A place of big plans and broken dreams...


The Minnesota River Valley has been home to many cultures. Paleo, Archaic, Plains, Woodland, Iowa, Oneota and Dakota Indians followed each other in the basin. After 1852, settlers from Europe and the eastern U. S. came to the valley looking for a better life.

Farm families, merchants, craftsmen, town developers and dreamers saw great opportunities in the valley. Some merchants and promoters, such as Brown, found success in the valley in supplying provisions and transportation for this westward movement. Others did not survive the rigors of pioneer life. Many returned on to Colorado, Oregon and California.

As settlers' farms displaced the traditional hunting grounds of the Dakota, some Dakota people accepted the immigrants' religions and farming practices. Following the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War, the Dakota people experienced the loss of both traditional and newly adopted lifestyles as they were forced onto reservations further west. Immigrants and Dakota alike lost much because of this six week war.

The Minnesota River Valley... Find out how these and other stories of hope and despair played out in the Minnesota River Valley in the second floor exhibit area.

On North 6th Street, Henderson, (On the left when traveling north)
Official (Historical Marker Database)
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