Bennett New 37 29 80 86 - geo

M a r y B e n n et t
M N G e o g r a p hy
C o o n R a p i d s , 2 01 1
Charles Axel Nelson emigrated from Sweden to Duluth at the age of 18. He married
Anna Peterson, also a Swedish native. He worked as a captain of a fishing tug
casting his nets near the rivers along the North Shore. His favorite place to cast was
the cove at the mouth of the Poplar River. In 1885 he filed for a homestead of 160
acres at the mouth of the Poplar River. It cost him $12.00!
Visitors to the region seeking shelter soon discovered hospitality at the Nelson home.
New settlers to the region, such as hunters, fisherman, mineral explorers, loggers
and timer “cruisers” arrived by boat, wagon, sleigh, horseback, dog team, or even on
foot. This was the very beginnings of the Lutsen Lodge and Resort as we know it
Besides the Lutsen Lodge and Resort, there is also the Lutsen Mountains.
Lutsen’s Sawtooth Mountain Park is tucked into the ancient Sawtooth Mountain
Range that anchors the coast of Lake Superior along North Shore. Unique in the
Midwest, this is a true mountain range, born of volcanic uprising millions of years
ago which form the dramatic escarpments and rugged terrain that now loom 1000
feet above the coastline. The Sawtooth Mountain Park at Lutsen sprawls across
roughly 1000 acres.
In the winter there is skiing.
In the summer there is
an alpine slide.
The Mountain Tram is open in the summer as well as the winter. If you take the tram up Moose
Mountain, you may be able to see the following:
Ruffed Grouse
Timber Wolves
Pine Martin
Just up the road from Lutsen is the 5050 acre Cascade River State Park. Spring, summer,
winter or fall, this is a beautiful place to hike, fish, and camp in the summer and cross country
ski in the winter.
 Wildlife: Wildlife abounds in this hilly terrain. Moose, wolves, pine martens, bears, and
many other animals have been sighted in this park. Wintering deer converge from the
interior to Lake Superior's south facing slope. Here the temperatures are warmer, the snow
is not as deep, it is more sheltered from the wind, and the conifers provide food and cover.
During the summer months, the area along the North Shore abounds with a variety of birds
and hawks. Visitors can enjoy being serenaded by the sweet chorus of warblers and
 History: Years ago, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had a camp at the Cascade River.
The men in this camp worked on a variety of conservation projects. Today, you can see
some of their handiwork on the trails that wind along the river. One enrollee told how they
cut and moved the large pine logs from Cascade down to Gooseberry Falls State Park to
finish buildings in that park. From the beginning, Cascade was thought of as a state park,
but it wasn't until 1957 that it was officially designated as such.
 Geology: Its geologic history is what really makes the dramatic landscapes of the North
Shore and Cascade River State Park. It started 1.1 billion years ago, when the ancient
continental bedrock split apart and became covered with molten lava which welled up from
below the Earth’s crust. This formed nearly all the bedrock underlying the North Shore,
including this park. Soon after this intense volcanism stopped, streams deposited sediment
over the lava beds. Much later, starting about 2 million years ago, great glaciers from the
north scoured the area several times, leaving the present Lake Superior basin. Erosive
forces, especially the rivers and lake waves, are still in action today. The Cascade River, one
of the largest of the North Shore rivers, is constantly deepening its gorge as it cuts down
through the ancient basalt lava flows.
 Landscape: Aptly named, the Cascade River flows down one ledge after another for a total
drop of 900 feet in the last three miles of its journey to Lake Superior. The park setting is a
boreal hardwood-conifer forest of aspen, birch, fir, spruce and cedar. Visitors can stand on
the footbridge that spans the river, or at any of the viewing spots above the river, and feel
the vibration of the rushing torrent of water as it cascades down a volcanic canyon
Also located on page 37, is the Superior National Forest, which also encompasses
the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and the Gunflint Trail.
 Superior National Forest: Three million acres of land, water, tock and trees
cover the Superior National Forest which was established in 1909. Of this, over
445,000 acres or 695 square miles of the forest is surface water. Pines grow in
this area along with aspen spruce and fir trees. Wildlife species include deer,
moose, and black bear. This area is also home to Canada lynx, and grey wolf,
among others.
