Owatonna "Jewel of the Prairie" is a beautiful tree-filled city built on the shore of the Straight River. Surrounded by farmland and prairie and teeming with parks and trails, Owatonna is a great place to live for people who enjoy outdoor recreation and nature. Famous for its four colorful seasons, residents can enjoy our "great outdoors" throughout the year.
There are also a host of indoor activities from bowling to a movie, and interesting shopping opportunities from specialty shots to national chain retailers. No matter what your interest, you are sure to find something to enjoy in Owatonna.
Why the Name Owatonna?
Legend has it that Chief Wabena heard of the curing waters called minnewaucan. His daughter, Princess Owatonna, was very frail so he moved his tribe to the site of the natural springs on the banks of Maple Creek. Princess Owatonna drank from the springs daily and recovered her health. Her kindly spirit hovers near the bubbling waters and beckons weary travelers to pause in the beautiful valley and drink of the magic waters. You can visit the springs and the statue of Princess Owatonna at Mineral Springs Park.
Although this makes a colorful and romantic campfire story, the name most likely originated from the major river running through Steele County, now named the Straight River. For hundreds of years before the arrival of the first white settlers, Native Americans camped on the banks of the river they called "Ouitunya", which means straight.
Why the Oak Leaf?
The Mighty Oak has always been one of the most exalted of trees. Its outstretched branches give shelter and protection. Throughout time it has been considered sacred by many cultures and is said to hold the powers of health, money, healing, potency, fertility, luck, wisdom and strength. The oak's acorns offer renewed life, its wood is considered to be the finest of building materials and its leaves the symbol of a long life.
These are all powers of the wonderful city of Owatonna - so the oak leaf has become her symbol.