Princess Owatonna

The statue of Princess Owatonna in Mineral Springs Park dates to the early 1930s. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Keltscher Helbling)

Princess Owatonna

Legend goes that Princess Owatonna experienced restored health by drinking the curing waters of Minnewauan.

The story of the princess, and a statue of her, center Mineral Springs Park in Owatonna, a place defined by water. Springs. Maple Creek. And a man-made waterfall.

On a Friday afternoon in May, Randy and I stopped by the park to take in the art, the legend, the beauty of the water and apple blossoms, and simply nature.

During a previous visit, I drank cold spring water from a fountain. But on this day, no water bubbled up. Instead, water streamed from a nearby pipe, flowed in the creek and cascaded down the waterfall.

The park on this weather-perfect afternoon proved busy. But not too busy that we felt uncomfortable or crowed. Everyone respected everyone and social-distanced.

In 1875, Owatonna Mineral Springs Company formed with the spring water served for many years on railroad dining cars, according to the City of Owatonna website. One can only imagine the refreshing taste of that water sourced from this place in southern Minnesota, this place where Princess Owatonna, daughter of Chief Wabena, once found healing. So the legend goes...

Audrey Kletscher Helbling is a Faribault writer, blogger and former journalist who grew up in a little house on the prairie. Really. Find her blog, Minnesota Prairie Roots, at

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