May 19, 2023 at 9:45 a.m.
Mayor Jimmie-John King, a history enthusiast, recalled ice-fishing contests in the winter and people riding paddleboats on the lake in the summer.
"It was one of the premier spots in the area," the mayor said. "Even though it was a man-made lake, it was a big deal."
Lake Florence was the largest body of water in southeast Minnesota, King said.
"People came from all around," he said. "People could ride boats on it. It was wide and deep."
In spring 1993, the dam that impounded the 75-acre reservoir breached, draining the lake and leaving a dry lake bed. Many city residents hoped to rebuild the dam and restore the lake, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wouldn't give the city of Stewartville the permits it needed to replace the dam after it broke. As a result, the city had no choice but to go along with the DNR's wishes.
Hoping to share a bit of Lake Florence's history, city leaders commissioned the construction of the Florence Park Historical Plaza, just east of the current Florence Park Pond...
For more on this story pick up your copy of the May 23 Stewartville STAR.