Scenic Byway: Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway: Minnesota River Valley

Discovery Sites
Site 1: Continental Divide
Minnesota/South Dakota border approximately 2 miles west of Browns Valley on TH 28/7.

A wayside rest offers information about this high point between two watersheds.

You can view the historic marker.

Ask a geologist to look over Minnesota's landscape, and you will hear the story of a great sheet of ice which moved and shifted across the land, pushing and scraping the earth, leaving behind ridges and plains. As these glaciers melted, the water filled into low areas forming some of the 12,000 Minnesota lakes. Rivers flowed around the ridges, draining into three great river systems that move Minnesota-born water to three distant seas. Those glacial ridges form Minnesota's Continental Divide.

Minnesota's waters flow in three directions.

The water flow is dependent upon which watershed the water is in. Depending on the lie of the continental divides, Minnesota waters flow either to Hudson Bay, the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.

Browns Valley, although only about 984 feet above sea level and situated in a deep valley, is nevertheless on the Continental Divide. Lake Traverse drains north into the Red River and on into Hudson Bay while Lake Big Stone flows south by way of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers and on to the Gulf of Mexico. Theoretically a raindrop could split on Browns Valley's main street and half of it flow north and half south. There have been times during floods when the two lakes have temporarily joined.
Open year round &
Site 2: Samuel Jerome Brown Memorial Park
West Broadway Avenue in Browns Valley.
Browns Valley was established in 1866, a little while after the government confiscated it from the Sioux Indian Reservation. Major Joseph R. Brown built a trading post that year. The post office was known as Lake Traverse but was later changed to Browns Valley in honor of Major Brown after his death in 1870. In 1881 the railroad came to town. Browns Valley was the county seat until 1886, when it moved to Wheaton, Minnesota. Browns Valley was Platted in 1878.

On April 19, 1866 Sam Brown, the son of Joseph R. Brown and at that time, the chief Army Scout stationed at Fort Wadsworth, started on horseback to warn the settlers there of what was thought to be an impending Indian attack. He rode the fifty-five miles in five hours only to find the report to be false. He was caught in a blizzard and lost his way, drifting many miles to the south and into the Waubay area. He is called the "Paul Revere of the Frontier" due to his famous ride.

Site 3: Wadsworth Trail
One-half mile west of Browns Valley on TH 28/7.
An original pioneer trail blazed in 1864 extending from St. Cloud to Ft. Sisseton (Ft. Wadsworth) South Dakota.

Site 4: Browns Valley Man
Located one-half mile east of Browns Valley on TH 28/7.
On October 9, 1933 W. H. Jenson of Brown's Valley, Minnesota was laying new gravel in his driveway when he discovered bone fragments and a flaked blade in the gravel. This prompted Jenson to go to the gravel pit and search for more. Not being a trained archaeologist Jenson did not chart his work; he instead had a friend film him sifting through the gravel. His hours of work produced more flaked blades and bone fragments, which made up the adult male called Brown's Valley Man. The blades were of particular value because they gave insight to the time period and cultural background of the Brown's Valley Man. This skeleton was estimated to be 9,000 years old, making the skeleton one of the oldest found in the New World.

Brown's Valley is associated with the Paleo-Indian culture. Brown's Valley was a Paleo-Indian burial site, the only one in Minnesota. &
Site 5: Big Stone Lake - Headwaters of the Minnesota River
This portion of the Minnesota River is on the border between Minnesota and South Dakota in Big Stone County along TH 7.

Big Stone Lake is a long, narrow freshwater lake and reservoir forming the border between western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota. The lake covers 12,610 acres (51 km²) of surface area, stretching 26 miles (42 km) from end to end and averaging around 1 mile (2 km) wide. Clear waters, sandy beaches and secluded bays are ideal for excellent trophy walleye fishing, sunbathing, swimming and water skiing. It was formed at the end of the last ice age, filling the river valley of a river that drained the historical glacier lake, Lake Agassiz. Big Stone Lake is fed by the Little Minnesota River at its north end, and is the source of the Minnesota River, which flows 332 miles (534 km) to the Mississippi River. Flow from the lake to the Minnesota River is regulated by the Big Stone Lake Dam, located at the southern end of the lake.

Two state parks are located at the lake: Big Stone Lake State Park in Minnesota and Hartford Beach State Park in South Dakota. The two parks provide picnic, boat launching, trail, and camping facilities. An educational center at the lake is part of the Minnesota state park. Several vacation resorts are located along the shores of Big Stone Lake as well.

The communities of Ortonville, Minnesota and Big Stone City, South Dakota are located at the southern tip of the lake; Browns Valley, Minnesota is located at the northern tip.

Big Stone Area Chamber, 800-568-5722
Site 6: Big Stone Lake State Park
North of Ortonville on TH 7.
Big Stone Lake State Park is part of the Minnesota River Country Landscape Region, a large area which extends almost 200 miles from Ortonville to Mankato. At one time, the landscape consisted of tall and mid-grass prairie, interspersed with marshes, lakes and streams. Today, extensive farming has replaced the prairie. Cottonwoods, ash, and silver maples can be found on the lake's shoreline. The Bonanza Scientific and Natural Area located within the park protects more than 80 acres of native oak savanna and glacial till prairie habitat. Bonanza also includes 50 acres of oak basswood forest and spring-fed ephemeral streams.

The lake is the source of the Minnesota River and attracts anglers who catch walleye, northerns and bluegills.

In 1923, State Auditor Ray Chase critiqued the state park system and thought there was a geographic imbalance in the system. In his proposal for additional parks, Chase urged that more state parks be established in southern Minnesota. The Ortonville area was targeted as a place with a need for a state park. It wasn't until 1961 that Big Stone Lake State Park was established at the urging of Ortonville business people who were concerned about lakeshore development. Working with U.W. (Judge) Hella, director of Parks and Recreation Division, legislation was drafted to establish Big Stone Lake as a state park.

Big Stone State Park offers semi-modern camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and nature watching among remnant prairies and mixed hardwoods at two main recreational areas: Bonanza area (15 miles north of Ortonville) offers primitive camping, hiking, picnicking and bird watching among its virgin prairies; the Meadowbrook area (8 miles north of Ortonville) has tent/trailer camping with electric hookups, a picnic/playground area, swimming beach, hiking path and fishing.

Site 7: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge
Approximately 1 mile southeast of Ortonville, off of TH 7/75.
The upper reaches of the Minnesota River in west central Minnesota are a refuge for wildlife and are fascinating to people interested in wildlife- oriented recreation. The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge consists of 10,795 acres of marsh and open water created by the three-mile dam across the Minnesota River Valley. More than 230 bird species have been observed in the area since 1971.

A wide variety of habitats exist on the refuge from the wet world of the river and reservoir areas to the dry world of the granite rock outcrops.

The dam in the Minnesota River created an additional 4,250 acres of wetlands which provide resting places for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, and homes for summer residents such as common egrets, great blue herons, cormorants, and many species of ducks.

Low-lying woodlands support migrating warblers and other song birds, as well as resident populations of deer and other mammals. Woodlands along the Minnesota and Yellowbank Rivers containing American elm, ash, box elder, and silver maple provide old tree trunks with hollow cavities which are good nesting sites for wood ducks and hooded mergansers. About 850 acres of refuge lands consist of low woodlands.

The refuge still contains about 1,700 acres of native or unplowed prairie. This is typical tall grass prairie country, with wide expanses of grassland and only occasional oak trees.

A portion of the refuge lands are used to grow crops for winter wildlife use or to prepare ground for the seeding of native prairie grasses and wildflowers.

One of the most interesting habitats on the refuge is the 100 acres of granite outcrops. These bare rock areas support unusual species of cactus and other plants. The high outcrops provide some excellent views of the entire refuge and its wildlife residents.

The refuge offers a six-mile self-guided auto tour along which you will experience Western prairie, mixed hardwoods, and wetlands with over 230 different species of birds living there.

A foot trail provides a close-up view of prairie plants, river meanders and wildlife. The 100 acres of granite rock outcrops support unusual species of cactus and other plants and provide an excellent view of the refuge. Pick up the tour leaflet at the first tour stop.

Other things to do are bicycling, canoeing and boating, fishing, hunting, and cross country skiing or snow shoeing.

Site 8: Ortonville Free Library
412 NW 2nd St., Ortonville.
Built in 1915 with Andrew Carnegie funds, it houses a modern library. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Ortonville Public Library is part of the Pioneerland Library System.

Site 9: Ortonville Commercial Historic District
Second St., Madison and Monroe Aves., between Jefferson and Jackson Aves., Ortonville
Vicinity of 2nd Street, Madison and Monroe Avenues, Ortonville. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Ortonville (1879-1922)

The county courthouse is located in the district. It was constructed in 1902 of brick and native granite. In the 1970s and 1980s, the building was renovated. The lawn boasts a granite carved county war memorial erected in 1920 and the courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The library on the street was built in 1915 with Andrew Carnegie funds, it houses a modern library and is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places (see Ortonville Free Library)

The Columbian Hotel in Ortonville, overlooking Big Stone Lake, represents hundreds of significant commercial buildings in small, agriculturally based communities in western Minnesota. These communities are often losing population due to changes in the agricultural economy and are struggling to find markets to maintain viable historic downtown business districts. These communities should be encouraged to find the resources to adapt these landmark buildings to viable uses and preserve them for future generations.

Visit The Columbian Hotel, Ortonville Free Library, or the County Courthouse

Site 10: Big Stone County War Memorial
Big Stone County Courthouse lawn, 20 SE 2nd St.
This memorial was erected in 1920 and is a square granite monument topped with carved eagles and a globe.

Site 11: Big Stone County Courthouse
20 SE 2nd Street, Ortonville.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

When Big Stone County was established in 1862, it was attached to Renville County for judicial purposes. From 1866-1873, Stevens County handled Big Stone's legal matters. In 1873, the governor appointed county commissioners, and county officers were elected in 1874 and 1876 though there were only 85 families living in the area. The process was later declared illegal and it was not until 1881 that official organization occurred.

The building that served as courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1885. A store building was then used until a new building was built the following spring. Insurance money paid for part of the $4,298 construction cost. However, the three-story frame building was labeled inadequate from the start.

The current Big Stone County Courthouse was built in 1902, one year after the county issued construction bonds. The building's light tan brick is accented with Ortonville granite in a transitional style between Romanesque, in the central arched doorway, and Classical formalism, shown in the arrangement of the windows. The central pavilion, wide gable, and keystoned lintels of the windows carry out the theme.

Fremont D. Orff of Minneapolis designed the building, which was built by D.H. Olsen at a cost of $29,999.


Site 12: Big Stone County Museum
Located at the junction of TH 12 & 75.
The museum was built on the site of the familiar Paul Bunyan anchor. The Big Stone County Museum features the North American Waterfowl Collection and a turn of the century excursion boat, plus interpretation about the granite mining industry, Big Stone Lake, and pioneer life.

The museum is the home of many historical treasures of the past, including a granite anchor, a symbol of glacial River Warren, which is now Big Stone Lake, and the headwaters of the Minnesota River. The Muskegon - Golden Bantam boat, which once traveled the waters of Big Stone Lake, is also on display at the museum.

Come see the Charles Hanson North American Wildlife Collection, now displayed inside the former Artichoke Lake General Store which has been relocated to the museum grounds. Developed by local farmer explorer Charles Hanson, this collection contains over 500 waterfowl from across the Americas and the world. You'll see native waterfowl as well as upland birds and other exotic specimens from places as far away as the Arctic Sea.
Site 13: Arv Hus Museum
Main Street in Milan.
This museum contains exhibits from privately-owned sources and items donated to the Milan Arv Hus organization.

