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Historical photos of Monticello Minnesota

Monticello MN Swans

ALT.Monticello MN Swans

Monticello MN SwansSheila Lawrence feeding the Monticello swans (archived photo).
Feeding time for the Monticello swans is 10:30am daily during swan season and is the best time for viewing the swans.
The viewing season for the swans is from early December to March depending on the weather. Check the Monticello Chamber website for updates on swan viewing.

Directions to Monticello's  Swan Park on Mississippi Drive
From St. Cloud:
Take the 2nd Monticello Exit (#194) off of I-94 East, which brings you to County Road 18. Take a right onto County Road 18.
From Minneapolis: Take the first Monticello Exit (#194) off I-94, which brings you to Country Road 18. Take a right onto County Road 18.
THEN...Continue straight ahead, through the stop light (the road turns in County Rd 39E) you will take the second left onto the street Mississippi Drive. Follow the residential housing until you see a little sliver of a park located on the right hand side near the end of Mississippi Drive. This is where you may view the swans in a park-like setting. If you have any questions call the Chamber Office 763-295-2700.

Sheila Lawrence was known to many as the "Swan Lady" and was the key person responsible for making Monticello renowned nationally for her 20 years of dedication to feeding the thousands of trumpeter swans that stayed in the area on the open waters of the Mississippi River. Best view times are from 9:30 to 11:30 am daily at the city park located near 117 Mississippi Drive, Monticello, MN 55362. Note: approx. months are December to February.

In honor of the "Monticello Swan Lady" and to honor Sheila Lawrence's memory in addition to help continue her legacy, the Monticello community has established a fund which allows wildlife lovers to contribute to the Lawrence's massive feeding efforts. Two winters ago, her husband Jim, spent nearly $20,000 on corn and the corn prices are not going down. Viewers/readers who would like to provide monetary help can contribute to the: Monticello Trumpeter Swan Fund. Donations at any time can be submitted to the fund at: Monticello Trumpeter Swan Fund c/o US Bank, 307 Pine Street, Monticello, MN 55362.

Monticello MN Swans
Local artist, Stephen Voight paints
Monticello swans in flight.
Photo courtesy of K. Laven,
Wright County Journal Press

"Monticello Swan Lady" The Minnesota DNR story behind Sheila Lawrence
and her husband to feed the Monticello, Minnesota swans.

Read these news articles about Monticello Trumpeter Swans:
[Note: some links are PDF files and require Adobe Acrobat to view.]

Monticello MN Swans

Monticello. . . a seasonal home for the Trumpeter Swans

People are talking about Monticello. More than 700 elegant trumpeter swans visit the warm open waters of the Mississippi River at Monticello, Minnesota. Swan viewing opportunities peaks between mid-November through March. The Monticello Chamber of Commerce has recently adopted the city’s Swan Park to expand swan viewing opportunities. A local Monticello resident living on Mississippi Drive feeds the swans daily from 11 a.m.-1p.m. with nearly 900 pounds of food each day. Sheila Lawrence was known to many in and around Monticello as the "Swan Lady." She was the key person responsible for making Monticello renowned nationally and even around the world as "Swan City" for her 25 years of dedication to feeding the thousands of swans and other waterfowl that stayed in the area rather than migrate farther south.

A larger than life stainless steel swan sculpture adorns the outside lawn and landscaping at the Monticello Community Center located at 505 Walnut Street. This commissioned piece of artwork was created by local Monticello artist, Parker McDonald, in honor of the trumpeter swans who grace Monticello with their presence each year.

The trumpeter swan is a modern-day success story. These majestic birds were once hunted for their skin, feathers and meat and by the early 1920’s, were in serious trouble and close to vanishing. Laws were passed to protect the birds and additional programs have brought the trumpeter swan back from the brink of extinction with numbers increasing as high as 16,000.

The trumpeter swan is the largest flying bird in North America with a wing span of 71/2 to 8 feet and can weigh up to 35 pounds. These beautiful and graceful, pure white birds have ebony black bills, legs and feet marking them with a contrasted beauty all their own. They earned their name due to their distinctive “trumpet-like” sound, caused by a loop in their larynx.

The trumpeter swans are a sight few people see in a lifetime and Monticello counts itself blessed by their presence – even if their visit is for just a few months of the year. Photographers, bird enthusiasts, visitors and community members can enjoy the swan’s natural beauty as they rest easy and feed on the banks of the Mississippi River located in Monticello, Minnesota.

(For more information about the swans, visit the Trumpeter Swan Society
web site at:


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