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Rochester officially became a city on this date 162 years ago.

According to the City of Rochester website, the city was incorporated on August 5, 1858. It was also the date Rochester was named the seat of Olmsted County

That occurred about four years after George Head and Thomas Simpson arrived in the area and first settled in an area along the Zumbro River which is now downtown Rochester. It was Head who named the city after his home town of Rochester, New York.

About 5,000 people were living in Rochester when a killer tornado struck Aug. 21, 1883. Nearly 40 people were killed and destruction was widespread. But that disaster also marked the infancy of what would become Rochester’s claim to fame - the now world famous Mayo Clinic. Dr. William W. Mayo had been practicing in the city and in the aftermath of the tornado, he was approached by a group of local nuns who proposed a new hospital. The nuns, Mayo and his sons opened St. Marys Hospital in 1889 and the rest is history.

Rochester’s inaugural population was around 1400. It grew steadily over the decades but its population exploded after 2000, increasing from 86,000 to its current estimate of 120,000. That’s enough to make it the third-largest city in the state and 239th in the country.

Rochester apparently also has a distinction as being a very windy city. Various websites list Rochester anywhere from the 2nd to the 11th windiest city in the country.

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