In the museum is the wonderful gift shop called Billy Maple Tree's. Locally produced items include rosemaling, hardanger, Norwegian knives, tina boxes, water colors, acrylics, photography, rustic timber frames, jewelry, pottery, willow furniture and home accents, rustic timber furniture and home accents, woven rugs, quilts, collage boxes, hand-knit items, books by local authors, cookbooks, bath and body products, handcrafted pens, shibori dyed items, and woodcarvings.

The Arv Hus Museum contains unique exhibits from privately-owned sources and items donated to the Milan Arv Hus organization. Owner and curator Billy Thompson has his sawdust artwork on display, as well as some beautiful hand-crafted wood frames showcasing the beautiful wood available locally. This museum contains a unique collection of vintage photos and other pioneer items from the culturally rich Milan area.

Spend an afternoon at the Arv Hus Museum. Historian and curator Billy Thompson has stories to tell that will keep you laughing all day!

Hours of the Museum are by appointment, chance or when the gift shop Billy Maple Tree's is open. If museum is closed, ask around town for Billy Thompson - he is usually not too far away. Group tours available, free admission.
Billy Thompson320-734-4829

Site 14: Norwegian Stabbur
From Milan go 3 miles east on TH 40, then turn south (right) for 1 mile and east again for 1/2 mile.
The Stabbur, a Norwegian pantry, is a freestanding building on the Don and Alta Peterson farm in rural Milan. A Stabbur is a granary built of wood (Scandinavia and Iberia) or stone (Iberia) and raised from the ground by pillars ending in flat stones or "mueles" to avoid the access of rodents. Ventilation is allowed by the grooves in its walls.

The stabbur was intended as a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Norway as a way of saying "thanks" for care packages sent to Norway after World War II. Halvard Pettersen of Vmstra, Norway, a restaurant owner and taxi cab driver, built the stabbur with his son in Norway. In a letter explaining his gift Pettersen writes, "Packages from America had to be picked up at the post office and then the children from the whole neighborhood would come to get a glimpse. It was quite an event at that time. Norway then had rationing of everything."

In 1987, the stabbur was shipped here in pieces. Shipping costs totaled $1,800 and it took 10 days to reassemble the building on the Peterson farm. The stabbur was used as an outdoor pantry where smoked hams were hung in the early days of Norway. The stabbur is an excellent granary since it is raised off the ground and is rodent proof. Today it is more decorative and is considered an antique. A photo essay of the construction of the stabbur can be found at the Arv Hus Museum in Milan as recorded by Billy Thompson.

This traditional Norwegian Stabbur is located on the family farm of Don and Alta Peterson.
Site 15: Plover Prairie Nature Conservancy Preserve
From Bellingham, take State Highway 75 about three miles north to County Road 38. Turn east, and drive for two miles. Turn north, and drive for one mile. At this intersection, the preserve is located on the northwest and northeast corners, and is marked by a large wood sign.

To visit the west unit, turn west and go two miles to State Highway 75. Turn north for one-half mile. The main sign and entrance are located on the east side of the highway.

Plover Prairie is truly unique in the plethora of plant and animal species that call this wet prairie home. Located in the heart of the Minnesota River Valley, Plover Prairie joins thousands of acres of state and federally owned lands to create a large block of habitat for plants and animals. The site's newest resident, the greater prairie chicken, is being restored through cooperative efforts with private and public agencies, and is now becoming more common to observe.

The preserve is adjacent to Lac qui Parle and Pyramid wildlife management areas, which are managed by the state, and two miles southeast of Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

Plover Prairie is a complex of wet lowland prairie feathering into mesic and dry prairie on higher ground. Among the scattered boulders and granite outcrops - the area's signature land feature - can be found large populations of small white lady's slippers, prickly pear cactus, Carolina foxtail, slender milk vetch, lotus milk vetch, water hyssop, mudwort, mousetail and soft goldenrod.

Along with the introduction of the prairie chicken comes the ability to observe the prairies' long-time residents such as Loggerhead shrike, Wilson's phalarope, short-eared owl, a number of nesting waterfowl, and the upland sandpiper and marbled godwit, both listed as species of special concern by the state. One of the butterflies residing at the preserve is the state-threatened Dakota skipper. A large number of mammals live on the preserve, including northern grasshopper mouse, plains pocket mouse, prairie vole, western harvest mouse, coyote and badger.
Site 16: Lac qui Parle County Historic Center
250 8th Ave S Madison, MN, the corner of Hwy 75 and 40 in Madison
The museum is a one-story log building built in 1972, with an 18 by 36 foot addition, a 30 by 46 foot auditorium addition and a 36 by 48 foot display addition with no steps and wide aisles, filled with exhibits. These exhibits include thousands of things relating to pioneer lifestyles including a pioneer kitchen, living rooms and bedroom, a pioneer store and church, pioneer tools, pioneer clothing and toys, the Ethel Melum Doll Collection ( numbering about 300 dolls and three rooms of Ethel Melum's Victorian furniture, a new collection of Civil War artifacts (the largest in the area), a military display, Indian artifacts, a large game animal display, a county flora and fauna exhibit, Township Row, a photo gallery, a research library and an extensive obituary file.

The agriculture building is a steel covered building on one level, filled with agricultural tools and machinery, blacksmith shop tools and transportation items such as a surrey, sleigh, mail wagon, an old ambulance, stagecoach, covered wagon and street water wagon. Steel farm equipment and road building machines are displayed outdoors.

The four outbuildings that are not wheelchair accessible are: a fully furnished old country school from the 1880's; a log cabin from the 1870's furnished with pioneer items; the Robert Bly Study, an old country school completely restored, that world-famous poet-author-native son Robert Bly used as his work study when he lived on his farm located 2 to 3 miles southwest of Madison in the 1950's and 1960's; and a small gas station that is currently being restored.

May through October, Monday-Friday, 9am-4:30pm Sunday 1:30-5pm.

Site 17: Marsh Lake
Two miles south of Appleton on TH 119, turn right on the first gravel road marked by Marsh Lake Dam sign.

Marsh Lake is on the Minnesota River between Swift and Lac qui Parle Counties near Appleton, Minnesota. The Marsh Lake Dam is owned and maintained by the Corps of Engineers as part of the Lac qui Parle flood control project. The fixed-crest dam holds a conservation pool in the upper portion of the Lac qui Parle reservoir.

Marsh Lake lies within the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In the fall, as many as 150,000 Canada geese use the management area at one time. Marsh Lake is also home to Minnesota's largest breeding colony of American white pelicans and several species of fish. Creation of the reservoir and rerouting of the Pomme de Terre River in 1939 increased reservoir fish and wildlife habitat and created new colonial water bird habitat. It has crappie, walleye, northern pike and white bass.

Site 18: Chippewa Prairie Preserve
Located in Western Minnesota, Chippewa and Swift counties, between Milan and Appleton. From Milan, travel northwest on US Highway 59. Although several gravel roads take you to the preserve, the best route is the county line gravel road about three miles northwest of the Milan town limits. Take this road west two miles to the preserve. Park along the road. Please do not drive onto the preserve.

Chippewa Prairie lies along a reservoir of the Upper Minnesota River named Lac qui Parle (lake that speaks) by early French explorers. Chippewa Prairie represents a small remnant of the once vast northern tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Huge numbers of migratory waterfowl use Chippewa Prairie; it is a vital natural area link to Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge and Lac qui Parle (state) Wildlife Management Area.

Chippewa Prairie is a good example of mesic prairie, with its deep, black loam soil. The dominant plant species are big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indian grass. Other common plants include purple coneflower, Maximilians sunflower, and side-oats gramma. Rare plants on the preserve include slender milk-vetch and small white ladys slipper, both species of special concern.

Spring and fall are good times to observe migrating flocks of geese, ducks, sandpipers, godwits and other shorebirds. The bluffs above the marshes on the western edge of the preserve are recommended vantage points. In spring evenings, listen for the haunting call of the upland sandpiper. In mid-summer, visitors may see the short-earred owl, a species of special concern. A daytime hunter, this owl sails low over open country in search of small rodents. Other species of special concern include the marbled godwit and two butterflies, the Powesheik skipper and regal fritillary.
Site 19: Red River Trails
Six miles east of Dawson on TH 212, 5 1/2 miles north on County Road 31, then 1/2 mile east of the township road to Lac qui Parle Village, turning left on second street into the village to the bridge road.

In the early 1800s large-scale sheep raising pushed thousands of Scottish tenant farmers off the land. Forced to move by hunger, these peasant farmers relocated to Pembina, Canada, in the Red River Valley, where the Metis hunters, who were French and Indian, already lived.

In an effort to survive, these farmers began trapping and tried to market their furs. However, the Hudson Bay Company in Manitoba, Canada had a monopoly on fur trading. It was illegal to remove furs from Canada without an export license.

John Jacob Aster owned the American Fur Company in St. Paul and paid 2-4 times more for furs than the British. So, these peasant farmers built their own unique carts to transport furs and goods to St. Paul. The carts were made entirely out of wood for lightness and flotation and ease of repair. Rawhide held the carts together. The wheels were high so they wouldnt overturn. In fact, the wheels could be flipped over on the cart to use as a flotation device.

Routes ran along the river to provide the basics - water, wood and food. Regular cart service was established between Pembina and St. Paul by 1843. The Minnesota Valley Trail ran on each side of the Minnesota River. On the east side was the Fort Garry or Fort Abercrombie to Mendota Trail. On the west side, the Lac qui Parle to Red River Trail.

Remnants of the Lac qui Parle to Red River Valley Trail can be found on the virgin prairie hills in the Lac qui Parle Valley near Lac qui Parle Village.

The Lac qui Parle River Valley helps to define our sense of community. Local and former residents value a sense of home - a place for their roots.

Site 20: Lac qui Parle Village
Six miles east of Dawson on TH 212, 5 1/2 miles north on County Road 31, then 1/2 mile east on the township road to the village site.

This prairie town and its cemetery lie above the scenic Lac qui Parle River Valley. Between 1871 and 1884 the village was the county seat, the only commercial center in the county, and a rendezvous point for Scandinavian, German, Irish, English and eastern United States emigrants. A centennial marker stands near the village's first courthouse site. A cemetery ½ mile west of the village has early pioneers and a Civil War veteran buried in a beautiful prairie setting overlooking the river valley.

Site 21: Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area and Refuge
Located on the lower end of Lac qui Parle Lake between Watson and Milan.

Lac qui Parle is a French translation of the name given to the lake by the Dakota Indians who called it the lake that speaks. If you visit in the spring or fall you'll understand why. The lake is a stop over for thousands of migratory Canada geese and other waterfowl.

Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, or WMA, lies in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Swift Counties. It is about 25 miles long, 1 to 3 miles wide, and encompasses more than 31,000 acres or over 48 square miles of land and water. Made up of wetlands, brushlands, woodlands, native prairie, and other grasslands and cropland. Lac qui Parle Lake (6,400 acres) and Marsh Lake (5,100 acres) are the most prominent features.

Natural wetlands and man-made impoundments provide habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and aquatic furbearers. Most wetlands are near the lakes, but some upland areas contain marshes and smaller impoundments.

Intensive management is required for sustained wildlife production. More than 2,000 acres of corn food plots are planted each year by local farmers and WMA personnel to provide feed for geese, deer and other wildlife. Native prairie nesting cover is maintained by controlled burning. Tree plantings are established for winter and escape cover. Water levels of impoundments are manipulated to maintain aquatic plant growth and enhance wildlife habitat.

