History

Our History:

Time line of major events at Oxbow:

• 1900 – Residents of Byron bought wood lots from farmers; there were about 40 of these lots on the ridges of what is now Oxbow Park
• 1935 – A camp and swimming hole were established, 40 acres of which had been preserved as a wildlife area by local school districts
• 1966 – Lyle Kuhlman remembers that the idea of a park was conceived in his living room with friends U. J. Eichten, Darwin Olson and Don Campbell who had a homestead north of where the Nature center is today.
• 1967 – County purchased original 465 acres; William Caulfield owned 206 acres, the heart of the park. He had four sons; one of whom, Wilbur, owned what is now Oxbow Park.
• 1969 – Original zoo was established from a donation by John Gilbertson, MN game warden
• 1973 – Campground opened; 15 sites. October 7, dedication of the park. Bill Stark is naturalist.
• 1974 – Additional 107 acres purchased, and 3 footbridges were built
• 1977 – Zoo area named in honor of Dr. Paul E. Zollman, DVM, in recognition of his dedication to Olmsted Parks and his help in treatment of injured animals.
• 1981 – Nature Center was completed
• 1982 – Friends of Oxbow organized
• 1994 – Bear/wolf/coyote exhibit built with FOX funding
• 1998 – 52 acres donated from Dr. David Donald and wife Geraldine
• 1999 – Small predator exhibit built with FOX funding
• 2002 – Turkey exhibit opens
• 2004 – New Otter exhibit opens – FOX funded this exhibit
• 2006 – Wolf exhibit expanded
• 2008 – New raptor exhibit opens
• 2012 – Wildcat exhibit funded by FOX is completed
• 2015 – Natural playscape opened
• 2016 – Latest fundraising campaign is New Nature Center