts, wood and packaging products, and many others too numerous to mention.

Albert Lea is the site of the city that was originally mapped on expeditions by Lieutenant Albert Lea of the United States Dragoons in 1835. In appreciation for the quality of the maps, the explorer Nicollet renamed Lea’s Fox Lake to Lake Albert Lea for which the settlement and city were subsequently named. The city was platted in 1856.

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For more detailed community history, please check out the Freeborn County Historical Museum at www.smig.net/fchm.

Freeborn County lies among the rolling, oak covered hills of southern Minnesota. The county borders the state of Iowa to the south, and its northern borders are approximately one hour from the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. Freeborn County is culturally diverse, in that it was settled by Norwegians, Germans, Danish, Irish, and Czechs, with a significant number of settlers from the eastern United States. The combination of fertile soil and the natural beauty attracted them to the area. Today, Freeborn County continues to be culturally diverse, as it has the ninth largest Latino population in the state of Minnesota.

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Freeborn County was created by legislative action in 1855. It was named after William Freeborn, who served in the legislature from 1854 to 1857.

The county, with an area of 722 square miles, is made up of 20 townships including Albert Lea, Alden, Bancroft, Bath, Carlson, Freeborn, Freeman, Geneva, Hartland, Hayward, London, Manchester, Mansfield, Moscow, Newry, Nunda, Oakland, Pickerel Lake, Riceland, and Shell Rock. Freeborn County is a prosperous county with diverse businesses and industries, and is located in a highly productive agricultural area of the state.

Agri-business specialists state that the rich black ground is some of the most fertile and productive in the country.

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