Located in the Zumbro River delta with the Mississippi River, the village of Kellogg is within close proximity to a number of wildlife areas.
In 1854, Isaac Cole settled on section 22 of Greenfield Township on the south bank of the Zumbro River. He established ferry service and built a hotel; a post office opened in 1862 for a place called Pauselim. In 1863, residents built a Methodist church and platted the village. A few other buildings went up but when the railroad built a depot a bit further east, Pauselim faded away and Kellogg sprang to life. The Methodist Church was moved to Kellogg in 1882.
John Huddleson was among the first arrivals in the Kellogg; he built a home around 1870. The village was was named by railroad officials to honor a Milwaukee man who supplied signs for the depot. How I long for the days when all you had to do get a town named after you was to donate a couple of signs! Kellogg had 200 residents by 1880, thanks to its role as a shipping point for area farmers’ products, and enough economic stability to survive a major fire in 1880. Kellogg has been a small town heavily dependent on agriculture since it was founded.
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LARK Toys (171 Lark Lane; 507.767.3387) is a joyous place to pass some time. It is unusual to find an independent toy store anymore, and certainly very rare to find one in the middle of a rural area. The store has a wide range of items spread through several rooms: books (Doctor Seuss to Harry Potter), silly masks, buildings blocks, aerobies, plastic spiders and snakes, kits for science experiments, a photo booth, matruyskas, puzzles, games, and wood toys they craft by hand. Don’t miss the carousel with beautiful pieces handcarved by local artist Todd Pasche; the carousel runs every 30 minutes. They also have a nostalgic display of toys from the past called Memory Lane (free) and an 18-hole mini-golf.
Getting on the River
If you brought your own canoe or kayak, check out the Halfmoon Canoe Trail (507.454.7351), five miles of easy paddling through the backwaters. From US 61, take County Highway 18 through Kellogg and turn right on S. Dodge Street, then turn left on County 84; after 4 miles, turn left on 622nd Street and follow it to Halfmoon Landing.
Culture & Arts
The Jon Hassler Theater (412 W. Broadway; 507.534.2900) is a performing arts center in the nearby village of Plainview; their season generally runs from June through December.
Entertainment and Events
The sand prairies around town are ideal for growing watermelon, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the village has been throwing a festival for decades to celebrate the fruit. The Kellogg Watermelon Fest (507.767.4953) is held in September, the first weekend after Labor Day.
Sports and Recreation
The Snake Creek Management Unit of Richard Dorer Forest (651.345.3216) is a popular spot for hikers and off-road vehicle drivers. The north section has a five-mile trail for hiking and cross-country skiing, while the south area’s 13.5 mile loop is popular with ATV drivers and mountain bikers.
Take a short detour down Highway 84 from Kellogg through a tranquil rural setting to reach two unique nature preserves. At the Kellogg-Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area (612.331.0750) explore a sand prairie remnant, with rolling dunes, some 30 feet high, covered in light vegetation in most places but occasionally just open sand. The dunes were created by deposits from the Zumbro, Chippewa, and Mississippi Rivers. The area is home to a number of threatened species of plants (like purple sand grass, beachheather) and rare brids, plus the threatened Blanding’s turtle; you may see these turtles crossing the road, especially in June when they are laying eggs or in late August when the youngsters hatch. Try not to run them over. Access to the north tract is about four miles from Kellogg; park on the east side of the road at the sign. The South tract is about six miles from Kellogg at Township Road 141.
Adjacent to the dunes is McCarthy Lake Wildlife Management Area (651.296.6157), an area rich in wetlands created by an old channel of the Zumbro River. If you visit at the right time of year, you are likely to see sandhill cranes, bald eagles, or tundra swans. Access is four miles south of Kellogg.
Town and Country Café (320 E. Belvidere Ave.; 507.767.4593) is a cozy small town eatery where you can get breakfast all day but they are especially popular for their pies. When I visited, they had 12 types of pie to choose from. Twelve! I splurged on a slice of butterscotch walnut with a scoop of ice cream.
You can pitch a tent by the parking lot at the south end of the Snake Creek Management Unit (651.345.3216); there are no services.
Post Office: 345 E. Belvidere St.; 507.767.4993.
Heading upriver? Check out Wabasha.
Heading downriver? Check out Weaver.
© Dean Klinkenberg, 2011