Madelia Day, 2/25/14 27 Jan 14



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– Madelia Pubic School is one of the larger employers in town. When they are paired with Truman Schools in some sports, they are known as the Jayhawks. For Madelia basketball and volleyball, the mascot is the Blackhawks.

– The primary focus of industry in Madelia is agriculture and agri-business. Two examples of this are the LaSalle Farmer’s Grain Company in Madelia, and Tony Downs Foods, which packages canned and frozen food.

– Some other important businesses in Madelia include: printing companies House of Print and Preferred Print, Gopher Concrete, and Forstner Fire Apparatus, which makes custom-built fire engines utilized by fire departments across the country.

– Health care is also an important industry in Madelia. Examples include: Madelia Community Hospital, which has received numerous state and national honors for their health care and employment practices, Luther Memorial Home, an assisted living facility, and the “Between The Bridges” Health Care Center.

– The largest employer in the City of Madelia completed major upgrades in 2005. Tony Downs Foods added a new reception area and offices and expanded their production lines. The facility is capable of capping 600 cans per minute.

– The Madelia Community Hospital was found to be in the top 8% nationwide of facilities that help reduce hospitalization. The study was conducted with over 7,500 Medicare agencies in the United States.


Festivals and Events

–  Madelia’s big summer celebration is “Park Days.” The annual festival is always held the weekend after the 4th of July in Madelia’s Watona Park. Park Days features numerous forms of stage entertainment including music and comedy acts as well as special interest shows. There’s plenty of food and drink too, of course, and lots of other fun activities.

– Madelia celebrates the capture of a notorious band of bank robbers every year. The Younger Brothers Capture event features a re-enactment of the capture, as well as a family barn dance, an all-city auction, and plenty of food and other activities. The Younger Brothers Capture takes place in September. 

– Madelia lights up the night and celebrates the holiday season with the Razzle Dazzle Light-Up Parade. This parade of lights through downtown Madelia is wildly popular and takes place the Friday before Thanksgiving.

– Madelians open up their homes to the public once a year during the Tour of Homes. The tour takes place in November.



– The Mayor of Madelia is Michael Grote and the population is around 2,400.

– A new world record was set in 2010 during Madelia’s Park Days celebrations. Ryan Guyer of Madelia broke the record for wearing the most t-shirts at one time, making it all the way to 233 shirts in just an hour and a half. That breaks the record of 227 t-shirts at one time set by a Swedish man in 2007. Guyer had to go up to a size 6XL t-shirt in order to squeeze into the 233 shirts for the Guinness Book of World Records.

– A Madelia woman appeared on the television game show “The Price is Right” in January of 2012. Nichole Olson’s hobby of collecting furniture came to her aid when her name was called to be on “Contestant’s Row.” She not only got the price right on the item up for bid, but guessed the price exactly. She then went on to victory in the “Now and Then” game to win a trip to Cancun, and got to spin the big wheel for a chance at the showcase showdown.

– Madelia-Truman-Martin Luther Wrestler Adam Cooling was named a KNUJ Wrestler of the Year in March of 2013.

– A 9-year-old girl from Madelia had lunch at the White House in July of 2013. Junior Chef Kaitlyn Kirchner was among the winners of a contest put on by First Lady Michelle Obama that challenged kids between the ages of 8 to 12 to create healthy lunchtime recipes. Kaitlyn came up with a garden stir fry featuring vegetables she and her family grow in their garden.

– The 17th annual celebration of the capture of the notorious Younger Brothers Gang took place in and around the City of Madelia in September of 2013. Highlights included a bank robbery in Madelia at High Noon, followed by a gunfight and the capture of the Younger Brothers and Charlie Pitts near LaSalle, a fast-draw competition, historical artifacts and memorabilia, kids activities and games, the firing of the “World’s Largest Rifle” and much more.

– Madelia is known as the “Pheasant Capitol of Minnesota,” and in September of 2013 the community hosted the 3rd annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

– The official biggest boar in the state in 2013 was from a farm near Madelia. “Big Kenny” was named the biggest boar at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair after weighing in at 1,045-pounds. Big Kenny belongs to Keith and Beverly Thurston, and was born on their farm in rural Madelia in October of 2010. He’s a cross between a Hampshire and a Duroc, and eats around 15-pounds of feed a day. The Thurstons received $600 for the distinction of having the biggest boar in Minnesota.

– The annual “Oscar Sorbel Hometown Hero Award” was given out in the City of Madelia during the community’s Younger Brothers Capture weekend in September of 2013. The recipient of the volunteer award was Madelia native Traci Henry. The ECFE and Preschool Teacher is active in her community in many ways. She is a member of the Madelia Women of Today, the Community Education Advisory Board, and the Hospital Foundation Board, has participated in the Watonwan County Relay For Life for many years, is active with her church, and is a good neighbor in numerous ways, such as gathering a team of like-minded volunteers when she heard that her neighbor’s house needed to be painted. Henry was also named the KNUJ Hometown Hero for October 2013.

– Madelia High School crowned Homecoming Royalty in October of 2013. Named Madelia Homecoming King was Justin Gifferson, and crowned Homecoming Queen was Carina Aguilar.

– A new memorial was dedicated in Madelia in October of 2013. The KIA-MIA Memorial at the Veterans Memorial in Madelia is in memory of the 19 servicemen from Madelia who were killed in action while serving our country, as well as Navy Lieutenant Commander Michael Quinn, who is still missing in action.



– The City of Madelia was founded on September 10, 1857 by a group of investors.

– Madelia is in Watonwan County on Highways 15 and 60. It is near the Watonwan River and Fedji Lake.

– Madelia was established by 5 men who bought the rights to a section along the Watonwan River. Philander Hartshorn, David Haire, Leander Sheppard, Stephan Benjamin, and James Hudson originally named the new town “Wacapa.” Within a year the name was changed to Madelia in honor of Hartshorn’s deceased teenage daughter.

– Joseph Flanders is often referred to as “The Father of Madelia” because of his great influence on the community. He was responsible for the major construction and development of the town, including the original courthouse.

– A legislative act in 1860 designated the County of Watonwan, and named Madelia as the county seat. In 1878 the county seat was moved to St. James

– An infamous band of bank robbers, the Younger Brothers, were captured just west of Madelia at the sites of Fort Cox, Fort Slocum, and Fort Hill, as well as at the Ashippum Post Office, which was the 1st post office in Watonwan County. The completely restored and furnished post office is on display in the city park.

– Madelia’s population grew rapidly in the city’s first few decades. Much of this growth is attributed to the construction of Fort Cox during the 1862 Sioux Uprising, as well as the coming of the railroad. Madelia lay on the main line which ran from Minneapolis to Omaha, encouraging many settlers and businessmen to establish themselves there.

– Madelia is home to a Warren Truss Bridge that is believed to be the oldest of this type of bridge in the state.

– A relatively famous artist, Marion Anderson, is from Madelia.