Public hunting is the primary recreational use of the WMA, although thousands of bird watchers and nature observers visit the area each year.
Geese are the most commonly hunted species, followed by duck, deer, and pheasants. Fox, raccoons, squirrels and rabbits are other species hunted on Lac qui Parle WMA.

Birdwatchers enjoy many song birds and waterfowl that use the WMA for nesting and as a migratory stopover. A bald eagle nest is located on an island in the Sanctuary. Anyone who likes to see abundant wildlife will enjoy a hike through the WMA. Within easy distance of woodlands, wetlands and prairie a variety of wildlife and plant species exist. Lac qui Parle's mix of hardwood, prairie and food plots have created a healthy deer herd. The sight of a whitetail or ducks at dawn are common almost any time of the year.

Trappers harvest from good populations of muskrat, mink, fox, raccoon and beaver. Permits are required to trap on the WMA.

Lac qui Parle and occasionally Marsh Lake have excellent crappie, walleye, northern pike and white bass fishing. &
Site 22: Lac qui Parle Lake ("lake that speaks")
Near Ortonville
Lac qui Parle is a French translation of the name given to the lake by the Dakota Indians who called it the lake that speaks. If you visit in the spring or fall you'll understand why. The lake is a stop over for thousands of migratory Canada geese and other waterfowl. You'll hear a chorus of honking, quacking, and other vocalizations. Paddle the lake, or cast a line and catch walleye, northerns, perch, or crappie. Explore one of the trails by foot or horseback. Visit the historic Fort Renville and Lac qui Parle Mission sites. While in the area, be sure to visit the 27,000 acre Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area.

If you are looking for a quiet place away from the city, this is the perfect place. Lac qui Parle is located on the Upper Minnesota River in western Minnesota near the South Dakota border. The nearest city, Minneapolis, is 120 miles away.

For all fishers, Lac qui Parle is known as the best walleye fishing place in Western Minnesota because the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources annually stocks the lake with walleye. There is also catfish, bluegill, small mouth bass and northern pike.

Boating, picnic areas, rest rooms, hiking trails and playgrounds are available. There are a total of 19 boat accesses (including canoe portages). It is also a great place to view wildlife. The Prairie Pot Hole Region is made of many small wetlands which can feed and shelter wildlife all year long. A flock of white pelican, rare to this part of the country, uses it as breeding grounds.

Hunting is also allowed. There are Canadian geese, mallard ducks, ring-necked pheasants, Hungarian partridge and the white-tailed deer in which you are able to hunt. Be sure to check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for restrictions and regulations regarding public hunting.

Site 23: Lac qui Parle State Park
Lac qui Parle CSAH 33. About 140 miles west of the Twin Cities in the Minnesota River Valley, northwest of Montevideo between the towns of Watson and Milan

Shortly after 1826, an independent fur trader named Joseph Renville built a stockade overlooking the foot of Lac qui Parle. Within the stockade, Dr. Thomas Smith Williamson and Alexander Huggins founded the Lac qui Parle Sioux Mission in July, 1835. The missionaries translated the Gospel and several hymns into the Dakota language. They also completed the first dictionary of the language. At the mission, Minnesota's first cloth was also made. Lac qui Parle was designated as a state park in 1941.

The best way to learn more about Lac qui Parle State Park is to stop in at the park office for a map and information about what to see in the park. Although the park does not have a naturalist on staff, activities are offered occasionally throughout the summer.

The management of wildlife -- white-tailed deer, geese and other animals -- is a major success story. In the fall of 1958, only 150 geese were counted at Lac qui Parle. Since then, management practices have brought as many as 120,000 geese at one time. The geese arrive in early March from their primary wintering post at Swan Lake, Missouri. Spring migrations continue through April. In late September, geese arrive and continue until the last birds leave in early December. Flights of whistling swans pass over Lac qui Parle in April and November. Pelicans nest in the area on an one-acre island.

Lac qui Parle State Park contains river floodplain and prairie hillsides. Lac qui Parle Lake is approximately fourteen feet deep, perfect for diverse wildlife habitat. Spring and fall migrations can be spectacular at the park.

Byway featured attractions:
This 530 acre park consists of 56 campsites, 33 picnic sites, swimming beach, drive-in boat launch, 6 miles of hiking and horseback trails, horseback campgrounds, 5 miles of cross country ski trails and several canoe access points. In fall, thousands of geese descend on the lake in the nearby Lac qui Parle Wildlife Refuge. Bald eagles perch in nearby trees, deer are commonly seen, and fishing is popular year-round.

Daily or annual permits are required for all vehicles entering a state park. They may be purchased at the park headquarters.
Site 24: Fort Renville
From Watson, 1 mile northwest on TH 7, turn left on County Road 13, go 2.2 miles, turn right on CR 32 and go one mile - on left side of road.

Located in Lac qui Parle State Park on Lac qui Parle County CSAH, near Watson, 1 mile off the byway and 70 miles from Browns Valley. Fort Renville is marked with an interpretive sign for visitors.

As early as 1811 fur traders traveled and lived in the area, establishing posts to trade furs produced in the region. One of the most famous was Joseph Renville, the son of a French trader and a Dakota woman. The city and county of Renville were named for him, a man who had extensive knowledge of the wilderness and served as a guide for many expeditions.

In 1822, he established Fort Renville as a trading post at Lac qui Parle (Dakota for "lake that speaks") and served as a captain during the War of 1812. He was a courier, interpreter, and founder of the Columbia Fur Company. He earned respect that cut across the racial and ethnic boundaries of that era. Renville invited missionaries to establish the Lac qui Parle Mission near his post in 1835, and a trail with interpretive signs connects the two sites.

It was one of the most influential centers of white presence in Southwestern Minnesota, and the only outpost between St. Peter and the British Posts of the Red River. The fort prospered until Renville's death in 1846.

The Chippewa County Historical Society administers this Minnesota Historical Society site.

Site 25: Lac qui Parle Mission Site
The Lac qui Parle Mission historic site is northwest of Montevideo, Minn. From Montevideo, go north on U.S. Highway 59 for 6 miles, then go west on Chippewa County Highway 13 for 2.2 miles and turn right at the corner; the mission is on the right.

Missionaries came to Lac Qui Parle many years before white people arrived. A Wahpeton Dakota band established a village along a wide portion of the Minnesota River, today called Lac qui Parle. They hunted the prairies and valleys, and cultivated corn, beans, and squash.

Joseph Renville, an explorer and fur trader whose mother was Dakota and father was French, established a trading post nearby in 1826. The Renville family home became well known for its hospitality, and it was Renville who invited the missionaries to Lac qui Parle.

For many Dakota, the mission was their first intensive contact with Euro-American culture. As was common, the missionaries sought to impart not only Christianity, but also their culture and agriculture. Relationships were often difficult, full of misunderstandings and the inability to see the other's point of view. After the highly respected Renville died in 1846, Indian opposition to the mission grew. The missionaries left Lac qui Parle in 1854, but continued to work with the Dakota. Some 40 Indian Congregational and Presbyterian congregations in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota today trace their roots to the Lac qui Parle Mission.

Translating the bible: The missionaries had begun developing a Dakota alphabet before they arrived at Lac qui Parle. Because Renville was fluent in French and Dakota, together they began translating the Bible at Lac qui Parle. One missionary would read aloud in French, Renville would translate orally into Dakota, and other missionaries would write what they heard. Dr. Thomas Smith Williamson, who led the mission team, finished the project in 1879. Renville also translated a dozen hymns into Dakota and even wrote one himself. A strong and noble hymn, it is undoubtedly the most widely known product of Lac qui Parle. "Dakota Hymn" is well known in English by its first line, "Many and Great, O God, Are Thy Things." The traditional Dakota music in hymnals is named "Lac qui Parle".

Overlooking the beautiful "Lake That Speaks" is the site of the Lac qui Parle Mission, begun in 1835. The wooden chapel, a Work Projects Administration building, stands on the site of the original adobe structure. A walking path and interpretive signs lead visitors through the tiny area where a small group of Protestant missionary families lived. The spring where they drew their water still runs clear and cold.

The chapel is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from the last Sunday in April through Labor Day. Visitors may tour the site at any time year-round.
Site 26: Camp Release State Monument
Located 1 1/2 miles west of Montevideo on TH 212 in Lac qui Parle County.

The Camp Release Monument is located on the edge of Montevideo, Minnesota, just off Highway 212. The Camp Release Monument stands as a reminder of Minnesota's early state history. The Minnesota River Valley and Montevideo played an integral part in the Dakota War of 1862. In the fall of 1862, the Dakota tribes surrendered to Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley on a bluff overlooking the valley and the present day site of Montevideo. The monument was the first property added to the state park system and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The Camp Release Monument was dedicated on July 4, 1894, commemorating the release of 269 captives and the surrender of about 1200 Dakota people at the end of the conflict. The four faces of the 51-foot granite monument are inscribed with information about the battles that took place along the Minnesota River during the conflict, the Dakota's surrender, and the creation of the monument.
Site 27: Canoeing the Minnesota River
Minnesota River
A gentle river seldom interrupted by rapids, the Minnesota River is one of the few canoe rivers in southwestern Minnesota and offers some of the most impressive landscapes in this part of the state. Call the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-285-2000 or 612-296-2316 in the metro area for a map of the river showing portages, campsites, rest areas, rapids and more. A canoe trail is open along the river mid-April to September 30 in Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. The best canoeing is during high water time in the spring.

Traveling from Ortonville to Granite Falls, the canoeist will see a diversity of terrain, from steep granite bluffs to marshy lowlands. The Minnesota River, rich in natural beauty, flows through a wide valley carved out by the ancient River Warren. There are some Class I rapids and dams which need to be portaged or locked through.

The Minnesota from Granite Falls and State Highway 4 is a gentle river seldom interrupted by rapids and offers some of the most impressive landscapes in this part of the state. This stretch is rich in Minnesota history.

The Minnesota River from State Highway 4 to LeSueur is a gentle river, seldom interrupted by rapids and flows through the fertile farmland of the southwestern part of the state. The Minnesota River today is far removed from the powerful glacial River Warren that carved out its wide valley.

The Minnesota River was once a vital highway for Indians, explorers, traders and settlers, and is now a placid route for canoeists. This segment of the river gently curves up to Fort Snelling and does not have any rapids or dams to portage and therefore no special paddling skills are needed.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 800-285-2000 or 612-296-2316
Site 28:Milwaukee Railroad Heritage Center Depot (Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Depot)
South 1st St. at Park Ave., Montevideo.
This building is currently undergoing restoration by the Milwaukee Road Heritage Center and the Chippewa County Historical Society. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 29:Historic Chippewa City
Located at 151 Pioneer Drive, Jct of TH 59 & 7, Montevideo.
Chippewa City was "laid out" in 1868 by Daniel G. Wilkins on the west bank of the Chippewa River, a mile upstream from its confluence with the Minnesota River. Chippewa City was the first community in Chippewa County, serving as its first county seat. The Chippewa City post office was served by route from Ft. Ridgely.

In 1870, Montevideo was platted on the east bank of the Chippewa River. When a legislative order gave Montevideo the county seat in 1870, Chippewa City soon ceased to exist. Chippewa City's original location has since been incorporated into Montevideo's city limits and is now known as Smith Addition.

Historic Chippewa City was begun in 1965 with the preservation of a rural school house. Since that time, 23 buildings have been moved in from throughout the county or built on site to form this historic village.

Open Memorial Day - Labor Day., Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 1pm-5pm.

