Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Rochester is observing another birthday.

Thomas Simpson first settled in this area and staked a claim to a portion of land along the Zumbro River near where the Government Center is located. That was in 1854.

The 1860 census put the new town’s population at 1,424.

About 5,000 people were living in Rochester when a killer tornado struck Aug. 21, 1883. The disaster led to the beginning of Rochester’s claim to fame - the now world-famous Mayo Clinic.

Rochester grew steadily over the decades but its population exploded after 2000, increasing from 86,000 to an estimated 117,000 in 2018. That makes Rochester the 242nd largest city in the nation and third largest in Minnesota.