 BWCA: This area was set aside in 1926
to preserve its primitive character and
made a part of the National Wilderness
Preservation System in 1964. This area
is over 1 million acres in size, it extends
nearly 150 miles along the International
Boundary adjacent to Canada’s Quetico
Provincial Park and is bordered on the
west by Voyageurs National Park. The
BWCAW contains over 1200 miles of
canoe routes, 12 hiking trails and over
2000 designated campsites.
 Gunflint Trail: The original path that has today become the Gunflint Trail was originally an
overland footpath used to travel from the inland lakes to the shore of Lake Superior. No one
knows precisely when the footpath was established, but we can guess that it was hundreds of
years ago, and it was first used by the native Sioux, then Ojibwe who have called this area
home for hundreds of years. As more people discovered the recreational possibilities (and
natural resources) in this area (and as cars became popular and available), the path was
widened to a road in stages. An overland road existed from Grand Marais to the eastern end
of Rove Lake in the 1870s (Rove Lake Road) where a trading post was located. The road was
extended from Hungry Jack Lake to Poplar Lake to Gunflint Lake and the Cross River from
approximately 1891-1893. For decades it was a primitive dirt, then gravel road, and it was
navigated rather slowly so as not to damage one's car. (Source: Pioneers in the Wilderness by
Willis H. Raff, 1981, Cook County Historical Society)
Visiting the Superior National Forest, BWCA and the Gunflint Trail has been enjoyed
by people year round. In the summer, there is camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing,
along with many other outdoor activities. In the winter, there is snowshoeing, cross
country skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.
However, in visiting any of these areas, you will need to review if permits are needed,
where entry points are, and what type of activities are allowed in the specific areas
as well as if there are any restrictions (i.e. burning, etc.).
One reason to check for restrictions is that in the evening hours of July 4, 1999, a
storm with estimated winds of 90 miles per hour, swept across northern Minnesota.
This storm affected approximately 477,000 acres of the Superior National Forest and
includes approximately 370,000 acres of the BWCA.
Located in the BWCA is Minnesota’s highest peak, Eagle Mountain (2301 feet). This
is a lengthy hike of 7 miles round –trip. Once you are at the top, on a clear day you
can see for miles which include many surround lakes as well as Lake Superior.
Another hike that is off the Gunflint Trail is the Magnetic Rock Trail. This is an easy
3 mile hike. The attraction is there is an iron bearing Magnetic Rock that is about
60 feet with a strong magnetic attraction. It is recommended y the Forest Service
to bring your compass to test the magnetism. There are two large rocks on the trail
before you get to the Magnetic Rock so don't be fooled by them.
Winding its way through the map is the North Country National Scenic Trail. This
trail is America’s longest National Scenic Trail stretching 4200 miles from New York
to North Dakota.
The Superior Hiking Trail is also on this
page. The Superior Hiking Trail is a
277 mile footpath that largely follows
the rocky ridgeline above Lake
Superior from Duluth to the Canadian
border. The trail is ideal for day hikes
as well as backpacking trips.
Lastly, we cannot forget about Lake Superior. While driving up Highway 61, there
are breathtaking views of the lake. Here are some quick facts about Lake Superior:
Size: 31,7000 square miles
Deepest spot: 1,332 feet
Volume: 3 quadrillion gallons
Shoreline length: 1,826 miles
Elevation: 600 feet above sea level
Average water temperature: 40º Fahrenheit
Average underwater visibility: 27 feet
 Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and the
third largest by volume.
 Lake Superior holds ten percent of the world’s fresh surface water.
 Lake Superior has 78 fish species.
 Lake Superior is the cleanest, clearest and coldest of the Great Lakes.
One of Lake Superior’s attractions is looking for the Lake Superior Agate. Here are some facts on how to
hunt for them:
 General description: Lake Superior agates are generally shaped as irregular spheres. They are made up
of quartz, often reddened by iron and deposited in layers to create concentric circles that look like the
rings on the cross section of a tree.
 Size: Lake Superior agates range from about the size of a pea to up to more than 20 pounds.
 Color: Red, orange, and yellow, all caused by iron, are the main colors in Lake Superior agates.
 Formation: The history of Lake Superior agates traces back to about a billion years ago. The North
American continent began to split, creating a large rift valley, and lava welled up in the area of what is
now Lake Superior. Bubbles of air were trapped in the lava (similar to the way bubbles of air appear in a
pan of water before it begins to boil.) After the lava cooled, water seeped into the holes created by the
bubbles and deposited iron, quartz, and other minerals in layers, creating agates. As the surrounding
volcanic rock was worn away by erosion or the scouring action of glaciers, agates were released from the
lava and moved to other places.