Site 30:Minnesota River Valley Trail
Montevideo to Wegdahl
This paved trail system begins with a well-developed system within the city of Montevideo and extends to the village of Wegdahl. The trail is planned to be extended into the city of Granite Falls. Call the Montevideo Chamber/CVB for a trail map


Site 31:Olof Swensson Farm Museum
From Montevideo go 6 miles east on Hwy. 7, turn right and go 5 miles south on County Road 6, turn left and go 1/4 mile on County Road 15.
Olof Swensson was born on May 19, 1843 in Ostmarken, in Kongvigers Parish, in Norway. He became deeply absorbed in Lutheran doctrine as a youth. He married Ingeborg Agnetta Pearson in 1869, and they immigrated to America three years later. They settled on a farm near Wegdahl in Chippewa County.

Swensson became known for his many talents - his building abilities which are portrayed throughout the farm. His religious beliefs. He conducted weekly religious services in the large room upstairs. His sermons, in Norwegian, have been preserved . his writing, which produced a book stating his convictions. His political activities. He proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and also ran unsuccessfully for Governor of the State of Minnesota

After Olof Swensson's death in 1923, the farmstead gradually fell into disrepair, although his son, John, and daughters, Emma and Christine, continued to occupy the premises. At John's death in 1967, the property was bequeathed to the Chippewa County Historical Society.

The large timber-framed 1890s barn rests on a one-story granite foundation cut from locally gathered boulders. The barn's elaborate system of wind-bracing and notching attest to Swensson's skills as a designer and builder.

The wood frame house was begun in 1901 and faced with a brick veneer in 1903. It was a monumental task to build the 22-room house, which Swensson set on a foundation of huge local granite stones, cut and laid in pattern by him and his daughter, Katerine (Katie).

A small grist mill was constructed near the barn. It was powered by horses and later by steam engine. Plans for the mill concept, found in the Swensson collection, show that it was of English origin. The burrs, or millstones, were made of local granite.

Olof Swensson fashioned concrete monuments for the family cemetery located on the farm. Nine of the family members are buried there. The wooden forms for the tombstones are displayed in the third floor of the house.

The Moehring building is a 40-foot x 82 1/2 foot pole barn, built with funds donated to the Chippewa County Historical Society by Ernest Moehring. This structure provides storage and display area for farm equipment used in the early days.

Some of the artifacts on display inside include a walking plow, a walk-behind cultivator, and a handseeder from the 1800s. Also on display are a corn picker, two corn shellers, a two-seater buggy, a fanning mill, corn binder, and a foot-operated jigsaw.
The building houses a number of early tractors. Highlighted are a 1936 John Deere Model D, a 1935 Allis Chalmers Model WC, and a 1935 Oliver Hart Parr 28-44.

In recent years, Swensson Farm has been the site of the annual threshing show sponsored by the Minnesota Valley Antique Farm Power & Machinery Association.

Visit the museum Sunday afternoons Memorial Day to Labor Day 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.
Site 32:Yellow Medicine County Historical Museum
At the intersection of TH 23 & 67 in Granite Falls.
The museum features pioneer and American Indian artifacts including 8,000-year-old bison bones. Contains useful county history information. A "museum in progress" due to the floods of '97 and '01. Oldest known exposed rock in the world dating back some 3,800,000,000 years!

It has a pioneer home and general store on site. The log pioneer home and church are located behind the museum.

Open May through October, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-3pm; Saturday-Sunday noon-4pm.
320-564-4479 or 320-564-4039

Site 33:Andrew J. Volstead House
Located at 163 9th Ave., Granite Falls.
The name of "Volstead" will forever be associated with an experiment that failed. It was, however called the "Noble Experiment" — a characterization by Herbert Hoover — and it was grounded on a sincere desire to rid society of the ills of alcohol. It was designed to improve health, cut crime, and relieve taxpayers of a portion of the burden of subsidizing prisons. The problem was: it failed to take into account human nature and the truism that things are apt to go wrong when the government tinkers too much with personal choices.

What the 18th Amendment did was to ban "the manufacture, sale, or distribution of intoxicating liquors." It went into effect July 1, 1920. The Volstead Act — also known as the National Prohibition Act — was enacted in October, 1919 to provide for enforcement mechanisms. It gave federal authorities the power to prosecute violations. Also, it defined intoxicating beverages as those containing more than .5 percent alcohol.

While the "Volstead Act" is remembered, the name of the architect of that legislation is not. He was Andrew John Volstead, a member of the House of Representatives for 10 terms.

Volstead was a representative from Minnesota. He was born in that state on October 31, 1860, the son of Norwegian immigrants.

He attended the public schools, then studied at St. Olaf's College, in Northfield, Minn., before transferring to Decorah Institute, in Decorah, Iowa. Volstead graduated from that institution in 1881. After studying law on his own (while employed as a schoolteacher), he was admitted to the bar in 1883, commencing practice in Lac qui Parle County, Minn. In 1894, he was married to a schoolteacher born in Scotland; and a daughter was born to the couple the following year.

After briefly residing in Wisconsin, the Volsteads moved to Granite Falls, in Yellow Medicine County, Minn., in 1886. Andrew Volstead served as the county's prosecuting attorney from 1887-93 and from 1895-1903, and as mayor of Granite Falls from 1900-1902; he also squeezed in terms during that period as a member of the board of education (including a stint as president) and city attorney of Granite Falls.
He was elected to Congress as a Republican, and remained at his post from March 4, 1903 to March 3, 1923. For four years, Volstead was chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary. Among the unpopular stances he had the courage to take was arguing for enactment of federal legislation outlawing lynchings.

Before leaving Congress, he spearheaded passage of legislation less memorable than the Volstead Act, but of immense significance to his constituency, and to farmers nationally. The Capper-Volstead Act — which is still in effect — enabled farmers to form combines without fear of prosecution under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Volstead explained at the time: "Business men can combine by putting their money into corporations, but it is impractical for farmers to combine their farms into similar corporate forms. The object of this bill is to modify the laws under which business organizations are now formed, so that farmers may take advantage of the form of organization that is used by business concerns."

The loss of his congressional seat in 1922 was apparently more tied to low farm prices — resulting in rejection of numerous incumbents by voters that year — than to the Volstead Act.

Volstead resumed law practice in Minnesota, then was hired in 1924 as legal adviser to the chief of the National Prohibition Enforcement Bureau. He served in that capacity until 1933, then returned to Granite Falls, remaining active as a lawyer until the age of 83.

Visit the museum open year round by appointment.

Site 34: Minnesota's Machinery Museum
One and one-half blocks west of TH 23, Hanley Falls.
The good old days on the farm are depicted at Minnesota's Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls. You will see a re-creation of a farm kitchen where butter was churned and hungry threshing crews were fed; a parlor; bedroom and turn-of-the- century blacksmith shop; an excellent miniature and toy machinery collection; and several buildings housing pioneer farm machinery and tools.

Currently there are five buildings that house the collections. Most prominent is the two-story building built by the WPA in 1939. Agriculture's history unfolds in this six acre complex, home of one of the largest collections of farm machinery in Minnesota that is open to the public. See how this small Southwestern Minnesota community transformed the school into an agricultural learning center, devoting its 26,000 square feet into interpreting rural life-past, present and future. A delightful afternoon awaits as you explore the rooms of a farm home, general store, vintage automobiles, and railroad memorabilia along with farm toys, country art and a 'Made in Minnesota" gift shop. Three large buildings are filled with beautifully restored gas engines and tractors dating back to 1912. Facilities, picnic area, and parking are all handicapped accessible. A friendly smile and guided tour awaits you. You're invited to step into the past the first full weekend in August to be part of the Threshing Show and Oldtimer's Reunion.

The museum is open to the public May through September from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Sunday, and by appointment.
Laurie Johnson 507-768-3522

Site 35:Gneiss Outcrop Scientific and Natural Area
Located three miles SE of Granite Falls, 1.5 mi E, on MN Hwy 212 then S. on Co Rd 40 for 1 mi. Then .5 mile W. on gravel road. Park on shoulder.
The Gneiss outcrops, formed approximately 3.8 billion years ago, are among the oldest known rock on the earth's surface. This SNA's significance steadily increases as other outcrops along the Minnesota River are exploited for granite mining, housing, and recreational use. These pyramidal outcrops along the Glacial River Warren Valley rise to about 50 feet above the general level of the land, revealing parallel bands of gneisses. Granitic gneiss is light-colored, pink to red; the less common hornblende-pyroxene gneiss is darker, ranging from gray to black. Garnet-biotite gneiss appears in dark and light gray variations. In addition to these metamorphic rocks, the outcrops reveal igneous rock complexes, formed by heat and pressure below the earth's surface. A natural lake lies between the two major rock outcrops, providing a stunning contrast to the adjacent rock cliffs. The very rare Great Plains prickly pear and brittle cactus can be found on dry rock; the rare Carolina foxtail, rare little barley, and mousetail grow in shallow depressions among the outcrops.

Site 36:Blue Devil Valley Preserve
0.5 miles southwest of Granite Falls off of Hwy 23 on Co Hwy 39. Park in front of the SNA sign.
Blue Devil Valley contains a granite outcrop community within the Minnesota River Valley that supports one of the largest known populations of the rare five-lined skink. Normally occurring further east, this species of lizard occurs only in widely separated areas this far west. Open, sunny bedrock exposures with loose surface rock and little or no vegetation these features make up the preferred habitat of the five-lined skink. Summer visitors may see these little lizards basking on warm, sunny granite outcrops. Xeric prairie species, such as the brittle cactus, little bluestem, harebell, and pasque flowers, are common among the outcrops and scattered bur oak. Management at this site is focused on removal of eastern red cedar and other woody plant species that have encroached on the site in the absence of fire. Prescribed burns are also enhancing the prairie community through control of woody species. The Nature Conservancy gifted this site as an SNA to the State of Minnesota. Spring through fall is a good time to view the wildflowers.
Site 37:Wood Lake Battlefield/Monument
On County Road 18, ½ west of TH 67, between Granite Falls and Echo
On September 19, 1862, Col. Henry Hastings Sibley set out from Fort Ridgely with 1,500 volunteers to put down the Santee uprising. As they neared Wood Lake on September 23, Sibley's men escaped an ambush by 700 warriors under Chief Little Crow and engaged them in a battle. Sibley's force won the day inflicting heavy casualties on the Sioux. For this action, Sibley received a promotion to brigadier general. Wood Lake was the first decisive defeat of the Sioux since the uprising began.

Site 38:Upper Sioux Agency State Park
Eight miles SE of Granite Falls on TH 67.
This 1,280 acre park was named for the historic site within its boundaries. The Upper Sioux Agency (or Yellow Medicine Agency) was established by the federal government in 1854 to be a center for instructing the Dakota People in farming methods. The park offers three campgrounds, 18 miles of trails, two picnic areas, river fishing, and two rental tipis. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Site 39:City of Belview (Belview Depot Museum)
The establishment and survival of many early communities coincided with the designation of "siding sites" by the railroad.

The Minneapolis and Saint Louis Railroad (M&SL) originally had no intention to establish a siding site in what would become Belview, until local farmers requested that the railroad reconsider its plans.

It became a regular station with the addition of a post office in December 1887. The depot housed many businesses and was the hub of community commerce.

In 1892, the railroad built a new brown and beige one story frame depot using a common interior plan of waiting room, office, and freight room.

Life at the depot continued to be exciting. Freight cars were loaded with grain at the elevators, cattle at the stockyards, granite blocks from the quarries, and clam shells from the Minnesota River. Passenger trains, including sleepers and dining cars, running 250 miles between Minneapolis and Watertown, South Dakota, transported many visitors and new residents to the growing community.

