E-mail correspondence from Ceylon, MN 56121
From Kavan Ratnatunga in Pittsburgh Mon Nov 10 22:33:29 1997
Subject: Greetings to Ceylon
I found it interesting to find a city in US with the name of
my home country "Ceylon" now Sri Lanka (http://lakdiva.org).
Next time I visit Minnesota, I will make sure to visit Ceylon MN.
I would love to get some travel brochures on Ceylon MN.
Please let me know who I should write to.
Thanks, and best regards
From Jerry Rosenberg "Ceylon MN" Mon Nov 10 23:07:26 1997
To: Kavan Ratnatunga
Subject: Re Greetings Ceylon
Ceylon has been my address for all my fifty some years, except for a
couple when I was in the US military.
When I was a boy, it was a very busy town, with the poplulation of
something just over 500 souls. As I write this, about the only thing
still active in town is the bank, a grocery story, grain terminal,
post office, plus a couple other small businesses. The High School,
just this summer has been torn down, because of the lack of students.
Sad to loose - many fond memories there!
The railroad came through this part of Minnesota in 1899, and that is
when the town was born. At that time, legend has it, there was a
gathering in a local general store, were they were trying to pick out
a name for their new settlement. Someone saw a box of Tea that was
from "Ceylon", and suggested that as a name. Apparantly the name was
The only other town I have ever came across with that name, was in
Canada! We were flying back from British Colombia, and I noticed the
town on the map - "Ceylon Station".. I think it was in Alberta,
If you are interested in some of the early scenes from our town, we
have a local historian that I am sure would be happy to make some
copies and return them to you.. This old gal is on the internet, but
I don't have her address, and it doesn't seem to be listed on the
From Kavan Ratnatunga Tue Nov 11 08:46:00 1997
To: Jerry Rosenberg
Subject: Re: Greetings Ceylon
Thank-you for your quick reply. I am sorry the hear of the decline
of the city of Ceylon. I guess it would have been different if Walter
Mondale who I understand was born in Ceylon MN, won the presidency ...
That was an interesting story about the box of Tea. I hope you can
still buy Ceylon Tea in that store or else I should probably send you
From Gerald Rosenberg Tue Nov 11 23:31:05 1997
To: Kavan Ratnatunga
Nice hearing from you again. Spent a bit of time checking out the web
site you had enclosed. Bookmarked if for further study.
About "Ceylon Tea" - I don't recall having seen it for some time. I
wonder if they still carry it around these parts. Will check that out
when I get back to one of the larger grocery stories in Farimont.
As for the decline of Ceylon - as I mentioned the railroad came
through in 1899, and then the settlement was born. I returned from
serving in the US ARMY in about 1960, and my "hold baggage" was
returned to me still by rail, and delivered her in town. But that was
about the end of the service, and the tracks were torn up shortly
thereafter. At one time a local resident wanted to start a
manufacturing plant in town, but the bank president at that time
turned him down. He then went into Iowa, some twenty miles southeast,
and was able to get his dream going. The town now is doing just
great, as this dream turned out making him very rich, and created many
jobs. "Armstrong, Iowa": Of course with farms becoming larger, and
familys becoming smaller, the school finally closed a couple years
ago. So that in a nutshell pretty well sums up the situation of
Ceylon, Minnesota. We still have nearly five hundred people living
there, but mostly is a bedroom community
Yours truly is a family farmer, rather conservative, but being ones
own boss, living very close to ones work, I find very rewarding.
Hope I have answered all your questions, I am not sure of your
address, but in any case, winter is starting to get a hold in these