Montrose History

The village was incorporated in 1881 and the first officers were elected. Located on the Great Glacier Trail (which would become U.S. Highway 12) approximately thirty five miles west of Minneapolis. Montrose was surrounded by the beautiful prairies and lakes. A period of growth followed. New businesses come to town, the post office was moved into the Railroad Station (from George Wright’s house) and the population of Montrose was about 200. Montrose was named by the first settler, George M. Wright after a town in his home state of Pennsylvania. In 1920, a Constitutional Amendment was ratified (called the “good roads amendment”) which was established to connect the county seats in Minnesota. Highway 12 was officially established and a second main highway (State Highway 25) crossed Montrose. Highway 25 connects Buffalo to the north and Watertown to the south.
Most of the businesses in Montrose were located on Railroad Street in the early days of the village. In 1904, the first Montrose School burned and was replaced in 1905 by a new school. In 1909, the Reverend P.J. Blumekranz held the first Lutheran Service in Montrose. In 1918, the electrical age dawned in Montrose. The 1930’s saw the business district move outward to U.S. Highway 12 after fires destroyed most of the buildings on Railroad Street. Montrose 1930 “strip” included Onstott’s hotel, Lundsten Lumber, Red’s Coffee Bus and Eckerman’s Grocery.

Many things have changed since those early days, however the strong sense of community and values that the original homesteaders cherished remain. A way of life that fosters involvement through many volunteer organizations (Fire Department, Boy Scouts, Lions and many more) still remains the cornerstone of Montrose. Nestled among a serene agricultural splendor, the City of Montrose is an example of the small town atmosphere that founded not only the state of Minnesota but our country.

If you are interested in learning more, stop in City Hall and get a history book free of charge until they are gone.

  • 1861 - Founded in by George M. Wright, Montrose was named after a town in Pennsylvania.
  • 1866 - Montrose Post Office opened in Mr. Wright's home.
  • 1905 - Montrose school was built.
  • 1918 - Electricity came to Montrose.
  • 1942 - Montrose High School closed.
  • 1975 - New Montrose Elementary school opens.