In October 1960, the M&SL merged with Chicago Northwestern and on May 23, 1963, the Belview Depot was closed. It was restored and became a museum in 1976. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Site 40:Joseph R. Brown State Wayside (Site)
Located on Renville Co. 15, south of Sacred Heart
The Joseph R. Brown State Wayside Rest displays the granite ruins of Brown's home from 1862. Destroyed during the U.S./Dakota Conflict of 1862, the three story home was a mansion compared to normal pioneer homes. Brown's family was spared because of his wife's Native American heritage. Brown was a politician, inventor, publisher and Indian Agent.


Site 41:Rudi Memorial
Located on Renville Co. 12 south of Sacred Heart
The Rudi Memorial is a tribute to Lars Rudi and all pioneer families who settled in Renville County. The log cabin, built in 1868, illustrates the dovetail notching of logs typically used by Scandinavian settlers. The Rudi family lived in the cabin until 1913. It served as a place of community gathering, such as school and church for the pioneer families. The Rudi Cabin is listed on the National Registers of Historic Homes.

Site 42:Sacred Heart Area Museum
In Sacred Heart
This museum contains photographs and other memorabilia from the early pioneer days of the Sacred Heart and surrounding areas, up until today.

Site 43:Natural Preservation Route
A portion of the byway
Minnesota's first Natural Preservation Route was established to protect sensitive rock formations and resource areas along this section of the road.

Site 44:Schwandt Memorial
Located on Renville Co. 15, south of Renville
The Schwandt Memorial Monument was erected on August 18, 1915, near the spot where the Johan Schwandt family was murdered in the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862. It was erected in memory of the 6 Schwandt family members and 2 of their friendds that were killed on August 18, 1862. Two of the Schwandt children survived the attack. The daughter, Mary, was taken captive, but was protected by a Dakota woman, Snana. The son, August, managed to crawl away.

Site 45:Birch Coulee Battlefield State Historic Site
Two Miles North of Morton on US Hwy 71 then east on Renville County Road #2.
One of the hardest fought battles of the U.S.-Dakota War, the Battle of Birch Coulee, was fought here. Visitors can walk a self-guided trail through recreated prairie and read about the battle from the perspectives of Joseph Anderson, a captain in the U.S. Army, and Wamditanka (Big Eagle), a Mdewakanton soldier. Sketches from soldier Albert Colgrave provide vivid battle details. Guide posts help pinpoint where the U.S. soldiers were camped and the positions the Dakota took while surrounding the U.S. soldiers.

The Sioux held an uprising (also known as the Dakota Conflict) in 1862 against the United States Army. It began along the Minnesota River and hundreds were killed. It is said that between 300 and 800 settlers were killed, making it one of the largest death toll of civilians. One reason for the uprising of the Sioux tribe was that the Dakotas were not being paid the money promised to them for their land. They were cheated out of over three million dollars as well as not receiving the food promised them. Failing crops also helped add to the problems. The payment for land finally arrived two days after the conflict began, but it was too late.

Convicted of murder, thirty-eight men of the Dakota Sioux tribe were executed. The government also decided to close down the reservation and to cancel all previous treaties signed with the Sioux tribe.


Site 46:Redwood County Poor Farm Museum & Minnesota's Inventor Hall of Fame
West edge of Redwood on TH 19 & 67.
Redwood Historical Museum located on Highway 19 West, Redwood Falls, was constructed in 1908 as the county poor farm. The 30 rooms including a living room, dining room, kitchen, general store, military room, doctor's office, and 3 wildlife rooms. Interesting items such as toys tools, clothings, fine linens, photos, fans, indian artifacts, and much more are displayed. A one-room school building is also on the grounds

The Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame (MIHF) is a Minnesota non-profit corporation. Its volunteer Board of Directors include inventors, patent lawyers and members of the scientific community or the public.

The Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame was established in 1976 for the purpose of honoring inventors generally and bringing to the attention of the public the economic and social importance of their contributions to society. This is done by identifying those Minnesota inventors who have made significant contributions through their inventions.

In Minnesota, the overall impact of the inventor's work is a more important consideration than the impact of one patent.

The Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame inductees are honored in an exhibit at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls, MN. Each inductee is identified with a photograph and a bronze plaque summarizing their accomplishments. In addition, up to ten inductees are highlighted in the exhibit each year with more information about their accomplishments, photographs, patents, artifacts and examples of their work.

507-637-3329 &
Site 47:Birthplace of Sears
North Redwood Co. Hwy. 101.
Richard Sears sold his first watch from this site, marking the beginning of the Sears and Roebuck Company.

Perhaps no other business institution in the United States is as responsible for ushering in the era of twentieth century mass consumption as Sears, Roebuck & Company. Today we are a nation of producers and consumers, a leisure culture that relies on the convenience and efficiency of a myriad of products that determine our quality of life. Much can be attributed to a gutsy corporation that blazed new trails in mass market merchandising at the turn of the last century.

Born during the latter part of the nineteenth century, Sears, Roebuck & Company literally changed the way of life for many Americans. In doing so, it essentially became the central warehouse for the culture, assessing the needs of the common folk, presenting them with exciting new products which were delivered to America's doorsteps in a way that was before unimagined. As a result, Sears became one of the most trusted economic institutions in U.S. history and eventually grew to be the seventh largest corporation in the world during the twentieth century.

There continues to be a national reverence for its impact on the American socioeconomic landscape, and throughout much of the twentieth century, it was still one of the nation's largest purveyors of general merchandise. Today the concept of mail-order is as American as the automobile, an item which Sears sold in the pages of its famous catalog.

Site 48:Alexander Ramsey Park
North side of Redwood Falls
Alexander Ramsey Park is the largest municipal park in Minnesota. The park spans 217 acres with vast features that have something for everyone!

The park was built as a state park in 1911 with much of the work being done by the CCC during the 1930's. The state of Minnesota gave the park back to the city of Redwood Falls in later years and now the city maintains and improves the park. Ramsey Park continues to be a wonderful example of Minnesota's commitment to it's natural resources and beauty.

In the lower part of the park one may find a variety of picnic and play areas. The lower camping shelter, built during the CCC era is a favorite for family gatherings and picnics. Setting just a few yards from the Redwood River and next to the recently improved play area, ball diamond, campground and zoo, it is a spectacular central location for meetings of all kinds.

Site 49:Beaver Falls County Park
Located on Renville Co. 15.
Between 1860 and 1900, the present location of the county park was the county seat of Renville County. Beaver Falls once had a hotel, flour mill, blacksmith shop, merchandise store, bank, school, saloon, implement and hardware store, lumber sawmill and brewery.

Come and visit Renville County's best-kept secret!

Enjoy the steep-wooded bluffs and observe first-hand the many historic sites along the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway as you make your way through Renville County along the Minnesota River.

Experience the natural beauty of Renville County by visiting our more than 1,300 acres of parkland featuring primitive stands of trees, wildflowers and native prairies, wildlife, and the uniqueness of bedrock outcroppings located along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Admission for general park use is free. Fees are charged for camping and shelter reservations.

Site 50:Morton Monuments
On the east end of Morton.
On a hill overlooking tbe beautiful Minnesota River Valley and the city of Morton, stand two 52-foot tall granite monuments. These monuments are known as the Birch Coulee and Loyal Indian Monuments. The Birch Coulee Monument was erected in 1894 for the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Birch Coulee on September 2, 1862. The Loyal Indian Monument was erected in 1899 to honor 6 Dakota who saved lives of whites during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862.

Site 51:Renville County Historical Museum
Located east of the city park in Morton.
The museum complex consists of six buildings. The main museum houses history and artifacts of early Native Americans, military, town and county history, our research center and gift shop. One of our two schoolhouses depicts a one-room rural schoolhouse complete with children's toys and an old wood stove. The other schoolhouse serves as our pottery and dish building which showcases Depression glass and Red Wing Pottery. Our machine shed features pioneer tools and machinery. Our log cabin, built in 1869, illustrates pioneer life of some of the first settlers. Our church, St. John's Episcopal, houses two different organs. It illustrates the pioneer church on the prairie.


Site 52:Gilfillan Estate (Farmfest Site)
8 miles SW of Redwood Falls on TH 67.
Charles Duncan Gilfillan was the founder of Gilfillan Estate. He was born in New York in 1831, one year after his parents immigrated to the United States from Scotland.

Although he was orphaned when he was only 11 years old, he received an education and became a teacher. Later, he studied law and in 1857 he and his brother, James, became law partners. Gilfillan was the prime mover in establishing a safe and sufficient water supply in St.Paul.
He married Emma G. Waage in 1859. Following her death four years later, he married her sister, Fanny S. They had four children.

In 1882, he sold his Ramsey County property and purchased 13,000 acres of land in Redwood County. On the site now known as Gilfillan, Charles built a beautiful home and offices, and later a grain elevator, stockyard, and tenant homes. He raised livestock for export to Great Britain.

In his later years, Charles became deeply interested in the events of the Sioux Uprising of 1862, served as chairman of the committee which erected a monument at Birch Coulee, and helped organize the Minnesota Valley Historical Society at Morton.

Charles Oswin Gilfillan, who was born in 1872, succeeded his father as owner of Gilfillan.

As a youth, he received much of his schooling abroad and wanted to be a doctor, but his father talked him into going to Agriculture School so he could take over the land. He did not move to Gilfillan immediately after his father's death, however, because he was managing the Gilfillan Block in St. Paul.

He built the Morgan Library as a memorial to his father, and gave 160 acres to help support and maintain the building.

The Gilfillan farm site was the scene of many great get togethers for Paxton Township neighbors.

The farm site was left to the Redwood County Historical Society to be kept in memory of the Gilfillan family. Its intended purpose is to preserve the history of the Gilfillan Estate and the surrounding area and to make this history available to the public. Located on the grounds is wonderful collection of antique farm machinery. The site is also the location of Farmfest, an agricultural extravaganza held each summer.

Site 53:Lower Sioux Community
4 miles SW of Morton, Redwood Co. 2.
The People of the Lower Sioux Indian Community are known as Dakota , and come from the Mdewakanton ("Dwellers by Mystic Lake") band. The Lower Sioux Indian Community (LSIC) is located on approximately 1750 acres held in trust status in southwestern Minnesota, bounded by Redwood County, MN and the Minnesota River. Of the tribal population, 50% live on the reservation with an approximately equal number residing within the 10-mile tribal service zone. Historic sites include St. Cornelia's Church and the Bishop Whipple School Trading Post.

Established by St. John's Episcopal Mission, St. Cornelia's Church served Christian members of the Dakota community living near the Lower Sioux Agency. Begun before the Dakota Conflict of 1862, the church remained unfinished until years later. After being forcibly resettled on reservations in other states, members of the Lower Sioux community gradually returned to Minnesota. The congregation dismantled the incomplete structure and moved the stones to St. Cornelia's present location in 1891, building this Gothic Revival church.


Site 54:Lower Sioux Agency State Historic Site
Located on Redwood Co. Hwy #2, south of Morton.
In 1853 the U.S. Government established the Agency to administer treaty obligations with the Dakota people living on reservations along the Minnesota River. Explore the history and culture of the Dakota, learn how government employees and missionaries sought to change their traditional way of life at the agency, and discover the roots of the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862 in the visitor center exhibit. Outdoors, investigate the original 1861 agency warehouse and three miles of trails with interpretive signs telling more of the agency's story. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Site 55:Fort Ridgely State Park and Historic Site
Located off Hwy #4, south of Fairfax.
Yielding to pressure from the U.S. government in 1851, the Eastern Dakota (Eastern Sioux) sold 35 million acres of their land across southern and western Minnesota. The Dakota moved onto a small reservation along the Minnesota River, stretching from just north of New Ulm to today's South Dakota border.
In 1853, the U.S. military started construction on Fort Ridgely, near the southern border of the new reservation and northwest of the German settlement of New Ulm. The fort was designed as a police station to keep peace as settlers poured into the former Dakota lands.
Nine years later, unkept promises by the U.S. government, nefarious practices by fur traders and crop failure all helped create tensions that erupted into the U.S.-Dakota war in August 1862. Dakota forces attacked the fort twice-on Aug. 20 and Aug. 22. The fort that had been a training base and staging ground for Civil War volunteers suddenly became one of the few military forts west of the Mississippi to withstand a direct assault. Fort Ridgely's 280 military and civilian defenders held out until Army reinforcements ended the siege.