 Types: Rock collectors classify Lake Superior agates
according to their appearance. For example, agates that
have a cross section showing circles or other shapes
repeated in many layers are called fortification agates. The
name comes from the fact that the shapes look like the
walls of a fortress. The eye agate has circles that look a
little bit like eyes on its surface. Moss agates have treebranch-shaped bits of minerals trapped in them.
All Indian tribes have names for themselves. The largest Indian group in Minnesota
calls itself Anishinaabe, which means "the original people." Europeans named them
Ojibwe. No one is exactly sure how this name developed. Perhaps it came from the
Anishinaabe word "ojib," which describes the puckered moccasins worn by the
people. Some Europeans had trouble saying Ojibwe, pronouncing it instead as
Chippewa. But both these names refer to the same people. In Canada, the
Anishinaabe call themselves Ojibwe. In the United States, many tribal members
prefer the name Chippewa. So that is the name we will use in this history of White
Earth Reservation.
White Earth Reservation is located in Becker, Clearwater, and Mahnomen counties
in north-central Minnesota. Created in 1867 by a treaty between the United
States and the Mississippi Band of Chippewa Indians, it is one of seven Chippewa
reservations in Minnesota. Although the White Earth Chippewa no longer live as
their ancestors did, they have kept alive their tribal heritage. Almost every aspect
of their present-day life has been strongly influenced by the past.
Located in the northwest corner of the reservation is the small town of Bejou,
Minnesota. Bejou Township and its railway village received this name, changed in
pronunciation and spelling, from the French words Bon jour ("Good day") of the
former fur traders and voyageurs. It is the common Ojibwe salutation on meeting
friends or even strangers, used like the familiar English and American greeting,
"How do you do?" The city in sections 22, 23, 26, and 27, incorporated as a village
on January 13, 1921, was created by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie
Railroad (Soo Line) in 1904 as a railroad village; its post office began in 1906. As
of the 2000 census, there were 94 people living in Bejou.
The next town to visit is Red Lake Falls. Red Lake Falls was the site of a North West Company
fur post as early as 1796 or 1797, making it one of the oldest sites of European occupation in
the State of Minnesota. A French Canadian fur trader, Jean Baptiste Cadotte, the son of the
noted British-Canadian fur trader, Alexander Henry, established the post as part of a strategy
to ward off Hudson's Bay Company intrusion into the Red River Valley. The famous Canadian
explorer, David Thompson, took shelter from a storm in Cadotte's cabin here in March 1798.
The post was abandoned early in the 1800’s, as British fur traders withdrew from United
States territory.
The surrounding territory was homesteaded by French-American settlers led by Pierre
Bottineau, who were relocating via ox cart from their temporary stopping points in Ramsey
and Hennepin Counties, Minnesota, in 1876. These pioneers were augmented in 1878 by a
number of French Canadian settlers from Upper Canada. The area developed as a grain
farming region. In 1878, Earnest Buse and his partner, Otto Kankel, established a flour mill at
the confluence of the two rivers.
The town of Red Lake Falls soon after was platted by Mr. Buse, who then moved on to other
environs. (The Kankel family continued as a prominent presence in the town through the
1950’s). The town prospered for a time, as both the Northern Pacific Railway and the Great
Northern Railway ran their lines through the town in the 1880’s and early 1890’s (both lines
are now abandoned), and when Red Lake County split off from Polk County, in 1896, Red
Lake Falls became the county seat of the newly formed county, a reason for existence that
persists to the present day. The population peaked shortly afterwards, in 1900, and has been
in decline ever since.
Red Lake Falls from Kretzschmar Avenue, Red Lake
Falls Minnesota, approximately 1880
Main Avenue looking NE from 1st Street, Red Lake Falls Minnesota,
Courthouse, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 1909
View from the Courthouse looking south, Red Lake Falls
Minnesota, approximately 1910's
Red Lake County Courthouse, Red Lake Falls
Minnesota, 2008
Street scene, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 2008
Pierre Bottineau Monument, Red Lake Falls
Minnesota, 2008
Pierre Bottineau Monument, Red Lake Falls Minnesota,
Next is the Glacial
Ridge National
Wildlife Refuge. This
is located 6 miles
west of Mentor
(highlighted in red on
the map). The
refuge is the green
area on the map.
