Nerstrand, Minnesota

From Academic Kids

Nerstrand is a small city located in Rice County, Minnesota. As of the 2000 census, the population was 233.



Nerstrand was founded in 1885 by Osmund Osmundson from Nedstrand in Tysvær, Norway. From the same year it was a stop on the Minnesota and North Western Railroad's first rail line, which extended from Lyle, Minnesota to St. Paul. The line was later acquired by the Chicago Great Western Railway Company. It has since been dismantled.


David Isaacson, who runs the implement dealership, is the mayor.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 km² (1.4 mi²).

The town features an elementary school ( with grades K-5, which is operated as a charter school under state law. There is also a highly rated volunteer fire department.

The Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park (, is located nearby. The Valley Grove Church Building (, located nearby, is considered an important historical site, though there are several active churches around the area that are better preserved:

The town was notorious for the nearby Nerstrand Hill, bane of the locomotive engineer, with the steepest grade on the line from St. Paul to Manley Junction, Iowa.


Throughout its history, the town has acted as a source of services to area farmers. An implement dealer and a full-service grain elevator are still present today carrying on this role. These two businesses together provide over half the employment in Nerstrand.

The business district declined with the advent of the automobile, with most area residents choosing to shop in Northfield which has always been more prominent because of the two colleges located there, or Faribault which is the county seat.

As businesses left, Nerstrand became more of a bedroom community for people working in Northfield, Faribault, or Kenyon. A few nonretail businesses, including a cabinet shop and two specialty construction firms, have come to the community, utilizing what would otherwise be vacant storefront space.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 233 people, 80 households, and 65 families residing in the city. The population density is 63.4/km² (164.3/mi²). There are 82 housing units at an average density of 22.3/km² (57.8/mi²).

There are 80 households out of which 45.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.5% are married couples living together, 7.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 18.8% are non-families. 16.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.91 and the average family size is 3.26.

In the city the population is spread out with 33.9% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 15.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $41,500, and the median income for a family is $50,156. Males have a median income of $32,500 versus $23,333 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,362. 0.4% of the population and 0.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 0.0% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Notable Natives

Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), usually characterized as an economist or sociologist, and best known for writing the book The Theory of the Leisure Class (ISBN 0140187952), lived about a mile northeast of town. His house and farm contained several innovations, including what is believed to be the first bucket elevator to be installed on a farm in Rice County. The house was renovated in 1994 as a historic site and is occasionally open to the public. As of November, 2003, it is for sale.


Nerstrand Bicentennial Committee, The. 1976. Nerstrand: a history. Nerstrand, Minnesota: The Committee.

Nerstrand Women’s Club. 1949. History of the Nerstrand Community. [Nerstrand, Minnesota].


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