This state park offers opportunities for camping, golfing, hiking, and picnicking.

The restored commissary building houses an AV program, exhibits and gift shop. The Minnesota Historical Society administers the historic site.

Contact State Park (507) 426-7840. Historic Site (507) 426-7888 or call (507) 697-6321 if no one can be reached at the Fort site number.
Department of Natural Resources. 507-426-7840 &
Site 56:Little Rock Trading Post
Four miles SE of Fort Ridgely.
Established in 1834 by Joseph LaFramboise, a licensed fur trader and interpreter, the post was an important center of civilization in those early days. LaFramboise, who interpreted at two treaties signed between the Dakota and the U.S. government, is buried at the Fort Ridgely Cemetery.

Site 57:Depot Museum and Sleepy Eye's Monument
1st Ave. N. and Oak St. NE, Sleepy Eye.
The community of Sleepy Eye, incorporated in 1872, was named after a Sisseton Dakota Chief, Ish Tak Ha Ba, which means Sleepy Eyes. He was given the name because of his drooping eyelids. He and his band lived on the north side of Sleepy Eye Lake, which is also named for the kind and friendly chief. In 1824 he and seven other Dakota and Ojibway leaders went to Washington DC to meet President James Monroe and sign treaties. He was also the most important Chief to sign the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851. He died in 1859 or 1860 in Roberts County, South Dakota and was buried there. In 1902 his remains were moved to Sleepy Eye and buried in a plot set aside for that purpose next to the newly built depot. The granite monument which marks his grave site was dedicated on October 17, 1902.

The Winona & St. Peter Railroad first reached Sleepy Eye in 1872. A plat map for the Village of Sleepy Eye Lake was filed on September, 18, 1887. The first depot burned down in January 1887.
A second depot was built by June 1887 and was used as a freight depot for many years. It still stands a block east of the Depot Museum. The present depot was built in 1902 of red-faced brick and stone trimming. It consisted of a baggage room, men's waiting room, family waiting room, and the east end lunch room. For 87 years the Chicago-North Western Railroad had passenger rail service at Sleepy Eye. The streamliner "Dakota 400" made its last stop in Sleepy Eye on October 25, 1959. After that, the depot served as a freight office.

In the early 1980s the C and NW Railroad offered to sell the depot and Sleepy Eye Depot Preservation Inc. was formed to purchase and renovate the depot. A fund drive was started and in 1984 the depot was purchased. Since that time many changes have taken place. The building was reroofed and the bricks were tuck pointed and cleaned. Inside, the woodwork was finished and insulation was inserted behind the wall panels. The floors were sanded and sealed, a new electrical system and gas furnace were installed and the bathroom area was renovated. All the windows were replaced with new energy efficient ones. A handicapped accessible ramp and landscaping enhanced the building.

On July 3, 1990 the Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society received the keys to the depot and opened a museum, which displays artifacts from the Sleepy Eye area. In 1992 the depot was named to the National Register of Historical Places.

Site 58:Harkin Store
Eight miles NE of New Ulm on CSAH 21.
Harkins General Store was built in 1870 by Scottish immigrant, Alexander Harkin. At that time the town of West Newton was a more active town in the area. This was due to its location on the Minnesota River and the steamboat landing which served as a stopping point for much of the river traffic. Located in the town were a hotel, dance hall and brewery.

In the 1870's, the railroads began to replace riverboats and a line was run through nearby New Ulm. This had an adverse effect on the town but the store remained open and served as a hub for the farming community.

Eventually the town became less active and businesses began closing down. The owners of the Harkins store closed it down on Jan. 1, 1901. The building was reopened as a museum in 1938 as a museum with almost everything remaining where it had been in 1901.

At right Alexander Harkin welcomes visitors to the store and provides information about its history and it's importance to the people of Nicollet County.

The Harkins General Store offers a historic glimpse of how a general store would have appeared during the 1800's. For fans of the "Little House on the Prairie" books and television series it's a first hand view of what one would see if they visited the Owen's store in 1870's Walnut Grove, Minnesota. (For the TV series the name was changed to Olsen but in the book, "On the Banks of Plum Creek" the family's name was Owens.)

In its years of operation Harkins Store was a distributor of Uncle Sam's Harness Oil which was manufactured by the Emmert Propietary Company of Chicago. The company also made "Uncle Sam's Nerve and Bone Liniment" which came in small aqua bottles that had the "Emmert Proprietary Co. Chicago" embossed on them. &
Site 59:Flandrau State Park
1300 Summit Ave., New Ulm.
The gentle flowing Big Cottonwood River meanders through this southern park. The sand-bottom swimming pond, picnic area, campgrounds and group center attract many visitors every summer to this very popular state park. The terrain is diverse, offering views of wooded river bottoms, oxbow marshes and open grasslands. Hikers and cross-country skiers enjoy the flat trails on the bottom of the valley or more challenging routes on the oak-shaded bluffs. Visit historic stone buildings crafted by Works Progress Administration(WPA)crews. Vegetative features include goat prairies, small white lady's slippers, and the floodplain forest.

Originally named Cottonwood River State Park, after the river that runs through it, Flandrau was the site of a Work Projects Administration (WPA) camp during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Several buildings in the park are beautiful examples of the architectural work done by the WPA. During part of the 1940s, the camp was used as a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp. Today, the old WPA camp is used as the park's modern group center, complete with eight cabins, a dining hall, restroom buildings and a separate swimming pond. During this same era, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built a dam in the park, impounding a reservoir of approximately 200 acres on the Big Cottonwood River. After the dam was damaged by high water in 1947, 1965 and 1969, the remaining parts of the dam, including a spillway, were removed in 1995. The river now flows free through the park. The park was renamed Flandrau by the state legislature on March 15, 1945, to honor Charles E. Flandrau. He helped draft the first Minnesota constitution and was a member of the first Minnesota Supreme Court. He also played a prominent role in New Ulm during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862.

Flandrau is on the eastern edge of the Minnesota River Country region. The Dakota inhabitants thrived in the tallgrass prairie of the area with its interspersed marshes, lakes and streams. Today, extensive farming has replaced the prairie. At Flandrau, visitors may enjoy a diverse landscape that includes heavily wooded riverine areas, segments of oak forest and grassland areas along the bluffs. The main landscape type is floodplain forest. Large cottonwoods and other deciduous trees provide scenic beauty and habitat for both birds and wildlife.

The best way to learn more about Flandrau State Park is to stop at the park office for a map and information about the park. Although the park does not have a naturalist on staff, activities are offered occasionally.

Recreational facilities located in the park include a sand-bottomed, filtered swimming pool, trails, playground equipment, horseshoe courts, volleyball courts, and campgrounds.

507-354-3519 or 800-766-6000
Site 60:Monuments in New Ulm
New Ulm
There are many monuments that grace New Ulm. The first one is the Defender Monument, which is located at Center and State Streets. This monument was erected in 1891 by the State of Minnesota to honor the memory of the defenders who aided New Ulm during the Dakota Conflict in 1862. The artwork at the base was created by New Ulm artist Anton Gag.

The next one is the Waraju Distillery Chimney (Center & Linden) monument. One of the first pioneering industries of New Ulm was the Waraju steam distillery, built by Henry A. Subilia in 1860 for the production of whiskey ("waraju" is a Dakota word meaning "cottonwood"). It was built of nearly 200,000 hand-made bricks, measured 72 x 46 feet (21.9 x 14.0 m) in area, was 33 feet (10.1 m) high at the roof cornice, and cost about $10,000. Its most distinctive feature, all that remains above the surface today, is its tall red-brick chimney. New Ulm was attacked twice during the Dakota conflict of 1862 (on August 19 and 23), and the distillery was not defended. While the principal action occurred near the town center, the Dakota occupied the distillery and burned it. Its walls were still intact after the conflict, however, so with nearly 20 buildings destroyed, including the flour mill, the distillery was employed for that purpose until a new mill was built in 1864. The Waraju distillery then went out of business and was sold at a mortgage sale in 1866 for $800. The ruins were left open and fell into greater decay until the 1970s when the standing chimney was fenced and it was further leveled and landscaped.

Another monument is the Melges Bakery Building (213 S. Minnesota Street). Melges, New Ulm' first baker, was born in Horesta, Germany, in 1830; he came to America when he was 20 years old. He lived in the eastern states, becoming an American citizen in 1858. In 1865, he returned to Germany to marry the sweetheart of his youth. The same year, they came to New Ulm.

The Melges family added the north portion of the building in 1871; the only section of the original building to be replaced later was some bricks on the upper wall facing Minnesota Street, which suffered damage in an 1881 cyclone.
The Melgeses had seven children; their descendants spread out to parts of Minnesota, Illinois and California, in professions as different as medicine and the poultry business, each with their personal story, serious, funny or in-between, as evidenced in family histories.

Frederick's son, Julius, began operating the bakery in 1891. He was replaced by William Eibner, and Isadore and Heinen, in 1894. F.G. Heinze bought the bakery in 1903.
From 1917 to 1970, the building was home of the August Puhfahl family. In 1973, to ward off its demolition, the Brown County Historical Society bought it, using gifts from two major donors, Dr. Frederick J. Melges and Hellen Melges Doehring, grandchildren of the first Mr. and Mrs. Melges.

The last monument listed is the Hermann Monument (Center & Monument Streets). Hermann (Arminius), a Cheruscan chieftain, spearheaded the struggle to defend German tribes against a Roman imperial army. In time the Hermann story became a legend and Hermann a symbol of strength and unity in preserving freedom.

The story of the Roman legions' first major defeat unfolds in the forests of north-central Europe at the time of Christ. In autumn of A.D. 9 a coalition of German tribes under Hermann ambushed three Roman legions commanded by Qunctilius Varus. The defeat caused Caesar Augustus and his successors to forego conquering Central Europe. A new imperial policy changed European history. The people of Central Europe developed independent of Roman Rule.

Today, on Grotenberg Mountain, a high hill near the German city of Detmold, a colossal statue of Hermann memorializes the event. A similar but unique monument in New Ulm, Minnesota, has come to represent the contributions of Americans of German heritage, the largest ethnic group to emigrate from Europe to the United States.

There are also many monuments located in the city cemetery.
Tours of the New Ulm City Cemetery that weave together the history of New Ulm, its early settlers, the Dakota conflict and gravestone symbolism are available through the Brown County Historical Society. Tours are given from April – October. To book your tour - call the Brown County Historical Society at 507.233.2616.

507-233-4300 or 888-463-9856
Site 61:Glockenspiel
4th & Minnesota Street, New Ulm.
New Ulm's Glockenspiel is a unique free-standing clock tower. It stands 45 feet tall with a bourdon bell weighing 595 pounds. The tower has animated figures that depict the city's history.

New Ulm's Glockenspiel plays at noon, 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. every day all year round. During the holiday season, the small moving characters in the clock are changed to a nativity scene. The Glockenspiel is located at the intersection of 4th North and Minnesota Streets.

