Historical Tourism

  • 1783 - Charles Patterson opened a store on the Minnesota river near a rock shoal, now called Patterson's Rapids, for the British Northwest Trading Company
  • 1851 - Two treaties were negotiated with the Dakota Indians; the Dakota were persuaded to sell 24 million acres, and retained only 10 miles on both sides of the Minnesota river from Lake Traverse to Little Rock Creek.
  • 1853 - By this time, eight steamboats were in regular service in the river. Steamboats served as the primary means of transportation for the next 20 years, bringing passengers and goods to the growing towns and cities.
  • 1853 - Fort Ridgley was built on the northern bluff near the eastern boundary of Dakota Reservation.
  • 1862 - On August 17, the Dakota conflict erupted. Two major battles were fought along the Minnesota River, at Fort Ridgely and Birch Coulee. The Battle of Wood Lake, the last major battle was fought on September 23.
  • 1862 - At the end of the conflict, nearly 1700 Dakota men, women and children were crowded into a prison camp at Fort Snelling. Many froze or starved that winter. After three years, those that survived were transferred to a poorly sited reservation in Crow Creek, SD.
  • 1862 - Military trials were held and more than 300 Dakota were sentenced to hang. President Lincoln commuted the sentences of all but 38. On December 26, the 38 were publicly hung in Mankato. This was the largest mass hanging in American history.
  • 1878 - The first rail road connection in the Minnesota River Valley was completed in 1878, extending to Redwood Falls. Similar railways crossed the northern part of Renville County and the southern part of Redwood County.
  • 1886 - Richard Sears, depot agent in North Redwood, began selling watches. This marked the beginning of the Sears Roebuck company.

This Is Where History Happened

Tatanka Bluffs provides a unique tourism destination; visitors come to learn about the natural and cultural history of Minnesota while simultaneously enjoying one of the state’s foremost natural treasures.

In this history-rich area, visitors can learn about the early fur trade at the Lower Sioux Agency or explore pioneer settlements at the Redwood County and Renville County Historical Societies.

At the Redwood County Museum, guests come to appreciate the role the steamboat played in developing parts of the region at the turn of the 20th century.

Guests can visit historic battlefields and develop a greater understanding of the events leading to the most significant conflict in Minnesota history, the Dakota Uprising.

Minnesota history happened here; visitors to Redwood and Renville Counties have the opportunity to witness the sites first-hand. Among other places, our guests may be interested in visiting:

Trace Your Family History in the Minnesota River Valley

Do you have parents or grandparents from Redwood County or Renville County? Visit any of our community libraries or museums to learn more about your family history.

To learn more about historical tourism in the Minnesota River Valley or to have your location added to our listing, contact us today.