Grand Meadow named after salesman’s exclamation

By Mike Klein

Legend has it, the city’s name came from the exclamation of a traveling salesman looking over the rolling land dotted with groves and streams.

"Oh, what a grand meadow," he said.

Today, it’s still called Grand Meadow, and it remains a picturesque Mower County community.


Grand Meadow got its start when Erland Olson built a log house in the area in 1854, and other settlers followed.

The village was laid out in 1870, as the railroad had reached the creek east of town.

Lumber was hauled from Spring Valley to put up the first buildings in Grand Meadow. Several dwelling houses in the village were built in 1870 and 1871.

Two elevators were built in 1875, and immense quantities of grain were brought to town from surrounding farms, to be shipped out.

In 1876, Grand Meadow was incorporated as a village, and a blacksmith shop and barber soon opened.

By 1885, Grand Meadow had four churches, post office, railroad station, schoolhouse, boarding house, dentist, physician, Turkish bath, feed mill and several stores, according to a historical account.

The Grand Meadow school was destroyed twice by fires, in 1885 and in 1916.

But it was in the 21st century that the Grand Meadow school district really made its mark with an innovative new school.


In 2002, the community opened its monolithic dome school, the first of its type in Minnesota. Five domes house classrooms, cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, computer lab and administrative offices, for both elementary and secondary grades.

The dome school is cheaper to build and to heat than traditional buildings, and the school got a $3 million grant from the state for construction.

In each dome, classrooms surround open activity areas. The domes have no exterior windows, except for a few skylights.

School officials from throughout the Midwest came to tour the uniquely designed school.

Grand Meadow has a population of about 1,000.

Next week: Preston in the spotlight

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