507-233-4300 or 888-463-9856
Site 62:Wanda Gag House
226 N. Washington Street, New Ulm.
Wanda Hazel Gag, author of the classic children's book, Millions of Cats, lived in this house until the age of 29. The home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features skylights, an artist's studio, and open turrets.

Millions of Cats has its roots in the compelling childhood of Wanda Gag (1893-1946). She was born the oldest of seven children to German immigrant parents in New Ulm, Minnesota, a town still enriched in German heritage. Both her parents were artists; her father a journeyman painter whose portraits of seven cherubs still frame the high altar of the New Ulm Cathedral. Frustrated by the need of providing for seven children, he whispered to his then 15-yr-old daughter on his deathbed, "What your Papa could not do, Wanda will have to finish," enflaming her passion for art. She went on to become an artist and printmaker, winning two Newbery honors for Millions of Cats and ABC Bunny, and two Caldecott Medals, for Snow White and Nothing at All. Gag represents the beginning of children's book publishing in the

Wanda Gag's childhood home is a Victorian "painted lady" that has been restored to reveal seven areas of original stenciling by her father Anton. There are displays of family photographs of the Gag children (look for the flamboyant names!) as well as examples of Anton's professional photography. There are sketches that Wanda did, a blouse that she wore, and a children's game that she invented. During the restoration of the attic where the children played, 506 items were retrieved from under the floorboards—paintbrushes, watercolors, doll heads, doll clothes, marbles, and beads.

Tours of the house are seasonal, but special arrangements can be made ahead anytime by calling the number listed. A birthday celebration weekend with activities is planned for the weekend closest to Wanda's March 11th birthday (2004 will be the second weekend in March). The New Ulm website offers dates of many area activities including an infamous Octoberfest, so you may want to combine your visit with an area event. Include a visit to the Cathedral to see Anton's cherubs.


Site 63:John Lind House
622 Center Street, New Ulm.
John Lind, a Swedish-born immigrant, was elected as Minnesota's 14th governor in 1899. The Lind house was built on the corner of Center and State streets in 1887 by John and Alice Lind at a cost of $5,000. During his lifetime John Lind was a school teacher, superintendent of Brown County schools, a New Ulm Lawyer, and land agent. John Lind was also the first Swedish-born American to be elected to the United States Congress, president of the University Board of Regents, diplomatic representative to Mexico, and Minnesota Governor. In 1975, the home's elegant Queen Anne architecture and history allowed it to be placed on the National Register of Historic Homes as well as for its architectural and political significance. Grants from the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, the City of New Ulm and the Aid Association for Lutherans have been received. Many local corporations, financial institutions, businesses, service clubs and individuals have responded generously with finances and materials. The Lind house has been restored in the style in which it was originally built and is now available for private parties, receptions, and meetings. This stately home was often the center of the community's cultural activities.
During the Christmas season, the Lind house is decorated in Victorian style. Christmas season hours are from 1:00 to 4:00 Thursdays through Sundays from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Site 64:August Schell Brewery Museum and Gardens
South on Broadway, then west on 18th St., New Ulm.
New Ulm's oldest industry, the August Schell Brewing Company, was founded in 1860 and is still a family business. Schell's brews have won several honors in national brewing competitions.

It includes really nice grounds and brewing site. They added a new brewhouse and built it back into the hill as to not destroy the original buildings. The site grounds include a house and a beautiful garden. The flowers beautify the grounds and leave you feel like your floating through the Cottonwood Valley. The grounds also have deer running wild in a wide fenced in area and the peacocks run wild. A visit of the museum takes you through the history as well as with wood barrels and their name stamping/burning of the name and the many labels.

Site 65:Brown County Historical Museum
2 North Broadway, New Ulm.
Unique in design and appearance, the Brown County Historical Society building was constructed in 1910 as a post office. In 1986, it was renovated to house the museum. Exhibits depict the history of American Indians and early settlers in the area. Temporary exhibits change annually. Also housed in the building is a historical library and a gift shop.

The Brown County Historical Society is located in a rich agricultural region along the Minnesota River about 95 miles from Minneapolis and St Paul. The grassland and forested river bottom was home to many prehistoric and historic Indian groups. These Native Americans practiced hunting and gathering, as well as horticultural subsistence for thousands of years. As European immigration and technology changed the world, conflict was inevitable. Within a few years open warfare erupted. Many people lost their lives or were severely affected in Minnesota and Northern Iowa during the Dakota Conflict of 1862.

This war affected cultural relationships between the immigrants and the Dakota for many years. Native people were driven to less productive land far away from their homes. German, Norwegian, and a scattering of other nationalities settled in the river valley to farm and to build, homes and businesses. The settlers brought specific skills in wood working, milling and brewing to the area. Their work, education, music and architecture were unique to the regions they left in Europe.

Today, Brown County's population numbers about 28,000. There are 78 National Register of Historic Places in the county, including a 100 ft. tall monument to Hermann the Cheruscan and the Wanda Gag family home. The Hermann statue honors the German hero, Aminius who defeated an invading Roman legion in 9 AD. It now signifies the contribution of German-Americans to Brown County, Minnesota and the Nation. Wanda Gag (1893-1946) illustrated and wrote many heart warming children's books including Millions of Cats and ABC Bunny.

The unique museum building was constructed in 1910 as the Federal Post Office. For many years, it was the focus point of downtown business. Today, the museum's German Renaissance style attracts photographers, sightseers, and residents alike. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. During renovation of the building for its use as a museum, its original slate roof and most of its attractive architectural elements were retained. Modern lighting, restrooms, and elevators make visitors' experiences informative and pleasant.

The museum is located on three handicapped accessible levels. The museum features major exhibit themes including the Dakota Conflict of 1862 and the history of Brown County from 1856 to the present. Yearly, the museum schedules special exhibits that add extra interest for summertime and holiday visitors.

The Historical Society, in existence since 1930, is primarily funded by the people of Brown County. In addition to this support, we rely on personal donations and assistance from the city of New Ulm for special projects and exhibits. Our founding father, and the Museum's first curator was Fred Johnson (1870-1948). Mr. Johnson had the foresight to begin collecting artifacts of pioneer life. These artifacts include photographs, diaries, and other items of significance. It was his contribution that provided the foundation for today's Historical Society.

Monday-Friday, also Saturday-Sunday afternoons; closed holidays
Site 66:City of New Ulm
New Ulm
New Ulm was founded in 1854 by a German Land Company from Chicago and another group from Cincinnati. The city reflects its rich German heritage.


Site 67:Swan Lake Wildlife Management Area
North of State Hwy. 68 on Cty. 23 to Nicollet. West 2.4 miles on U.S. 14 to the Public Landing.
Public water access with ramp, site of water control structure that controls water level of lake, high promontory overlooking lake, and wheelchair accessible walkway into marsh. Swan Lake encompasses 10,000 acres and is one of the largest pothole lakes in North America. The wildlife management area contains 108,000 acres and an additional 8,000 acres are planned for additional habitat.

Site 68:Lincoln Park Area
Lincoln, Pleasant, Clark Streets, Mankato MN Valley Regional Library, 100 E. Main.
This area is the setting for "Deep Valley", the town loved by many in the Betsy/Tacy children's books written by local Mankato author, Maud Hart Lovelace. The library Lovelace Wing has information and a keepsake scrapbook from the author as well as a mural depicting scenes from the stories and Maud Lovelace's life.

Site 69:R. D. Hubbard House
606 S. Broad St., Mankato.
Built in 1872, the Hubbard House is the oldest remaining example of a 19th century mansion in the area. Its cherry woodwork, three marble fireplaces, silk wall coverings, and a signed Tiffany lamp shade enhanced the French Second Empire style architecture. The fine Carriage House contains a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and antique autos. Award-winning Victorian gardens landscape the two buildings. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Site 70:Blue Earth County Heritage Center
Cherry Street, Mankato.
The Heritage Center houses a beautiful, new gallery with exhibits of all aspects of early life in Blue Earth County. The gift shop offers the work of area artists and citizens, jewelry, historical books, posters, and cookbooks.


Site 71:Williams Minneopa Learning Center
Three miles west of Mankato along TH 68.
Here visitors can explore the state's premiere accessible nature center. Two miles of paved paths connect wildlife reserves, prairie vegetation, Indian mounds, and an Indian village site.

Site 72:Minneopa State Park
Six miles west of Mankato on TH 60.
A major waterfall in southwestern Minnesota tumbles through Minneopa State Park. An old stone mill and traces of Glacial River Warren be found in the midst of the park's native prairie that is filled with wildlife. The park offers camping, picnicking, and hiking in summer and cross-country skiing in winter.


Site 73:Minnemishinona Falls
Judson Bottom Road (Nicollet County Hwy. 41) is an alternate route for the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.
This county park is a scenic overlook, 42' waterfalls located on the Judson Bottom Road. No facilities on site.

The trust for public land purchased the 3-acre home site containing the falls in order to enhance the falls. The home was sold and removed, which allowed the site to open to the public. The archeological investigation found overwhelming evidence of artifacts from prehistoric cultures.
40923 Judson Bottom Road

Site 73:Flood Wall Trail
Veteran's Memorial Bridge to Sibley Park.
Visitors can walk, jog, and bicycle along the scenic Minnesota River for over a mile along this trail which ends with a vita course workout or walk through the zoo at enchanting Sibley Park.

Site 74:Judge Lorin P. Cray Mansion
Mankato YWCA, 603 S. 2nd St., Mankato.
The impressive Queen Anne style mansion was built in 1898 at the cost of $513,000. The towers, side balcony, stained etched and beveled glass windows, garland designed porch trim and columns are all typical of this period structure. The exterior and interior capture the Victorian character of the home with most original features remaining. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mankato YWCA507-345-4629

Site 75:Winter Warrior Sculpture
Riverfront Drive, Mankato.
Located at the Minnesota Valley Regional Library, the sculpture made of local stone is a tribute to the Year of Reconciliation 125 years after the U.S./Dakota Conflict of 1862. Beside it stands a special marker commemorating the death of 38 Dakota.

Site 76:Old Main Village
301 S. 5th St., Mankato.
Built in 1924, Old Main was the administration building for the Mankato Normal School, now Minnesota State University. Vacant for many years, Old Main was renovated in 1987 and re-opened as a retirement community. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 77:Carnegie Art Center
120 S. Broad St., Mankato.
Originally a library, this renaissance revival-style architecture houses a gallery of local artists' work. The library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 78:Union Depot
112 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato.
Built in 1896, the Union Depot is the only surviving railroad depot in the 13 Blue Earth County townships where railroads played a major development role. The depot is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 79:Fort LeHillier Marker
Two miles south of Mankato on TH 66.
This marker commemorates the fort built by French explorer Pierre Charles LeSueur in 1700.

Site 80:Blue Earth County Courthouse
294 S. 5th St., Mankato.
Built in 1889, the building makes elaborate use of local Mankato stone in French and Haitian Renaissance architecture. The courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has recently been completely renovated.

Site 81:Red Jacket Trail
Riverfront Drive in Mankato to Rapidan
This 5.5 mile trail is between Riverfront Drive in Mankato to Rapidan. Trail maps available from the Mankato Chamber of Commerce


Site 82:Akota Wokiksuye Makoce (Land of Memories) City Park
Off of US 169/MN 60 just west of Blue Earth River Bridge
Off of US 169/MN 60 just west of Blue Earth River Bridge where the Blue Earth River flows into the Minnesota River, this park offers camping, hiking, river access, fishing, and an annual Pow Wow.

