Owatonna is founded by settlers with English roots and named after the Straight River, which in the Dakota language is Wakpá Owóthaŋna.
Owatonna is incorporated as a town August 9, 1858.
1883 and 1884
Owatonna hosts the Minnesota State Fair.
Owatonna is chosen over 16 other cities as the site of the State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children.
Steele County is the Butter Capital of the World. From its peak of 26 creameries, Steele County now has one, operating in Hope, just south of Owatonna.
Federated Insurance is founded in Owatonna as the Minnesota Implement Mutual Fire Insurance Company.
The National Farmers’ Bank, designed by Louis Sullivan, is completed.
More than 200 German prisoners are sent to Owatonna’s Branch Camp #5. The prisoners provided paid labor in Owatonna for the canning company, nurseries, farmers, and others.
The first portion of Interstate 35 is opened from Highway 14 to the Rice County line.
The City of Owatonna purchases the campus of the former Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children, which had been in operation from 1886 until 1945.
Cabela’s World’s Foremost Outfitters opens in Owatonna.