RONNEBY -- Most of us know where Ronneby is in Benton County, but did you know it actually started out called St. Francis? Or, at least part of it did.

Way back in 1895, Horace Davis platted St. Francis while in 1897 G.S. Grant started Ronneby right next to it.

Ronneby/St. Francis Street Map, image courtesy of the Benton County Historical Society

When the railroad came through Ronneby the town swallowed up St. Francis. The town grew rapidly with several businesses and for several years it boasted as being the biggest town in the county outside of Sauk Rapids.

However, the young upstart community of Foley just a few miles away wasn't having any of that and slowly started luring business owners from Ronneby to their community.

You see businesses moving they are recruiting the businesses from Ronneby to come to Foley.  One of the businesses that was recruited was the Parkway dance hall, which eventually moved to Foley and is today Mr. Jim's

Ostby says Foley finally surpassed Ronneby in size and significance around about 1920.

Ronneby at one time had its own hotel, sawmill, and newspaper, but by 1973 the town's post office had closed.

In 2008 the residents voted to dissolve the community and is now officially part of Maywood Township.

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Once a month Ostby is on the News @ Noon Show on WJON talking about the forgotten history of Benton County.

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