The nation's 54th national wildlife refuge - Glacial Ridge Refuge in northwest
Minnesota - was officially created on October 12, 2004. Launched with the donation
of a 2,000 acre parcel by the Nature Conservancy, the refuge will eventually cover
35,000 acres, becoming the largest tall grass prairie and wetland restoration project
in the United States. This refuge will become a major waterfowl breeding and
nesting area. It will provide critical habitat for declining grassland birds, greater
prairie chickens, sandhill cranes, as well as the endangered western prairie fringed
orchid, among other species.
Glacial Ridge offers an opportunity for The Nature Conservancy and its partners to
undertake the largest prairie and wetland restoration project in U.S. history. Only
about 5,000 acres are native prairie; the rest has been used for gravel extraction,
crop production and cattle and sheep grazing. When restored, the grassland and
wetland areas will provide excellent habitat for prairie nesting birds, threatened
prairie plants and animals.
Greater Prairie Chicken
Why the Conservancy Selected this Site: The Glacial Ridge Project presents the
Conservancy and its partners with an unequaled opportunity to conserve and restore
a unique landscape. In October 2004, it was designated as a U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Refuge. In addition to its biological importance, the restoration of Glacial Ridge
should help improve water quality for the city of Crookston and reduce flooding in the
Red River Valley.
Habitat fragmentation and invasion by exotic species (non-native plants and animals)
are the most significant threats to the project's native biodiversity. The property
connects to other wildlife and recreational areas and, when the project is complete,
the Nature Conservancy and its partners will have restored more than 8,000 acres of
wetlands and about 16,000 acres of Tallgrass Prairie.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing:
The Conservancy purchased the Glacial Ridge Project area in August 2000. To date,
the Conservancy has restored 173 wetlands and seeded more than 11,000 acres of
prairie. Since the acquisition, Conservancy staff have been working with several
other conservation partners and restoration biologists on a master restoration plan.
 Natural History:
Beach ridges formed from Glacial Lake Agassiz, vegetated with true tallgrass prairie is the heart
and soul of the refuge.
The ultimate restoration of 8,000 acres of wetlands and 15,000 acres of prairie will
complement the existing 5,000 acres of untilled native prairie.
The return of the greater prairie chicken will be the star of success
 Refuge Objectives:
Strive to maintain diversity and increase abundance of waterfowl and other migratory bird
species dependent of prairie wetland and grassland habitats
Conserve, manage, and restore the diversity and viability of native fish, wildlife and plant
populations associated with tallgrass prairie and prairie wetlands
Work in partnership with others to restore or enhance native tallgrass prairie, prairie wetlands
and unique plant communities
Restore, enhance, and protect water quality and quantity that approach natural hydrologic
Provide for compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses by the public, emphasizing
increased understanding of the northern tallgrass prairie ecosystem and the mission of the
National Wildlife Refuge System
 Public Use Opportunities:
Wildlife observation and photography highlighted by greater prairie chicken, and migrating waterfowl and
sandhill cranes
Prairie Chicken viewing blinds, managed in cooperation with the Crookston Chamber of Commerce
Annual Prairie Appreciation Day event
Environmental education and interpretation
Hunting plan approved in 2004
Special prairie chicken hunt for people with disabilities initiated in 2008
 Future Public Use Opportunities:
Walking, biking and cross country ski trails
Prairie interpretive trail and kiosk
Interpretation of historic Pembina Oxcart Trail
Observation Platforms
Buffalo observation area
Interpretive center
Deer, migratory bird and upland game hunts for youth and persons with disabilities
The last stop we will make on this page is Crookston, MN. Crookston has a rich
history of being a lumber town as well as being an early transportation hub when
oxcarts passed through on their way to St. Paul. Most recently, sugar beets have
been a major crop for this area as well as a producer for sunflowers.
One place to visit while you are there is Widman’s Candy Shop located downtown, on
Broadway. The interior dates back to its earliest years. The same family still runs
the place and much of the candy is still home made. Widman’s celebrated 100
years of busniess in January 2011.
Street in Crookston.
Photograph Collection ca. 1870
Broadway, Crookston. 1911
Aerial View, University of Minnesota Crookston Campus, 1933
It was not Horace Greeley's advice, "Go west, young man, and grow up with the
country," which brought the first white people to the area in extreme southwestern
Minnesota where grasses on the upland prairie stood taller than the average man. It
was instead a curiosity gleaned from Native American legends and the folklore
surrounding a pipestone quarry that attracted the inquisitive pioneers.
