The story of Forestville, closely tied to the history of the Meighen family, spans decades.
James Meehan emigrates from the village of Inver, County Donegal, Northern Ireland. The spelling of his last name changes to Meighen sometime before 1820.
William Meighen, the son of James, moves to Galena, Illinois, to start a new life.
William Meighen heads west from Galena as part of the California Gold Rush.
William's brother, Felix Meighen, and Felix's wife, Eliza Jane, join William when he returns to Galena.
Robert Foster, Eliza Jane's brother, purchases claim for land that would become Forestville. Felix establishes a general store there.
William Meighen goes into partnership with his childhood friend Major Foster. Soon, Meighen owns a hotel named the Fremont House, built by Foster. Thomas, Felix's son, is born.
A more permanent brick store and house next to the original store, in which Felix Meighen and his family live, are completed.
Thomas Meighen, aged 13, stops attending school and begins working full-time for his father's businesses. The Southern Minnesota Railroad chooses to bypass the town of Forestville, and the town begins to decline.
The National Greenback-Labor Party nominates William Meighen for lieutenant governor; he places a distant third in the election.
William Meighen runs for governor on the Greenback ticket, but he loses, having received only 4 percent of the vote.
Throughout the 1880s, the Meighens buy property sold cheaply by people leaving for more prosperous railroad towns. The family now owns the entire town of Forestville.
Thomas Meighen marries Mary Broderick of Preston, Minnesota. A park called “The Elms” is established in Forestville and made available to local groups and families. At this time, Thomas Meighen owns 1,600 acres of land.
Thomas Meighen is involved full-time in politics within the People's Party, and he is also president of the First National Bank in Preston. The rural free delivery system is established by the U.S. Post Office Department, resulting in the closing of Forestville's post office.
Thomas Meighen, his wife Mary Broderick, and their two sons and one daughter move to a new house in Preston. Mary’s sister Katie and her husband, Mike Gartner, live in the home in Forestville and oversee the store and farm.
The general store closes for good. Forestville ceases to exist as a town, but continues as an operating farm. The home is occupied by various families.
Thomas Meighen dies.
Thomas Meighen’s children attempt to sell the land they inherited from their father to the state of Minnesota to establish a park, as that had been their father’s wish. This took many years, as there was no funding during the Depression.
Forestville Townsite and the surrounding area are established as the Forestville State Park, administered by the Minnesota DNR.
Forestville Townsite and Meighen General Store are added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Minnesota Historical Society acquires the town’s five remaining original buildings (the store, the Meighen residence, a granary, a carriage barn, and an animal barn) and 18 surrounding acres and opens a historic site.
Mystery Cave is added to Forestville State Park.
A visitor center, reconstructed from a barn, is opened in Historic Forestville.
The Historic Forestville site is closed due to flooding across Fillmore County but reopens later that year.