Site 83:Kasota Prairie Scientific & Natural Area
South of Kasota on Co. 21 to Co. 101, west 1.5 miles.
Located on an extensive rock terrace 70 feet above the Minnesota River Valley. Wet meadow, oak woodland, and lowland hardwood plant communities thrive in the thin soils of this prairie once covered by the Glacial River Warren. This SNA protected area is another all natural area (no facilities) known for its palette of wildflower color, varying throughout the seasons.

Site 84:Kasota Stone
The Kasota Prairie contains large deposits of this yellow limestone used first for area construction and now throughout the continent. The mining operations are very active and you can see the equipment from the road. Stone from here adorns the outside face of the Norwest Tower in Minneapolis.

Site 85:Seven Mile Creek County Park
Four miles south of St. Peter and seven miles north of Mankato on US 169.
Seven Mile Creek runs throughout this scenic park area. A trail system through the wooded valley and hills is available for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Picnicking, picnic shelter, sanitation facilities, and running water are available. River access.

Site 86:City of Kasota
This small town lies on the limestone deposits that when quarried are referred to as Kasota Stone. There is evidence of this heritage with old quarries and stone blocks in the city park. The town also features an establishment known for its venue of blues music.


Site 87:Gustavus Adolphus College Arboretum and Sculpture Garden
800 W. College Ave., St. Peter.
A private, liberal arts college with Swedish and Lutheran heritage overlooking the city of St. Peter and Minnesota River Valley from its west bank location. Christ Chapel is the focal point of the campus with its soaring spire. The Linnaeus Arboretum includes a collection of nature representative of our Minnesota and Scandinavian heritage. The Grandlund Welk walking tour views the many sculptures created by Paul Grandlund.


Site 88:E. St. Julien Cox House
500 N. Washington Ave., St. Peter.
Built in 1871, this fine example of Carpenter Gothic/Italianate architecture has been restored according to original blueprints. Furnished today in late Victorian fashion. Costumed guides conduct tours here. Serves as the setting for "Christmas at the Cox House" in December.

Site 89:Traverse des Sioux Treaty Site History Center
1851 N. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter.
The home of the Nicollet County Historical Society, the History Center museum was built next to the site where the Treaty of 1851 between the Dakota People and the federal government was signed. The museum contains three exhibit halls, audio-visual room and archives. A variety of changing and traveling exhibits are featured throughout the year.

Site 90:Traverse Des Sioux Park
One mile north of St. Peter on US 169.
Park offers hiking and historical interpretation. The Treaty Rock on the west side of highway marks the 1851 Traverse des Sioux Treaty signing site. On the east side of the highway is the old abandoned city, the 1850 steamboat landing and the "Crossing of the Sioux" (Fr. Traverse des Sioux).

Site 91:City of St. Peter Historic District
Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau, 101 S. Front St., St. Peter, MN 56082.
St. Peter is a very historic community with 13 sites on the National Registry. Founded by Captain William B. Dodd in 1853. St. Peter is one of the oldest cities in the state. Gustavus Adolphus College is also here, which adds to the cultural and educational diversity of the city.

Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau1-800-473-3404
Site 92:Riverside Park
on the Minnesota River, near the St Peter Chamber of Commerce
This 215 acre park on the Minnesota River, near the St Peter Chamber of Commerce, offers an artesian fed pond with fishing for children under 16 and senior citizens, trails, picnicking, camping, rest rooms, playground, a sliding hill and river access.


Site 93:St. Peter Regional Treatment Center Museum
100 Freeman Drive, St. Peter.
This was the first psychiatric treatment facility of its kind in the state. The facility houses a museum that includes artifacts representing the treatment center during the late 1800s. Tours by appointment.

507-931-7270 or 507-931-7182

Site 94:Minnesota Square Park
In the heart of St. Peter on Minnesota Ave.
A 10 acre park that has a recently remodeled pavilion, basketball court, sand volleyball court, playground, tennis courts, picnic tables, and rest rooms.

Site 95:Greenlawn Cemetery
One mile west of St. Peter on MN Hwy. 22, north 1/2 mile on Cty. Hwy 20
Second oldest, 1854, Minnesota platted cemetery. Contains graves of missionaries to Dakota Indians, 13 Civil War veterans, plus 1 of War of 1812 and early pioneers.

Site 96:Norseland
West of St. Peter on MN 22.
There is the Norseland general store, founded in 1858, that still serves the community and a marker commemorating those lost in an Indian attack during the U.S./Dakota conflict of 1862.

Site 97:Trout Ponds
Located off of Le Sueur Co Rd 23 (Ottawa Road).
A former DNR fish hatchery. Currently, stocked by DNR with trout providing family fishing in the little freshwater ponds fed by springs coming out of the hills in the area.

Site 98:Ottawa Bluffs Preserve (Bluffs and Fen)
Two miles south of Ottawa on Co. 23, five miles from St Peter
Purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1975 to protect a remnant of the Minnesota River bluffs. It's tallgrass prairie, wildflowers and hardwood forest is home to pheasants, wild turkeys, deer and many species of small mammals, song birds and reptiles.

Site 99:UNIMIN Silica Mines
One mile south of Ottawa on Co. Rd 23 (Ottawa Road).
In addition to sand and gravel extraction, a unique silica sand is extracted from two sites along the byway. This private facility is an example of the valley's resources that continue to be viable for enterprise. Also, the ongoing reclamation offers a good example of reuse of mining sites.

Site 100:Burr Oak Park
Platted with the original plat for the village of Ottawa in the 1850s and dedicated for public use forever. Picnic and play areas provided.

Site 101:Ottawa Village
Le Sueur County 23 (Ottawa Road)
This State Registered Historic District dates back to 1853. The platted village is a long narrow tract of land along the Minnesota River. Ottawa progressed in the 1860s and 1970's but by the late 1890s had fallen into decline. Ottawa's eight properties on the National Register of Historic Places are locally quarried limestone buildings and stand like markers of the birth, life and passing on of this once busy townsite. One of the sites, the Ottawa Methodist Church was built in 1869 and is one of the oldest Methodist stone churches in Minnesota.

Site 102:Chamberlain Woods Scientific & Natural Area (DNR)
Three miles south of LeSueur on Co. 36, then .25 mi W. on Twp Rd. (just north of Ottawa).
An SNA is a protected area intended to be representative of, and to preserve, the natural heritage of an area. These 254 acres of deciduous woods include a mosaic of vegetation types fronting the Minnesota River. This all natural area (no facilities) is best visited in the spring to observe the dynamics of the river & floodplain forest, or in the fall when the area is open and dry enough for a long walk along the river's edge.

Site 103:River Park
1/4 mile west of LeSueur on State Hwy 93
Includes 80 acre nature park, trails, picnic area, rest rooms, camping.
Site 104:W. W. Mayo House
118 N. Main St., LeSueur MN 56058
Costumed history interpreters explore the life and time period of Dr. William Worrall Mayo and family in the home hand built by the "little doctor" in 1859. Birthplace of Dr. William James Mayo. The Doctors Mayo founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1903. Between 1874 and 1920, the home was lived in by a founder of the Green Giant Company, C.N. Cosgrove. His son and grandson, who became company presidents, were born in the home. From 1936-1967, the Le Sueur Public Library was housed in the home. It has been restored and warmly furnished to the 1860 period. It is a Minnesota Historical Society Site.

507-665-3250 &
Site 105:LeSueur Museum and Green Giant Room
709 N. 2nd St., LeSueur.
Exhibits, videos and archives tell the story of the Green Giant Company along with displays — old time Drug Store with veterinary display, Agriculture Room, One Room School, Post Office, Art, Radios, Military, LeSueur History and Family Research Center.

Site 106:Green Giant Marker
Commerce and Dakota Streets In Le Sueur
Marks the location of the original Minnesota Valley Canning Company (Green Giant Co.)

Site 107:Mayo Park and Arboretum
Located along the Highway 169 exit northeast of LeSueur.
The landscaped park has places for visitors to picnic, play horseshoes or volleyball and enjoy an arboretum with flowers, shrubs, rose gardens and a gazebo.

Site 108:Rest Area
One mile NW of Le Sueur on US 169
Includes rest rooms, telephones, picnic tables and water.

Site 109:River Lakes
south of Henderson
The area south of Henderson between MN 93 and the river contains a series of bottomland lakes. In addition to recreation potential, the area is rich in history. Most of the land is in private hands but the public road right-of-ways and public waters offer scenic viewing and excellent bird watching opportunities.

Site 110:Sibley County Rush River Park
One mile SW of Henderson on MN 19. From Henderson take Highway 19 west 1.2 miles. Turn left onto County Rd. 62 for .2 mile. Turn left onto 335th Avenue (gravel) for 1.0 mile to T road, turn left onto 300th Street for .5 mile. Turn right on to Rush River Park Road for .5 mile to entrance to park.
Component of the Minnesota Valley Trail system. A 315 acre wooded site with rolling hills next to the Rush River. Contains a large picnic area, a picnic shelter, hiking trails, rustic sanitation facilities, and running water. 1


Site 111:Ney Environmental Area and Learning Center
Located 2 miles east of Henderson on MN 19 at top of the hill (watch for deer, wild turkeys and bald eagles) turn right onto Nature Center Lane.
A 366 acre parcel of land given to Le Sueur County by the Ney family. Currently, plans are underway to develop on this site an environmental learning center where schools, children, and other interested groups can come to study the environment. The site offers a variety of environmental study opportunities from wildlife to vegetation for visitors.


Site 112:East Henderson
Located 1.3 miles east of Henderson on MN 19 to Henderson Station Road/Cty Rd. 34, turn right ½ mile to East Henderson and Henderson Station river access (Le Sueur County Park).
Remnants of the village of Clarksville established in the 1850s is known today as East Henderson. All that remains of the village is an old elevator, a couple of old frame structures which once housed businesses and a home presently lived in.

Site 113:Sibley County Museum
700 Main Street, Henderson
Housed in an 1884 brick mansion, this museum was established in 1948 when the August Poeler home was purchased. Exhibits include the remnants of early pioneer life in Minnesota.

Site 114:Joseph R. Brown Minnesota River Center and Joseph R. Brown Research Library
600 Main Street, Henderson.
An interpretive center telling the life story of this exceptional man who shaped Minnesota history and of early Minnesota history.

Site 115:City of Henderson (Henderson Historic District)
Historic river town with historic sites, parks and events such as Sauerkraut Days. Henderson's main street is a nationally registered historic district, comprised of stately buildings of locally made brick.


Site 116:High Island Scenic Area and County Park
Two miles north of Henderson on Co. 6.
Hill and woods with the creek on its course to the Minnesota. Contains camping, hiking, picnic area and horse trails.

Site 117:Jessenland Town Hall
The present town hall was erected in 1905 as a schoolhouse to replace the old District 12 building. The township was organized in 1858 with early meetings held in a log home.

Site 118:St. Thomas Catholic Church
(Jessenland Township) located 5 miles north of Henderson on County Rd # 6
The present church was built in 1870 replacing previous structures built in 1855 and 1862. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and national documentation calls it the first Irish agrarian settlement in Minnesota.

Site 119: Avenue of Trees to Blakeley Bridge
Located 2.5 miles past St. Thomas Catholic Church at the intersection of Sibley Cty Rds #6 & #5
A stately row of cottonwoods guards the frequently flooded Sibley County #5 leading to the Blakeley Bridge. Built in 1925, replacing the ferry, the bridge was dedicated as a memorial to Sibley and Scott County Veterans of World War I. The original 1925 Blakeley Bridge was torn down and replaced by a modern bridge a few years ago, but the avenue of trees is still there.

Site 120:Sand and Gravel Pits
Sand and gravel deposits lie along the bluff above the river.
The first pit was opened in the 1950s. Later Sibley County acquired property here for a source of road gravel.


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