Historic Forestville
21899 County Road 118
Preston, MN 55965


Inside Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. View directions.


Closed for the season until May 5, 2018.
Weekday group tours and school field trips available by reservation from April 23-June 15 and Sept. 4-Oct. 26, 2018. Call 507-765-2785.
May 5 - 25, 2018:
Sat 10 am-5 pm
May 26 - Sept 3, 2018:
Thur 10 am-5 pm
Fri 10 am-5 pm
Sat 10 am-5 pm
Sun Noon-5 pm
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Open Memorial Day and Labor Day, 10 am-5 pm
Open July 4, noon-4 pm
Sept and Oct 2018:
Sat only 10 am-5 pm



  • $8 adults
  • $6 seniors and college students
  • $6 children ages 5-17
  • Free for children age 4 and under and MNHS members.
State Park vehicle permit required.



2018 Mar 13

Weather Forecast

Vegetable Varieties

The following varieties are planted at Historic Forestville for the Living History Program.

Beans: Beste Von Allem Wax Bean (60-75 days to maturity). Grown before 1900, this is a yellow wax bush bean that was very similar to the Improved Golden Wax (which was more of a trade name than a variety name), which was sold in Meighen's store. Plants have long yellow pods, and white seeds with a black eyes.

85 Beets: Field Beets (for livestock): Red Mangelwurtzel (100 days). This was a forage crop for livestock, which had large roots and after thinning, needed to be spaced 12 inches apart. Beets have red skin and white flesh. This variety was sold in Meighen's store.

White French: This is a garden-variety beet, and was sold in Meighen's store. Extremely rare today, it is now considered a gourmet beet.


Cabbage: Winnigstadt (or Early Winnigstadt): Pre-dating 1860, this cabbage seed was sold in Meighen's store. Grown in cooler, shaded areas of the garden, it has firm pointed heads with fluted, yellowish-green leaves.

Red Drumhead (74-90 days): Another Meighen variety, this deep purple-red cabbage has slightly flattened heads, is very sweet, and can be a very hardy winter keeper.

Cantaloupe (Musk Melon): Jenny Lind (70 days). Known in the Philadelphia markets before 1840, it was renamed after one of the most popular vocalists of the mid-19th Century. Each melon is about 1 to 2 pounds and has smooth green flesh. Fruits are slightly ribbed, and have a striking small button or knob on the blossom end.

Carrots: White Belgian (also known as White French--not to be confused with the White French beet). Introduced in 1885, this variety was sold in Meighen's store and is extremely rare today. This carrot is pure white and very productive.

Cauliflower: Early Snowball (60 days). A pre-1884 variety, this cauliflower is noted for its compact habit and smaller-sized heads. The plants ripen at different rates, prolonging the harvest.

Corn-Field Corn: Reid's Yellow Dent (85-110 days), first developed in 1846 in Illinois. Although undocumented for the Meighen farm, this was widely popular in the upper and lower Midwest in the 1890s, and is typical of other yellow dent varieties that no longer exist. It was very popular in Fillmore County, Minnesota (where Historic Forestville is located).


Corn-Garden Corn: Country Gentleman (88-100 days), introduced in 1891. This is a sweet corn that Meighen sold in his store. It is of the "shoe peg" type, being excellent for cream corn, corn-on-the-cob and canning.

Cucumbers: Long Green (65 days). Also sold in Meighen's store, this cucumber is both vigorous and prolific, displaying tapered ends, and a warted, black spine. This variety was popular for pickling and slicing. It contains few seeds.


Ground Cherry: Huberschmidt Ground Cherry. Grown before 1800, ground cherries are in the tomato family, and were popular for pie making and preserves. These were common in many Yankee gardens and grow like weeds. It is a prolific grower, with the fruit encased in green husks, which turns brown and papery as the fruit ripens.

Leeks: Giant Musselburgh (110 days). This variety dates to about 1840, this very large leek is sometimes called "American Flag." It is very winter hardy, with the edible portion of the stem typically at least a foot long and 2 to 3 inches across.

89 Lettuce: Big Boston (70 days). Another Meighen variety, this pre-1894 lettuce has firm, round heads 12 inches in diameter, medium green crumpled leaves with reddish brown edges. It was good for both summer and autumn.

Melon: Citron Melon: Grown before 1900, this looks like a baby watermelon. Although we cannot document that this seed was sold in the store, Thomas Meighen enjoyed cakes, cookies and other pastries made with citron. The fruit has firm flesh that is creamy to green in color.

Sugarcreek (80 days): Dating to at least 1860, this small, round melon averages 10-15 pounds. It possesses a dark green thin rind with light green stripes, crisp deep red flesh, and is highly productive.

Onions: Yellow Danvers. Dating to the mid-19th century, these onions have a dark golden brown skin and firm white flesh. This was a very popular onion during our period.

Peas: Risser Early Sugar Pea (55-60 days). Grown before 1850, this is one of our "educated guesses," with a typical sweet pea. It has been grown for several generations of the Risser family in Lancaster County, Pa. It is edible-podded, has good flavor, is productive, and has tall vines.

Peppers: Cubanelle (62-70 days). This variety we know the least about, but it probably dates to pre-1920. This sweet pepper is lobe-shaped into three segments, and is yellow/green to red when mature. The fruit grows on a large bushy plant.

Potato: Caribe: Dating before 1800, this was a standard white Irish potato. It has a blueish skin and white flesh, and is an excellent yielder. It got its name from being an early New England export to the Caribbean.

Russet: This is a generic name for a 19th century potato which is now a variety name. They have a smooth brown skin and white flesh, generally larger in size than the Caribe. Russets are referenced in Meighen's 1878 store daybook.

Pumpkins: Connecticut Field (110 days). Another educated guess, this pre-1900 variety weighs 25 pounds or more and is great for breads and pies. It was a very popular pumpkin during the second half of the 19th century, and is still popular today.

Radishes: Black Spanish (55-65 days): Sold in Meighen's store, this variety was introduced before 1824. This radish has large turnip-shaped globes (3 inches to 4 inches diameter), deep black skin, and a crisp white flesh. They can be sown in July and August and kept over the winter.

Brightest Breakfast (28 days): Introduced in 1870, this looks similar to today's radishes. The fruit is scarlet red with a white tip, and is oblong in shape. Mild and sweet taste. Can be sown in May or June, not a good producer in extreme heat.

French Breakfast (20-30 days): From at least 1885, this is oblong and blunt, rose scarlet with a white tip, white flesh, and has a mildly pungent flavor.

90 Salsify: Black Salsify (90-120 days). Grown before 1850, this is a hardy biennial with a black-skinned edible root. Planted in rows 18 inches apart, if left for a second year, seed will shoot up bearing large daisy-like yellow flowers.

Spinach: Round Leafed (30-40 days). Pre-dating 1900, this variety was sold in Meighen's store. It has large round leaves, and is quite prolific if planted in succession during entire season.

Squash: Hubbard Winter Squash (105-115 days): Another variety found in Meighen's store, this was introduced in the 1790's and is quite scarce today. These extremely large squash weigh an average of 12 lbs., exhibit a smooth bronze-green skin and have sweet, dry orange flesh.

91 Summer Golden Crookneck (60 days): This was a very popular squash variety sold in Meighen's store. This has a distinct deep yellow color, curved neck, and plump end.

Tomato: Brandywine (80 days from transplant). Introduced in 1885, this is a pink flesh tomato. It will continue to set blossoms and fruit until frost. Producing long vines and a potato leaf, this variety is compact in growth, and medium-sized fruits ripen over a short period of time. This is a heavy producer.