I always wondered why the road from the Junction was called 171 – now I know…it was the short offshoot from what was once called Highway 71 or the Jefferson Highway. The highway was part of what was called auto trails, built between the 1910's and 1920's.
...Southern line of Freeborn County on State Road # 7, and thence via north/northwesterly through cities and villages as noted below and terminating at Northern line of Kittson at St. Vincent, and known as Jefferson Highway. Cities and villages on Jefferson Highway include Albert Lea, Owatonna, Faribault, Northfield, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Anoka, Elk River, St. Cloud, Little Falls, Staples, Wadena, Park Rapids, Bemidji, Bagley, Red Lake Falls, Thief River Falls, Fulda, Bronson, Hallock and St. Vincent.
Of course, it went a lot further (a lot further), but it ended up north (in the U.S.) with little old Minnesota State (Trunk) Highway 171...The little road got a long-needed makeover a year or so ago with a brand new bridge that included extensive grading and ditch work that will greatly help with overland flooding common to the area.