Have you been to little old Muckland lately?

Published 9:42 am Friday, July 11, 2008

Not long ago I was fooling around with a computer, typed in the topic of “Freeborn County Minn.” and found a rather unusual listing of 37 populated places in the county.

This alphabetical listing starts off with Albert Lea (that’s logical), followed by Alden, Armstrong, Bancroft, Bath, Clarks Grove, Conger and Corning.

Right at this point let’s stop the list. Corning is located at the corner of Freeborn County Road 36 and Minnesota Highway 251 at the extreme eastern edge of the county. In fact, this particular locality is actually just inside the Mower County line.

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OK, let’s resume this alphabetical listing with Emmons, Freeborn, Geneva, Glenville, Hartland, Hayward, Hollandale and Hollandale Junction.

I’m not too sure if Hollandale Junction can be classified as a populated place. It’s actually an obscure location on the railroad about two miles east of Hayward near the corner of County Road 46 and 540th Avenue and just north of Holiday Park Golf Course. Its relationship to Hollandale was with the railroad.

This is where the Milwaukee Railroad branch line once ran north to Hollandale. At the present time a short section of this line still exists and goes just past the grain elevator located a mile or so to the north.

Right at this point the implied alphabetical listing of the county’s populated places has already missed two localities. We’ll mention those places, plus another locality, later in the column.

Continuing on with this listing are Lerdal, London, Manchester, Mansfield, Maple Island, Moscow and Muckland.

The best way to describe the location of Muckland, a place I wasn’t aware of until now, is to say it’s on 270th Street southeast of Hollandale. One can assume this place acquired its name from the former status of being a part of a swamp or wetland.

Murtaugh, next on the list, is a very legitimate locality in Section 35 of Albert Lea Township. This place was named for a pioneer family. There was once a depot or siding on the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad with this name and the Murtaugh School (District 54). The school building is still on 170th Street and is now a private residence.

Next on the list are Myrtle, Oakland and Petran. That last one is a small community named for a farming family and is located near the intersection of County Road 46 and 830th Avenue and about a mile east of Hayward.

The next three places on this particular list are Sigsbee, South Hollandale and Twin Grove. All are in Riceland Township south of Hollandale. South Hollandale is obvious. Sigsbee is somewhere along County Road 118, and I couldn’t quite locate Twin Grove.

The last place on this list is Twin Lakes.

Up to this point we’ve listed 31 populated places. However, this Web site says there are 37 populated places in Freeborn County. Those other six are listed under another category as neighborhoods, subdivisions and settlements. They are: Emmons Trailer Court, Gordonsville, Hillcrest Mobile Home Park, Lakeview Mobile Home Park, Rainbow Terrace Mobile Home Park and Stoney Creek Estates.

I’m not too sure as to why Gordonsville is in this listing instead of the first one for towns. There, that takes care of one on the three forgotten places I mentioned earlier.

The Lakeview Mobile Home Park is identified as being in Twin Lakes, and Stoney Creek Estates is the name for the mobile home park on the south side of Albert Lea based on 19th Street.

By the way, those other two county places overlooked on both listings are Deer Creek and Newry. And as I emphasized in a Tribune article last year, Deer Creek even has a church, plus a new park.

Of all the place names mentioned so far, the one that grabbed my attention is Muckland. I immediately made an association with a mythical place named Mudville. Mudville gained literary fame for being the hometown of the baseball hero who inspired the poem, “Casey at the Bat.”

This famous poem was written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer in 1888. Gosh, that’s 120 years ago.

Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.