George Catlin, an author and popular portrait painter, had heard about the red rock
while visiting tribes on the upper Mississippi River in the early 1800's. He was
confident that it was different from other known minerals and set out to find it.
Reaching the area on horseback, he wrote that he was "crossing one of the most
beautiful prairie countries in the world...covered with the richest soil, and furnishes
an abundance of good water, which flows from a thousand living springs."
As he drew near the quarry he found "great difficulty in approaching, being stopped
by several hundred Indians, who ordered us back and threatened us very hard, saying
'that no white man had ever been to it, and that none should ever go.'"
Catlin forged ahead, arriving in 1836. He recorded, in painting and writing, the Native
American's activities at the quarry. Before he left, he collected a sample of the red
stone and sent it to Washington, D.C., to be analyzed. The new stone was given the
geological name catlinite.
Pipestone Quarry on the Coteau des Prairies, 1836–37
oil, by George Caitlin
Charles Bennett, a druggist from Le Mars, Iowa, was also intrigued by the legends of the pipestone quarry. He
first traveled there in 1873 with a party of four others. He decided then that it would be the ideal place to
establish a town. Previously, settlement of the region had been slowed by territorial disputes between the
area's Native Americans and the U.S. government and eventually by the Civil War.
Bennett returned in 1874 and, using a load of lumber hauled from Luverne, built the city's first house. The
five-foot tall building was only meant to serve as a marker to show passers by that a claim had been made.
After the death of his wife and infant son in Le Mars, Bennett asked his friend Daniel Sweet to return and hold
his claim site.
Bennett moved to Pipestone permanently in 1875. A grasshopper plague in 1876 drove some new residents
away from the area, but Bennett and Sweet stayed on and platted the township of Pipestone City. New
settlers arrived and by 1878, Pipestone was a small but thriving trade center.
Bennett was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Pipestone in 1879 by contributing cash and land to the
rail companies. He also persuaded the Close Brothers Land Office, realtors from England, to open an office in
Pipestone in 1884. The Close Brothers were partially responsible for a five-fold increase in the number of
businesses within a year of the first train arrival and by 1880 the population of Pipestone was more than 200.
In 1883 an architect named Wallace Dow proposed using the abundance of local quartzite for exterior
building block material. The concept was well received, and within a year, more than thirty commercial
structures were built with quartzite. Stone block products were sold to cities as far away as Chicago. The
quartzite quarry flourished as an important early industry.
An industry just as valuable today as it was in the 1800s is farming. Over the years the rich soils have
produced grains and corn which have fed cattle and sheep.
Calumet Hotel
Pipestone Carnegie Library
Pipestone County Court House
Just northwest of Pipestone is the Pipestone
National Monument.
For countless generations, American Indians have
quarried the red pipestone found at this site.
These grounds are sacred to many people
because the pipestone quarried here is carved into
pipes used for prayer. Many believe that the pipe's
smoke carries one's prayer to the Great Spirit. The
traditions of quarrying and pipemaking continue
here today.
While quarrying is the first and most basic step of
the pipestone tradition, it is the least appreciated
part. The task of extracting pipestone from the
earth requires a commitment to many days of
physically challenging work with hand tools and
methods that differ very little from those used in
centuries past. Quarries are allocated by permit
issued by the Monument but demand for quarries
far exceeds the number available each year.
Despite a lengthy waiting list American Indians
from many tribes accept the challenge and
continue the quarrying tradition.
According to geologists, pipestone was formed when a stream system deposited
layer upon layer of sand and other sediment. The sand was eventually compressed
into sandstone, and the red clay under it into clay stone. Some sediment was
removed by one of the four glaciers which traveled through the area and scraped the
land down to the sandstone. Under the weight of the glaciers and with extremely
high temperatures, the sandstone became quartzite and the red clay sediment
turned into pipestone.
The vein of pipestone is sandwiched between two layers of hard quartzite, four to
twelve feet below the earth's surface.
There are also other things to do at Pipestone National Monument besides the
Indoor activities include:
 Visitor Center
 Gift Shop
 Interpretive Programs and Demonstrations
 “Pipestone: An Unbroken Legacy, : a 22 minute film
Outdoor activities include:
 Hiking
 Picnicking
Did you know:
 Two species listed under the Endangered Species Act are found at Pipestone
National Monument: the Topeka shiner and the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.
