- Contact Us
In the years between 1852 and 1862, possibly 50 families settled within a radius of ten miles of our present Bellechester.
The first priest, a young missionary by the name of Father Felix Tissot, said mass as early as 1859 in private homes. In 1862, an important donation of 40 acres of land was made by a Mr. Frenier, to be used for church purposes. The first small frame church was built in 1865 near the present church site. The new stone church was built in 1877. The old church was used as a school in 1881, the School Sisters of Notre Dame teaching 90 pupils. In 1902, a new stone school was built. When the Sisters could no longer staff the school, it was used for CCD classes and has since been torn down.
The first business place was started by Nicholas Heberin in 1871 and was a General Store and Saloon.
One of the first settlers, Mrs. Josephine Darcy came with her parents from Illinois in 1852. Many of the first settlers came from New York and were from Ireland and Luxemburg. When they arrived, friendly indians were to be seen now and then.
In 1909, Clay was discovered about a half mile east of the northern part of Bellechester. This created a big boost to Bellechester. The Red Wing Sewer Pipe purchased some land there and took out the clay, which was shipped to Red Wing by rail. The Chicago Great Western maintained a depot here at the time. Cattle were also shipped out by rail in the years around 1915. This created a ‘new’ town on the northern part of Bellechester. The two parts were often referred to as New Town or New Bellechester and Old Town or Belle Chester.
Bellechester was supplied with electricity in 1924 by NSP. The village became incorporated in October 1955 and was then referred to as Bellechester. It supported four grocery stores and that many saloons and various other businesses from time to time. The City now has a bank, elevator, garage, metal recycling operations, feed store and several other businesses. St. Mary’s church is also still open.
Bellechester derived its name because it was partly in Belvidere township, in Goodhue County and partly in Chester township in Wabasha County with Highway 16 being the dividing line. 2010 census population figure was 175. In 1994, with a small cities grant and other financing by FHA, a new water system was installed and the wastewater treatment ponds rebuilt.