In the summer of 2000, the Fitzgerald and Borsch families got together for a family picnic in Forestville, Minnesota, in the southeast corner of Minnesota near the towns of Preston and Lanesboro (the latter was the birthplace of Dad’s mother, Margaret Fitzgerald Borsch). The video below are some highlights of that trip and family picnic.
In 1868, the railroad bypassed Forestville, MN and the town eventually died. Not right away, but in time my distant relatives, Thomas and Mary Meighen, saw the town dwindle, people move away (and they did too), and they were left with the farm and the store attached to their home. Farm workers, paid in ‘chits’, kept the store going until 1910, when Thomas abruptly closed the store — the last business in Forestville — with all the merchandise inside.
My Dad and his cousins told stories of being little kids on weekend holiday at the farm, rubbing the windows so they could peek inside at all the old clothing, canned goods and sundries inside. Nearby Preston, where many other relatives lived, thrived since the railroad passed through it instead of smaller Forestville to the south.
Eventually, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) purchased the property (and what was left of the town property) and turned it into a State Park.
MNHS sent representatives down to the picnic and they took copious notes as Dad and his cousins told stories, corrected some of the placement of artifacts (“No, No…his desk was turned the other way!”) and so on.
Forestville is a ghost town in section 13 of Forestville Township in Fillmore County, Minnesota, United States. The town of Forestville was settled in 1852 and organized in 1855, receiving this name in honor of Forest Henry, the first probate judge of Fillmore County. Henry settled in Forestville in 1854. In 1949 the Minnesota State Legislature authorized the creation of Forestville State Park, with the intent to preserve what remained of the abandoned townsite. Mystery Cave was added to the state park in 1987.