 Pipestone National Monument is one of the few remaining areas of native
tallgrass prairie. Over 400,000 square miles of tall grass prairie once covered
the Midwest. Less than 1% of the original tall grass prairie remains today.
Next, we will stop at Split Rock Creek State Park. This 1303 acre state park is
located just southwest of Pipestone on Highway 23.
 Wildlife: Lake and prairie animals inhabit the park. Meadowlarks, beavers, and
waterfowl can be seen along the lakeshore. The southern, wooded part of the
park is home to woodpeckers, fox squirrels, and other woodland animals.
 History: A large dam was completed in 1938 by the Works Progress
Administration (WPA). The dam was constructed of Sioux Quartzite, a hard red
rock that was quarried locally for use in the building of the dam and nearby
highway bridge. The park was developed to provide water-based recreation for an
area of the state that has few lakes.
 Geology: Three major ice movements during the ice age deposited a thick layer of
sand, gravel, rocks, and clay called till, which are several hundred feet in some
areas. Under the till lays a hard pink bedrock known as Sioux quartzite. This hard
metamorphic rock was quarried in the area for use as a building material.
 Landscape: The park is located in the Coteau des Prairies ("highlands of the
prairie") Landscape Region. Rock outcrops and shallow soil prevented much of
the land within the park from being plowed. However, grazing by domestic
livestock has diminished the native grasses and wildflowers. Late summer offers
visitors a panorama of prairie colors among the wildflowers and grasses.
Our next stop is the 1826 acre Blue Mounds State Park which is down south on Highway 75
from Pipestone.
History: Plains Indians depended on the bison to survive. Different weapons were used to kill
bison including the lance, and the bow and arrow. It is not known if the park's quartzite cliffs
were used by the Plains Indians to stampede the bison off the cliff. Local rumors have persisted
for years on the existence of large quantities of bison bones piled at the base of the cliff.
No evidence exists today to substantiate these claims and stories. The large rock outcrop, first
known as "The Mound," has provided the park area with an exciting past. The cliff appeared
blue to settlers going west in the 1860s and 1870s. They named the prominent landmark, the
Blue Mound. The mystery of the Blue Mound is not restricted to the cliffs. At the Mound's
southern end is a 1,250 foot long line of rocks aligned in a east-west direction. Who built it and
why is unknown. It is known that on the first day of spring and fall, the sunrise and sunset are
lined up on this stone alignment. Visitors can hike to these rocks.
In 1934, Rock County citizens asked the U.S. government for a Work Projects Administration
(WPA) project in the Blue Mounds area. The first phase of the project was completed in 1937
with the construction of two dams on Mound Creek. These form the present lakes in the park.
In the 1950s, thousands of trees were planted around the two lakes and in the campground. In
1961, the name of the park was changed from the Mound Springs Recreation Area to Blue
Mounds State Park. That wasn't the only change: the park added three bison from the Fort
Niobrara Wildlife Refuge near Valentine, Nebraska to start the present bison herd. Today, the
Blue Mounds' herd is maintained at more than 100 bison.
Geology: The Sioux quartzite rock was formed on the bottom of an ancient sea. Vast
quantities of sand were deposited on this ancient sea floor. Ripple marks from this
sandy, watery origin have been preserved and can be seen along many of the park's
rock outcrops. Sandstone was formed from the further accumulation and weight of
sand water. Through time, heat and chemical reactions transformed the sandstone
into a very hard quartzite. The pink to purplish color in the quartzite is due to the
presence of iron oxide. Glaciers have been the most recent geological event to shape
the landscape in the last two million years. Glacial striations and scratches gouged
into rock when loose rocks were dragged across the bedrock can be seen along the
rock outcrops near the cliff line. Retreating glaciers buried the surrounding bedrock
with a "glacial drift" of rock, sand, and gravel 200-300 feet deep. The last glacial
advance, known as the Wisconsin Ice Stage, did not cover the southwest corner of
Wildlife: Bison, elk, wolves and prairie chickens roamed this part of Minnesota over 150-200
years ago. Today, a herd of bison resides in the park. The park has a small population of
coyotes and a stable deer population. Birdwatchers can catch glimpses of several western
species as well as the birds of the tallgrass prairie.
