Welcome to the Minnesota Home Page on the River Roads!! This page has been designed to help you explore the towns along the Great River Roads and Mississippi River in Minnesota.  Here you will Information on history, special events, attractions, lodging, dining, local businesses and much more! We hope you enjoy your stay with us!

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Twin Cites Area Minnesota, which gets it's name from Dakota Indian word Minisota ("sky tinted waters"),  was first inhabited by Native Americans and has changed hands many times since then. 

When the first French fur traders, or voyageurs, arrived in the late 1600s, the Dakota (or Sioux) people had lived in Minnesota for many years. They hunted buffalo, fished, planted corn, beans, and squash, and harvested northern beds of wild rice. They lived in warm skin tipis in the winter and had airy bark houses, or wigwams, for the summer. The Anishinabe (or Ojibwe, also Chippewa) people moved into Minnesota from the east. They lived much like the Dakota, but from the French fur traders they obtained metal tools and weapons, cloth, blankets, and ornaments. By 1800, the Anishinabe had taken over the lakes and woods of the north.

In the early 1800s the U.S. government said it needed more land in this area. The Dakota signed a treaty with the U.S. government for the land where the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi, and, in the 1820s, Fort Snelling was built there. During the years that followed, the Dakota and Anishinabe tribes were forced to sign treaties to relinquish most of Minnesota to the U.S. government. Thousands of new people poured into the region to build farms and cut timber. On May 11, 1858, Minnesota entered the Union as the 32nd state.

By 1862, the Dakota were crowded into a small reservation along the Minnesota River. Times were hard and Indian families hungry. When the U.S. government broke its promises, some of the Dakota went to war against the farmers and towns. Many Dakota did not join in, but the fighting lasted six weeks and many people on both sides were killed or fled Minnesota. Afterwards the government forced most of the remaining Dakota to leave Minnesota. The Anishinabe stayed in northern Minnesota, and were not involved in the war.

The Dakota who stayed and those who eventually returned have formed four communities in southern Minnesota. There are seven Anishinabe Indian reservations in northern Minnesota. Many of the Indian people and their families who moved to the cities after World War II have continued to live there. 

Large numbers of immigrants came to Minnesota beginning in the 1830s to work in lumbering and farming. They were mainly from the eastern United States, Canada, and northern Europe. By 1900, the combined total of Scandinavians from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark outnumbered those from any single country. Later, as cities and new industries grew, people came also from eastern and southern Europe. Finland, Yugoslavia, and Italy sent many workers to Minnesota mines and factories. In 1900, nearly half of all Minnesotans were of German ancestry.

Minnesota is home to the "Twin Cities" or Minneapolis and St. Paul. Their location on the Mississippi River has allowed them to become one of the largest metropolitan areas of the United States. Minneapolis is the Midwest's trade center and is home to the world's largest supercomputer and grain distributors and St. Paul houses the nation's largest publisher of calendars and law books.

In addition to being one of the larger areas for trade and industry, Minnesota is also rich in natural resources and agriculture. Additionally, the "land of 10,000 lakes" provides plenty of opportunity for recreational and cultural activities.

For more information:

Minnesota Office of Tourism
500 Metro Square
121 7th Place E
St. Paul, MN 55101-2146
651-296-5029 or 1-800-657-3700

Hastings & Miesville
Red Wing
Wacouta & Frontenac
Lake City
Camp LaCupolis
& Reads Landing
Midland Junction
& Kellogg
Weaver & Minneiska
Minnesota City
& Goodview

Homer & Lamoille

Dakota & Dresbach
La Crescent
Brownsville & Reno

(Towns are listed from north to south)


State Symbols


Song: "Hail! Minnesota" Tree: Norway Pine (Pinus resinosa)
Grain: Galena Wild Rice (Zizania aquatica) Flower: Pink and White (Showy) Lady's Slipper (Cypripedum reginae)
Bird: Common Loon (Gavia immer) Drink: Milk
Fish: Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) Mushroom: Morel mushroom
Gemstone: Lake Superior Agate Muffin: Blueberry
Rock: Mozarkite Nickname: North Star State/
Land of 10,000 Lakes 



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Revised: 10/20/2001