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It runs right through the heart of downtown Rochester and as of this week, the Zumbro River will be a little cleaner.

Most of us are familiar with the mighty Zumbro River, right? It meanders throughout southeast Minnesota, including downtown Rochester, as it makes its way to the Mississippi. And it's that stretch of river that's undergoing a good spring early fall cleaning this week.

It's all thanks to a collaboration by the Rochester Downtown Alliance, Destination Medical Center, and the city of Rochester Community Action Team. According to a release from the RDA, the clean team is set to tidy up the area in and around the Zumbro, downtown here in the Med City, throughout the day on Wednesday.

Beginning at 9 a.m. September 7, the clean-up group will pick up litter and debris within the river and on the riverbanks in the RDA’s special service district. The RDA’s Clean and Safe Ambassadors will also remove graffiti and other markings on the river’s surrounding infrastructure. The planned clean-up will help preserve this local resource and draw attention to an underutilized waterfront feature.

Rochester Downtown Alliance/Will Forsman
Rochester Downtown Alliance/Will Forsman

And, by the way, if you're curious about how the Zumbro River got its name (you don't see a lot of other 'Zumbros' out there, right?), it dates back to well before Rochester even appeared on the map.

According to the Minnesota Historical Society, as referenced in a story by the Post Bulletin's Answer Man, the river we know as the Zumbro today wasn't initially called that. Like many things in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, French explorers and trappers are responsible for the Zumbro's name.

The story says the Zumbro was originally called "'Riviere des Embarrass,' from the word, 'embarrasser,' which means obstruction or difficulty." The story noted that it came to be called that because back then (and even today, in some places) the Zumbro was filled with shallows and snags that could quickly capsize a trader's canoe.

Of course, over the years, the French pronunciation for 'des Embarrass,' (which would be something like "deh-ZUM-BEHRRR-OSS," the story said) was rounded off and shortened until it sounded much more like the current title of Zumbro.

And while the Zumbro itself has remained a constant in Rochester, many other parts of our fair city have changed big time over the years. Keep scrolling to see what the Med City USED to look like!

Listen to Curt St. John mornings from 6 to 10 on Quick Country 96.5
and afternoons from 2 to 6 on 103.9 The Doc

Wow! Check out how Rochester has changed throughout the years in these Google photos.

As we are soaring down Hwy 52, it is hard to imagine what life was like in our town before the Target store was built where it is today. Or the house that you live in now, at one point in town, that wasn't there. In fact, Rochester has grown so fast throughout the years, most of our houses weren't even around 50 years ago! Don't believe me? Look through these photos to get a glimpse of what Rochester was like years ago.

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