Landscape: Blue Mounds State Park contains a small remaining fragment of the once vast
tallgrass prairie which covered much of North America. The abundant rock outcrops and
shallow soil prevented much of the land within the park from being plowed. However, heavy
grazing by domestic livestock has diminished the native grasses and wildflowers and introduced
foreign and exotic, weedy plants. Special management programs are now underway to restore
the native grasses and wildflowers. Late summer offers visitors a panorama of prairie colors
when hundreds of different wildflowers bloom and grasses grow. For example, the big bluestem
grasses grow to seven feet tall, at a rate of almost an inch a day. In addition, Blue Mounds is
one of several places in Minnesota where cactus grows. Patches of prickly pear cactus can be
found growing in shallow soils atop the quartzite outcrops. In late June and early July, the yellow
flower of the cactus blooms.
The southwest part of Minnesota is also an area that has large wind turbines. Suzlon
Rotor Corporation, a manufacturer and supplier of rotor blades and nose cones, is
located in Pipestone, and there are nearly 1000 Wind Turbines located in Southwest
Minnesota on Buffalo Ridge.
The next stop is Luverne. In 1867, the first mail
route was mapped from Blue Earth, Minnesota, to
Yankton, South Dakota. Philo Hawes, the man
who first mapped Luverne, stopped at his regular
camping grounds on the Blue Mounds. He
discovered that better land lay more to the south.
He then traveled to the present site of the Public
Works Department in Luverne and built a stable
large enough to hold six horses. This stable, which
was created from poles and clay, was the very
beginning of present day in Luverne. Mr. and Mrs.
Hawes named the city after their daughter,
In 1871, the very first school was founded in
Luverne. The first high school was established in
July 1883, and in 1888, two students finished the
four-year study course becoming the first
graduating class of Luverne High School.
On October 2, 1876, the first passenger train
arrived in the village of Luverne. Today, the city of
Luverne has a population of approximately 4,625
people, and is the county seat of Rock County.
Luverne was also one of the towns that premiered the documentary “The War” by
Ken Burns. The documentary featured many people from the area of Luverne
including Al McIntosh, the owner of the Rock County Herald. He moved to Luverne in
1940, fulfilling his dream of owning a small-town newspaper. He got to know
everyone in town and chronicled the war’s impact on his neighbors’ lives in his
biweekly column.
Of the 21 male graduates of Luverne High School’s class of 1939, 20 served in the
armed forces — only a boy with a heart condition stayed behind.
Al McIntosh
The area was home to nomadic Sioux, Ojibwa, and Winnebago tribes of Native Americans. In
1851, the Sioux ceded the land to Minnesota Territory in the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and
Mendota, which opened the land for settlement.
Rochester itself was founded by George Head in 1854; his land claim is now part of the city's
business district. Originally from Rochester, New York, Head had settled in Waukesha,
Wisconsin before moving west to Minnesota. He named the village on the South Fork of the
Zumbro River after his New York hometown, and built a log cabin his family operated as Head's
Tavern. By 1856, the population had grown to 50; and by 1858, it was 1,500. The territorial
legislature created Olmsted County on February 20, 1855, with Rochester named county seat in
1857. Rochester developed as a stagecoach stop between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Dubuque,
Iowa. When the railroad arrived in the 1860’s, it brought new residents and business
opportunities. In 1863, Dr. William W. Mayo arrived as the examining surgeon for draftees in
the Civil War.
The streets of downtown Rochester filled with
horses and buggies in the 1800’s.
On Aug. 22, 1883 a tornado, some
say two tornadoes that merged
into one angry cloud just north of
town, had cut a mile-wide swath
through the fast-growing city of
10,000 the evening before. The
twister flattened an entire
quadrant of the city, known as
Lower Town, in the vicinity of the
current Northrop education
building. Dozens of businesses
were damaged, many beyond
repair, and more than 200 people
were left homeless. The tornado
left 37 dead and thousands
There was no medical facility at the time, so Dr. William W. Mayo and his two sons,
Drs. Charles and William J. Mayo, worked together to care for the wounded. $60,000
in donations were collected and the Sisters of St. Francis, assisted by Dr. William W.
Mayo, opened a new facility named St. Mary’s Hospital in 1889. The Mayo practice
grew and is today among the largest and most well-respected medical facilities in the
world. Because of it’s history, tours are available at the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. William Worrall Mayo, center, and his sons Dr.
Charles Mayo, left, and Dr. William J. Mayo, right.
