Visit the Ghost Town of San Francisco Without Leaving Minnesota
There's no Golden Gate Bridge in Southern Minnesota, but there is a small community named San Francisco.
San Francisco Township is located within the town of Carver, Minnesota, about an hour and a half south of St. Cloud. And as you probably have guessed, the township is named after the city by the bay in California:
In 1854, a few years before Minnesota statehood, a man named William Foster, who’d just migrated from the west and shared this opinion, put his admiration into action. He platted a village site very near the rapids on the Minnesota River, in what would later be Carver County, about 30 miles southwest of Minneapolis. Foster must have had big dreams of reaching out arms of wealth and happiness, because he named his village “San Francisco.”
By the following year, the village had its own post office and was named the county seat of Carver County. San Francisco had a good run, but two towns down the river were growing fast. Soon the town of Carver and Chaska overtook San Fran, and Carver was named the county seat in 1856. Spring floods ended up leaving the town debilitated, it was abandoned shortly after and used as farmland, leaving San Francisco, MN a ghost town.
Of course, other small towns named after major cities have stood the test of time in Minnesota, like Rochester, Cambridge, and New Ulm, but when a town is as iconic as San Francisco, it's hard to keep up. All that is left today is a township hall (originally a school house), farmland, federally protected parkland, and an abandoned farmhouse that was built by a wealthy German butcher in the late 19th century.
Check out more on San Francisco Township on their website.
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