The city of Farmington started in 1865 when the long-awaited Minnesota Central Railroad opened its line from St. Paul to Faribault. At that time, there were few priests in the state, and the Catholic community relied upon missions visited by parish priests. In 1868, the communities of Rosemount and Lakeville, possessing large Catholic populations, and Empire (Farmington), having few Catholics, decided upon eight acres at the intersection of three roads: Pilot Knob, Dodd Road, and present-day 160th Street.
According to the transaction records, this land was purchased on April 28, 1868. Considered to be a handsome building for its day, its first mass was celebrated on Sunday, August 30, 1870. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a cyclone in May 1880. During this time, the small--but rapidly growing--Catholic community of Farmington would celebrate Mass at a "mission station" in town.
By 1876, the Catholic population of Farmington had grown to about 30 families--thanks in large part from the large influx of railroad employees--and a Catholic church was desperately needed in the village. On November 16 of that year, the Farmington Press reported, "The Catholic Church in Farmington opened last Sunday and a large congregation filled the new, but unfinished chapel to its capacity. Fathers Palvin and Quinn of Faribault officiated [Farmington was a mission of Faribault at this time]."
Despite the fact that a Catholic Church building had been erected in Farmington, there was still not a resident pastor or parsonage. Therefore, the Farmington Church remained, for a number of years, a mission of neighboring parishes. But in October 1895, that changed as the Farmington Catholic church was officially incorporated. It was now a true parish, albeit still without a resident pastor.
Because no permanent priest was assigned in Farmington, there are very few records of the parish. Much of what we know today of that time was gathered either from "family lore," or from small articles written in The Dakota County Tribune.
We celebrated our first mass in our new church home on Palm Sunday 2000.