OWATONNA | Book A “Step Back in Time” Tour!

Take a detour into rural Minnesota & experience a different side of American history. Experience into the only known Orphanage Museum in the US, marvel at the architecture in “one of the greatest buildings in American history,” and see life at the turn of the 20th century.

Owatonna showcases an array of historic treasures for your group to explore!
Spend a full day with your group on the Step Back in Time tour in Owatonna. Your tour will feature the Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum, Village of Yesteryear, Steele County History Center, and Louis Sullivan Bank or Owatonna Power Plant. Lunch is included in this complete packaged. Sample this package with the itinerary below.

Start your historic day at the Steele County History Center. You’ll experience what life was like at the turn of the 20th century at the Village of Yesteryear. The 19-structure display of the original circular layout of Owatonna features Congressman Mark H. Dunnell 1868 house and the Milwaukee Railroad Bixby Depot built-in 1899. Lunch will be catered in from a local restaurant after you’re done walking through the rotating exhibits of the History Center.

The next stop is Louis Sullivan’s biggest and most elaborate Jewel Box of the Prairie Bank. With your guide leading you through the bank, you will experience the awe-inspiring, breathtaking, and spirit-lifting architecture. Visitors compare it to a religious experience, “like stepping into a cathedral bathed in light.” This is the first of Sullivan’s eight Jewel Box of the prairie Banks. Architecture Historian Tom Martinson calls it “one of the greatest buildings in American history.”

Finally, your last stop will take you to the Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum, once the third-largest institution of its kind in the nation. Over 10,000 neglected and abused children were sent to Owatonna from 1885-1945, where they could be transformed into productive members of society. The State School was to be a temporary home, preparing the orphans for adoption or placement in “good homes” (most were placed in farms to be used as work hands). While the intent was to keep the children only for a few months, some stayed on for years and became institutionalized.

Whatever the size of your group, our staff will create your very own customized tour schedule. Leave the details to us, we guarantee you will receive friendly and helpful service. Call 507-451-7970 to book your group tour today!