Fairhaven, More than Just a Farm and Flea Market
Each small town in Minnesota has a story and this is the story of Fairhaven. Fairhaven is a town south of St. Augusta on County Road 7 in the southeastern portion of Stearns County. As of the most recent census they have a population of 358 people. The town is unincorporated and has been without a post office for many years.
Settlers came to Central Minnesota in the 1850s with the first documented settler arriving in what is now Fairhaven in 1856. The man who is considered to be the father of Fairhaven is Thomas C. Partridge. He came to Fairhaven from Ohio and chose the area with the Clearwater River running through it. Partridge initially built a home in Minneapolis in 1854 before making his way to Fairhaven in 1856. The plat of the Fair Haven townsite was filed with the Register of Deeds of Stearns County on May 27, 1857 approximately 1 year after Partridge arrived on the property. The first settlers of Fairhaven were referred to as "old settlers" which is why each year at the end of June Fairhaven celebrates "Old Settlers Days".
To help tell the story of Fairhaven I was joined by longtime residents Dale and Shirley Fischer and Marnie Macgregor. Dale and Shirley have lived in rural Fairhaven for the past 80 years. Dale was born in 1936 and saw Fairhaven thrive in the 1940s and 50s when Fairhaven had a creamery, a bar, a general store, a black smith shop, post office, 3 car garages, a station for gas and a 2-story school house. Fischer says Fairhaven also had a bank before his time in the area. Dale says they had a grinder mill along the Clearwater River which was used to generate power.
Shirley and Dale are both members of the Fairhaven Lions club and have been for many years. The Lions Club maintains the large park in the middle of town which is the center piece of Old Settlers Days and many gatherings. The Fischers say what they've loved about Fairhaven is knowing everyone in the area the small town feel.
Fairhaven Farm offers a unique experience in the area. Marnie Macgregor's parents Marcia Anklam and David Mcgregor own and operate the farm along with Marnie, which features fresh fruit, an apple orchard, vegetables and flowers. The farm offers farm dinners which are open to the public. Macgregor says these events ask attendees to pay for the food but should bring their own drinks, plates, utensils and even a table cloth if they want. The farm will supply tables and chairs. Fairhaven Farm has also hosted Weddings and receptions. Marnie indicates much of their produce can be found at area farmer's markets.
South of Fairhaven is the location for the Wright County Swappers Meet. They call themselves Minnesota's largest outdoor market.
If you'd like to learn more about Fairhaven you can listen to my conversations with Marnie Macgregor and Dale and Shirley Fischer. They are available below. Thank you to Marnie Macgregor, Laura Hood, Jack Miller, Dale and Shirley Fischer, Mike Smith and Jim Grabinski for their help on this story.
Dale and Shirley Fischer