Growing from the Flames of the Madelia Fire

The Madelia fire of 2016 is known throughout Minnesota and could have been a defining tragedy for the community of Madelia. It destroyed eight buildings and nine businesses, sweeping through Main Street, and resulting in 150 people losing their jobs. What came next was the true miracle. Instead of leaving the lots empty, a common site in small community downtown areas, Madelia came together to rebuild and create something even better. That’s the spirit of Madelia. It’s a place where people come together and fight for their community.

All eight buildings have been rebuilt and are home to popular businesses like La Plaza Fiesta and Hope and Faith Floral. As one resident wrote, “Growing from the flames is something we can all be proud of. That and how beautiful our Main Street is now. We’re thriving!” 

Madelia’s History

Historically, Madelia has primarily been a farming community and has deep ties to agriculture. Families have settled and grown here because it’s a great place to put down roots. Everything you need is in Madelia, including excellent healthcare, a grocery store, restaurants and shops, parks, entertainment, and great schools - it’s just in a smaller package where it’s easier to get around. 

If you go far back in time, Madelia has ties to the Jesse James/Younger Brothers gang and played a role in capturing the outlaw Younger Brothers. For years, the Younger Brothers Festival drew people to the community for fun events with a historical twist. 

Learn more about the history of Madelia by visiting the Watonwan County Historical Museum.