Freeborn County Communities

The Albert Lea – Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce has nearly 550 business and professional members throughout all of Freeborn County, and we draw your attention to our outlying communities. They are an important part of our organization and we want to share their information with you.

Alden lies west of Albert Lea on I-90 and is located on the shores of Morin Lake. Alden is on the western edge of Freeborn County and is in the midst of an extremely rich agricultural area. Alden is a proud community, with well-kept buildings, streets, and a school district that is applauded by its peers. Alden’s progress can be credited to its forward thinking men and women. It is the honesty, uprightness, and fair dealings of its people that make the community worth living and working in. Alden’s development corporation was developed in the early 1960s and offers guidance, impetus and assistance to those interested in increasing the economic, industrial, cultural and social growth of Alden.

Clarks Grove lies directly north of Albert Lea, just west of I-35, and is home to several family-owned businesses. Clarks Grove was named after a grove of trees owned by J. Mead Clark, and settled by Danish Baptists. The community was long known for having the first cooperative creamery in the state.

Conger is located about seven miles west of Albert Lea. The city is home to 133 residents, and growing! The city’s beginnings go back to 1901 when a depot was erected by the New Germainia Rail Line, later the Rock Island line. The area was named Conger in 1902, in tribute to the honorable E.H. Conger, an Iowa legislator, who served as U.S. Minister to China. Shortly after the depot was erected, there followed a creamery, grain and coal company, hardware store, bank, blacksmith shop, lumberyard, and stockyards. Today there are approximately 12-15 businesses in and around Conger.

Emmons “The Gateway to Minnesota” is a small community that is nestled between Albert Lea and the Iowa border. This scenic town is small-town living at its best. The city of Emmons is a community family that has the convenience of a large city only 12 miles away.

Freeborn is located along the north shore of beautiful Freeborn Lake, one of southern Minnesota’s largest lakes. The village was originally platted in 1857, and was incorporated as a city in 1949. The city is also in the process of revitalizing its downtown area with the debut of a number of new business ventures and, recently, has welcomed the construction of several new homes. For more information, visit their website at

Geneva is one of the state’s oldest towns, located about 13 miles north of Albert Lea, just east off of I-35 on County Road 35. Geneva is home for about 449 people. The city is part of the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva School district.

Glenville, Minnesota is a small town located just north of the Minnesota-Iowa border in Freeborn County, south of Albert Lea on highway 65. Glenville has a long history in Freeborn County, being the home town of the county’s first primary school established in 1856. For more information, visit Glenville’s website at

Hartland derives its name from a small town on the Connecticut River in Windsor County, Vermont. Hartland Township was settled in 1857, and was incorporated as a city in 1893. For many years Hartland has been noted for its excellent marching band, its excellent baseball teams, and its progressive attitude.

Hayward was named after early settler David Hayward. It was settled in 1857 and platted in 1877. Hayward is noted for its unique businesses, including Nick’s Meats, famous for their award-winning meat products. Hayward is a busy, welcoming community.

Hollandale is located in the northeast part of Freeborn County, just off of I-35. The community was developed as farmland, after its 15,000 acres of swampland was drained in 1923. The Hollandale Christian School is known for its excellent faith-based education for young students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Manchester, originally platted in 1882, received its name from an Illinois settler named Mathias Anderson. Located on Minnesota Highway 13, Manchester is home to the following Chamber member businesses: Jensales (tractor manuals and toy tractors), Jen’s Print (commercial printing), and Jordahl Meats.

Myrtle is named after Mrs. Myrtle Lane, who was the postmistress of a small post office located about a mile east of the present town from 1886 to 1900. The building of the Illinois Central Railroad in 1900 between Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Albert Lea resulted in the building of a depot in Section Seven of London Township.

In 1901, Albert A. Schuhmacher had a portion of his nearby farm surveyed and platted into lots. This resulted in the start of the present community. This community became the center for the Bohemian (Czech) settlement in Freeborn County. This was emphasized with the location of what was once the ZCBJ Wooden Hall, and the present historic Brick Hall on County Road 30 north of Myrtle.

Twin Lakes is located six miles south of Albert Lea in Nunda Township. The first village of Twin Lakes was platted in 1858 and developed in 1869. The village was incorporated by popular vote on April 3, 1957. The first election took place one month later. Twin Lakes is the home of 168 people, with 47 homes and a 25 unit trailer park.