Caledonia, the county seat of Houston County, is located a few
miles from the geographical center of the county, but farther from the landing
places along the river, so it was not settled as early as other towns in the
county. Samuel McPhail is most honored of the early settlers as he built
two log houses, one for a dwelling, and one for a place of business, and had the
town platted in 1854. Caledonia was organized as a town on May 21, 1858,
and reorganized as a village in 1870, and city status in 1974. Business
flourished after the railroad, the Preston branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and
St. Paul Railroad (narrow gauge) was opened in 1879 changed to regular gauge in
Improvements were made, some cement sidewalks were seen early in
the 1900s, but Caledonia had dirt streets and wooden sidewalks until 1924-1926.
In 1954, Caledonia celebrated its centennial, and in 1979,
Founders Day was started celebrating the 125th year.
Churches and schools were built in early days, and needs for
expansion brought more and larger buildings. Histories of these are found
in the history book in abridged articles, and more complete reports are on file
at the Caledonia Public Library.
Today Caledonia is a mixture of the old and the new. Many
buildings are built of native limestone, such as the county courthouse and jail,
churches and business structures.
The population of Caledonia in 1980 was 2691. It has one
public grade and high school; St. Mary's Catholic Grade School, and St. John's
Lutheran Grade School. The Caledonia Health Care Center is a clinic,
hospital and nursing home complex. For recreation, there is a lighted
athletic field, swimming pool and bathhouse, tennis court, bowling alley, golf
course-grass greens. Beaver State Park within 4 miles, snowmobiling,
fishing, hunting, Dunromin' Park and Camp Winnebago. Houston County
Airport is located within two miles of the city. Submitted by Houston Co.