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Albert Lea is a city in Freeborn County, in southern Minnesota. It is the county seat. Its population was 18,016 at the 2010 census.The city is at the junction of Interstates 35 and 90, about 90 miles (140 km) south of the Twin Cities. It is on the shores of Fountain Lake, Pickerel Lake, Albert Lea Lake, Goose Lake, School Lake, and Lake Chapeau. Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake are part of the Shell Rock River flowage. The city's early growth was based on agriculture, farming support services and manufacturing, and it was a significant rail center. At one time it was the site of Cargill's headquarters. Other manufacturing included Edwards Manufacturing (barn equipment), Scotsman Ice Machines, Streater Store fixtures, and Universal Milking Machines. As in many U.S. cities, Albert Lea's manufacturing base has substantially diminished. A major employer was the Wilson & Company meatpacking plant, later known as Farmstead and Farmland. This facility was destroyed by fire in July 2001.
Owatonna () is a city in Steele County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 25,599 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Steele County. Owatonna is home to the Steele County Fairgrounds, which hosts the Steele County Free Fair in August. Interstate 35 and U.S. Highways 14, and 218 are three of the main routes in the city.
Rochester is a city founded in 1854 in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County located on the Zumbro River's south fork in Southeast Minnesota. It is Minnesota's third-largest city and the largest city located outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2018, the Rochester metropolitan area had a population estimated at 219,802. According to the 2020 United States Census, the city had a population of 121,395. It is the home of the Mayo Clinic and a major IBM facility, one of the company's largest at its peak.
Mason City is a city and the county seat of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States. The population was 27,338 in the 2020 census, a decline from 29,172 in the 2000 census. The Mason City Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Cerro Gordo and Worth counties. It is commonly referred to as the "River City", as the city grew up centered on the Winnebago River.