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Faribault, Minnesota facts for kids

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City of Faribault
Buildings in downtown Faribault
Buildings in downtown Faribault
Flag of Faribault
"Faribo”, “Athens of the West"
"Small Town Pride, Big City Opportunities"
Location of the city of Faribaultwithin Rice Countyin the state of Minnesota
Location of the city of Faribault
within Rice County
in the state of Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Rice
 • Total 15.78 sq mi (40.86 km2)
 • Land 15.50 sq mi (40.15 km2)
 • Water 0.28 sq mi (0.71 km2)
994 ft (303 m)
 • Total 23,352
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,541.54/sq mi (595.18/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-20546
GNIS feature ID 0643560

Faribault ( 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. 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. Prior to 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.

The city's namesake, Alexander Faribault, was the son of Jean-Baptiste Faribault, a French-Canadian fur trader and Elizabeth Pelagie Kinzie Haines, a woman of the Dakotah tribe. He is credited with fueling most of the early settlement activity 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 Dakotah 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.

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

The Alexander Faribault House was built in 1853 by Alexander Faribault at a cost of $4,000. The house 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 for the young settlement. Spurred by the completion of the area's first steam-powered sawmill in early 1854, the next year would bring Faribault from a sleepy settlement of 20 buildings to a bustling town with more than 250 buildings. Historians attribute Faribault's impressive growth during this period to a number of important milestones which were passed 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.


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. The confluence of the Straight River and the Cannon River is located within city limits. Sakatah Lake State Park and Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park are nearby.

Faribault County, Minnesota, roughly 100 miles (160 km) to the southwest, is unrelated to the city of Faribault. Interstate Highway 35 runs along the western edge of the city. The city is served by two full interchanges and one partial interchange. Prior to completion of Interstate 35, traffic was routed directly through town; generating significant sales revenue to many retailers which literally had a major highway running directly past their doors. In approximately 1975, the last portions of Interstate 35 were completed and all traffic finally started to move around (and not through) 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 and the future Mill Towns Trail is planned to run to Northfield. The site includes parking, restrooms and a shelter.


  • Cannon Lake
  • Cedar Lake
  • Circle Lake
  • French Lake
  • Hunt Lake
  • Mazaska Lake
  • Roberds Lake
  • Shields Lake
  • Union Lake
  • Wells Lake


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,045
1880 5,415 77.8%
1890 6,520 20.4%
1900 7,868 20.7%
1910 9,001 14.4%
1920 11,089 23.2%
1930 12,767 15.1%
1940 14,527 13.8%
1950 16,028 10.3%
1960 16,926 5.6%
1970 16,595 −2.0%
1980 16,241 −2.1%
1990 17,085 5.2%
2000 20,818 21.8%
2010 23,352 12.2%
2019 (est.) 23,897 2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census 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.

Notable people

  • Howard Bachrach (1920–2008), virologist and foot-and-mouth disease researcher
  • George Ballis (1925–2010), photographer and activist whose photos documented the efforts of César Chávez and formation of United Farm Workers
  • Orville E. Birnstihl (1917-2015), Minnesota state representative, businessman, and farmer
  • Deming Bronson (1894–1957), Medal of Honor recipient
  • Stephen Chatman, Canadian composer, born in Faribault in 1950
  • Richard Cross, operatic bass-baritone
  • Mark Dusbabek, NFL player
  • Patrick Eaves, National Hockey League player for Detroit Red Wings; born in Calgary, Alberta but grew up in Faribault
  • Marsha Johnson Luknic (1943–1992), Minnesota state legislator and businesswoman
  • Tom Lieb (1899–1962), Olympic track and field athlete, All-American college football player and multi-sport coach
  • Mike Mason (1958–), former pitcher for the Texas Rangers
  • Diana E. Murphy (1934–2018), United States judge
  • Jake Petricka, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Bruce Smith, 1941 Heisman Trophy winner
  • Ursula Batchelder Stone (1900–1985), professor, civic leader in Chicago
  • Elizabeth Strohfus, aviator
  • Arnin O. Sundet (1904–1980), businessman and Minnesota state legislator
  • Seung Wan "Wendy" Shon, member of South Korean group Red Velvet, lived in Faribault from 2007 to 2010
  • Henry Benjamin Whipple, first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota
  • Kuoth Wiel (1990–), South-Sudanese-American model and actress
  • Raphael Louis Zengel, Faribault-born winner of Victoria Cross for actions performed with Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I


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. 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.

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.

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

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