Austin is a city in, and the county seat of, Mower County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 24,718 at the 2010 census. The town was originally settled along the Cedar River and has two artificial lakes, East Side Lake and Mill Pond. It was named for Austin R. Nichols, the area's first European settler.
Hormel Foods Corporation is Austin's largest employer, and the town is sometimes called "SPAM Town USA". Austin is home to Hormel's corporate headquarters, a factory that makes most of North America's SPAM tinned meat, and the Spam Museum. Austin is also home to the Hormel Institute, a leading cancer research institution operated by the University of Minnesota with significant support from the Mayo Clinic.
In 2015 Austin was named one of the "Top 10 Affordable Small Towns Where You'd Actually Want to Live" and one of the "Best Small Cities in America".
Fertile land, trapping, and ease of access brought first trappers and then the early pioneers to this region. The rich gameland attracted Austin Nichols, a trapper who built the first log cabin in 1853. At that time there were "about twenty families in the area." More settlers began to arrive by wagon train in 1855, and by 1856 enough people were present to organize Mower County. In 1856 the settlement adopted the name Austin, in honor of its first settler. That year the first hotel opened to travelers and the first physician, Dr.