For Susan Brown and Good Star Woman, the Minnesota River provided more than water for drinking and washing. It was a thread in the fabric of daily life
The bounty of the valley offered food and shelter to people living here. And the river was a busy passageway linking eastern woods with western prairies - a route used by trappers, traders, and explorers as well as the Dakota.
The river valley remains as beautiful as ever, even if time has brought changes. Hardwood forests, 3.8 billion year old granite outcrops, and lush prairie grasses remain for you to enjoy. State and local parks dot the valley inviting you to get out-of-doors all year long, while museums and historic sites offer vivid stories of prairie life. Fishing and hunting are leisure activities rather than necessities. Canoes still travel this winding and majestic river, not for transportation but for recreation and relaxation.
The rich prairie soil that attracted 19th century farmers is still the backbone of agriculture. Today massive four-wheel drive tractors work fields where oxen once strained against their wooden yokes. You might just discover one of those same hand- hewn yokes for sale in an antique shop.
Close your eyes and imagine becoming an explorer for a day. Relax in the tranquility of Big Bluestem prairie grasses. Watch for Dakota Skipper butterflies among Purple Coneflowers. Scan the expansive blue sky for Bald Eagles, or wait quietly at the river's edge to catch a glimpse of deer at sunset. Too much quiet? How about a threshing show with chugging and puffing, turn-of-the-century steam engines? A 19th century musket demonstration? Power shopping in unique specialty stores? Take home one of our stories. We've got plenty to share!