1930s image (color added) of the Cedar River above Ramsey Dam, north of Austin. On the right, eastern shoreline was the land known at one time as Paddy’s Point.

100 years ago, cottage owners along Cedar River fought off controversial lease agreement at Paddy’s Point above dam

Paddy was poisoned by “moonshine whiskey.”

At least that was the legal excuse Patrick “Paddy” Walsh gave 100 years ago as to why he signed a lease allowing two men to build a dance pavilion in the woods of his farm along the Cedar River near Ramsey Dam.

The wooded area was known as Paddy’s Point or Ramsey Point — it’s east/upstream from today’s Old Mill Restaurant at the dam.

Austin Lions clubs will host a drive-through pancake fundraiser on May 1 at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in Austin to support nature center projects, including improving the covered bridge the Lions built in 1973.

Clubs’ drive-through fundraiser May 1 to support Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in its 50th year

April 26, 2021 — Eating pancakes and sausage on Saturday will help support the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in its 50th year thanks to the efforts of Austin Lions Club members.

On Saturday, May 1, three clubs — Austin Noon Lions; Austin Morning Lions; and Evening Branch Lions — will host a pancake fundraiser from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the nature center’s parking lot, 1304 21st St. N.E.

Cost is $5 per person for a meal of three pancakes, two sausages and milk or orange juice. Ankeny’s in Austin is donating the milk and orange juice.


Unused wells like this are the target of a cost-share assistance program in Mower County for sealing abandoned wells. (Minnesota Dept. of Health photo)

Mower SWCD, Austin Utilities partnership protects groundwater

April 19, 2021– Mower County property owners have more opportunities this year to qualify for financial help with sealing unused wells under a continuing effort to protect groundwater drinking supplies.

Mower Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Austin Utilities — the City of Austin’s municipal water provider –have nearly $50,000 available for cost-share assistance for sealing unused or abandoned wells. These funds are offered as a 50-percent cost-share payment (capped at $1,000 per well) on the cost of sealing a well.

“After seeing great interest the past two years under a state grant for well sealing cost-share, we found…

MN DNR staff from Waterville stocks rainbow trout in Wolf Creek on May 6, 2020, at Austin’s Todd Park.

MN DNR to stock 600 this spring in Austin’s Todd Park

April 12, 2021 — Hundreds of rainbow trout once again are headed for Austin’s biggest park this spring in hopes of enticing anglers of all ages to catch them.

For the second-straight spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will stock rainbow trout at Todd Park in Wolf Creek, which flows into the Cedar River State Water Trail about one mile downstream from the park.

Staff with the DNR’s Waterville area fisheries plan to stock 300 rainbows this week ahead of the state’s trout opener on Saturday, April 17, at which time — through Sept. 14 — anglers can…

One of two street sweepers from the City of Austin’s Public Works Department cleans the east side of 14th Street Northwest on March 22, 2021, as part of a new, three-week initiative by the city to clear sand, salt and other post-winter material from streets in half the usual time.

CRWD grateful for city’s enhanced efforts to protect streams

March 26, 2021– City street sweepers are driving Austin’s roadways for longer stretches of the day this spring under a new initiative to clear sand and salt in half the amount of time.

Starting this week, the City of Austin’s Public Works department is operating double shifts (4 a.m. to noon and noon to 8 p.m.) on weekdays with its two street sweepers and other crews that assist the sweepers as part of a three-week initiative to clean the sides of Austin’s 150 miles of roadways.

“This will help us clean the roads in about half the time it usually…

CRWD’s Fett, Hunter to battle via ice fishing Feb. 22 on Cedar

Feb. 19, 2021 — Ice-fishing trash talk in the office will be tested Feb. 22 on the frozen Cedar River State Water Trail to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research.

Smith representing southeast Minnesota for conservation group

Feb. 12, 2021 — A Mower County farmer and conservation board supervisor now represents southeast Minnesota on a state organization’s board.

Randy Smith, chair of the Mower Soil & Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors who farms near Adams, has started serving as a board member for the Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD). He has served since 2016 in his elected role on the Austin-based Mower SWCD’s board.

Cedar River at Austin Mill Pond as shown in a 1917 map. This area would undergo a major transformation in the coming years to remove most of the island and fill in swampy areas.

Financial issues led Austin businessman to stage drowning to allow him to flee to Iowa but train workers helped find him

By Tim Ruzek, CRWD outreach coordinator

Dynamite exploded in the Cedar River’s icy waters at Austin Mill Pond in March 1919 as police, firefighters and citizens searched desperately for the body of a local businessman and socialite.

Marcus Evans, who ran the Manhattan Oil Co. in Austin and was part of local businessmen groups that included George A. Hormel, was missing and believed to have drowned himself in the Cedar.

Evans had left a note at his home, saying his body would be found at a boat landing on a bend of the Cedar River, just upstream from Austin Mill…

Cindy & Terry Hamilton with their Midwest Air-Ag

Mower SWCD awards Adams-area family with annual distinction

Jan. 29, 2021 — Erosion on the Hamilton farm in central Mower County was taking soil from their cropland, altering the landscape and stealing nutrients they purchased to help grow corn and soybeans.

Facing these major, negative effects on their farm, Terry and Cindy Hamilton started looking into soil-health practices that since have saved the family business money through better nutrient management along with fuel and labor savings.

Farming more than 1,200 acres near Adams on a corn-soybean rotation, the Hamiltons started in 2012 to use cover crops on their fields and adopted the practice of strip-tillage that led them…

Early 1900s postcard of Dobbins Creek on Austin’s east side likely below the present-day site of the East Side Lake dam.

Flour mill, crossing near today’s East Side Lake dam proved challenging with flashy creek

In 1854, Robert Dobbins got his feet wet — literally — while trying to help establish a new community that later would be called “Austin.”

Dobbins, one of Austin’s first settlers who arrived that year, fell into a creek on present-day Austin’s east side (near today’s East Side Lake dam). He was crossing the stream with his oxen but the creek was flowing high and the crossing involved a high streambank cut down to give a roadway for teams.

“Mr. Dobbins, fording the creek with his ox team, could not follow the cut in the bank and drove his cart…

Cedar River Watershed District

Formed in 2007, CRWD works to reduce flooding and improve water quality on the Cedar River State Water Trail and its tributaries in southern Minnesota.

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