YOU ASKED COLUMN The highest point in Olmsted County is still up for grabs.
Last week I asked readers to give me rock-solid information on the point of highest elevation in this lakeless county. I've checked several sources and no one has been able to tell me, "Answer Man, here's the guaranteed data you need to share with your devoted readers."
My guess is the high point is near Byron.
Well, several readers came forward with their research, and it spans the length and breadth of this county.
John, a Rochester reader, sent the link to TerraServer (at terraserver.microsoft.com) and said it was one of his favorite Web sites. The site offers topo and satellite maps of any location you type in. "I did a quick check and it appears the highest elevation in Olmsted County is along Minnesota Highway 30 between Stewartville and Chatfield, at approximately 1,330 feet. Several areas in the county are over 1,300 feet, such as the Rochester airport and along I-90 south of Dover."
John goes on to say, "Hope this helps you find a definitive answer! I enjoy your column and am glad to pass on some of my (as my wife puts it) 'useless' info."
If it appears in You Asked, John, it ain't useless. Tell your wife that and see what she says.
But the high point isn't resolved. Here's a note from Mel Jones of Rochester: "The highest point in Olmsted County is on a farm northeast of Byron," Mel says, and there's a marker at the farmstead that says so. "I grew up on the first farm to the east and I've seen and read the marker at the original building site many times."
Another reader said there's a marker along old Highway 14 west of Byron that reputedly marks the highest point in the county. But this reader goes on to say it's the second highest point in Minnesota, which the Answer Man can guarantee you is incorrect.
The highest point in Minnesota, by the way, is Eagle Mountain in Superior National Forest at 2,301 feet. Rochester's elevation is 989 feet, presumably measured in a pothole downtown somewhere, but it's 1,317 feet at the airport.
OK, enough about elevation! But I'm still gathering data on the county's official high point.
When will the Douglas Trail pedestrian overpass on 55th Street in Rochester be completed? We have heard several different dates (which have all passed) and progress seems almost at a stand still. -- Jan
The city's best guess is that by the end of November, the new bridges at 55th Street and 50th Avenue will be up and open for use.
This week, work on the bridge structures should be completed, and next week they'll be hoisted into place on the abutments. After that, Mike Easley of the city public works department says we'll have to hope for a few warm November days for pouring the final concrete decks on the bridges. The approach paths will also need to be finished.
As reader Jan suggests, the project has taken forever to wrap up. Easley agrees and says "it's dragged on for longer than we're accustomed to." The delay was mostly due to a conflict with utilities at the 55th Street crossing, which required a redesign of the bridge there.
MENDING FENCES: Nathan Spillers answered my call last week for info on a local fencing club: "There is a fencing club in Rochester," Spillers says. "We're small, but enthusiastic. We meet every Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the new Allegro School of Dance. It costs $5 per person per night to help defray costs, and basic fencing gear is provided for guests."
The Answer Man is the straw that stirs the drink, every Monday and Thursday. Send questions to You Asked, P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.