The next place we will visit is the small town of Harmony located South of Rochester
on Highway 52. Harmony Township, settled in the fall of 1852, was organized, May
11, 1858. The city of Harmony was founded in 1880, incorporated on January 8,
1896, and reincorporated on March 19, 1908.
Harmony is known for Niagara Cave and the large Amish community.
Harmony's Amish community is the largest in Minnesota and is strictly "Old Order" Amish,
meaning that the people are very private and have strong Christian convictions that bind their
community together enabling them to resist the ways of modern society. They began their
move to this area in 1974 and have grown to nearly 150 families with six church "districts"
and ten one-room schools.
As in other sizeable settlements, a small tourism industry has developed here. In addition to
the businesses the Amish themselves run, visitors to the area are catered to by tour
companies which visit Amish farms and merchants and provide information on the community
and Amish way of life.
Next we will go to Nigara Cave, which is just southwest of Harmony. Niagara Cave is
one of the most fascinating and unique geological attractions in the Midwest. During
the one-hour guided tour, visitors will witness a waterfall, nearly 60 feet high,
stalactites both delicate and massive, calcite flowstone, fossils that have been dated
to over 400 million years old.
Niagara cave is a constant 48 degrees year around, so a light jacket or sweatshirt is
suggested. Walking shoes are recommended.
Horn Coral Fossil
The Falls
Gastropod Fossil
Receptaculites Fossil
Grandfather Stalactite
Our next stop is Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. This 3,170 acre state park is
located west of Preston (the red dot on the map).
 Wildlife: The great variety of habitats supports remarkably different wildlife ranging from
rare glacial snails to timber rattlesnakes. While a few rattlers live in the park, they are of
very little threat if left alone. Please report sightings. Other wildlife of note include deer,
raccoon, beaver, mink, opossum, woodchucks, four species of squirrels, red and grey fox.
Coyote numbers have grown in recent years and can often can be heard at dusk. Several
species of reptiles and amphibians are also present. At least 175 species of birds have been
recorded in the park including several important neotropical migrants (scarlet tanager, oven
bird, redstart) and a sizeable population of wild turkeys. Barred owls often wake campers
with after dark calling and soaring turkey vultures delight summer visitors.
 History: In the center of the park, along the South Branch of the Root River, is the townsite of
Forestville. Founded in 1853, the village emerged as a rural trade center, typical of hundreds
that emerged across southern Minnesota during the 1850s. Area farmers came to
Forestville to trade their farm produce for goods and services. By 1858, Forestville
numbered 100 inhabitants and had 20 buildings including two general stores, a grist mill, a
brickyard, two hotels, a school, and mechanics of several trades. Forestville prospered until
the first area railroad, the Southern Minnesota, bypassed the community in 1868. Village
residents watched their town struggle to survive, while towns served by the railroad boomed
with prosperity. By 1890, Thomas J. Meighen, son of one of the town's founders, owned the
entire village. The 50 residents made their living on Mr. Meighen’s farm. In return for their
work, his employees received housing, board and credit in his store. Mr. Meighen also
maintained a post office, the school, a feed and a saw mill.
 Geology: Two to five hundred million years ago material was deposited in the bottom of
shallow seas which intermittently covered large portions of North America. As the deposits
increased in thickness, the layers on the bottom were compressed to form limestone, shale
and sandstone. Today in the park, these rocks are 1300 feet above the sea. They are an
important factor in the development of the terrain which exists now.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is located within the karst region of Minnesota. Karst
occurs in areas of soluble rocks, usually limestone or dolomite. As rainwater percolates
through the soil, it is rendered slightly acidic as it picks up carbon dioxide from microbial
decay of organic soil material. This fortified water has the capacity to dissolve the rock. The
effects of this dissolving action are minute from the perspective of a human’s lifetime.
However, over the course of many thousands of years, dramatic changes occur; the typical
features of karst develop – caves and sinkholes form; underground drainage occurs. The
park exhibits many karst features including one of the most outstanding karst features in
the state, Mystery Cave. The cave is a maze of linear corridors. Over twelve miles of passage
exist in two rock layers with strikingly different compositions. During dry years, the entire
South Branch Root River sinks into the cave through gravel filled crevices in the river bottom.
Forestville also exhibits features of the unglaciated or “driftless” region. Of the four major
glacial advances during the last million years, only the first two covered the vicinity of
Forestville. Downcutting of stream valleys by powerful glacial meltwater created the steep
hills and bluffs we see in the park and surrounding area today.
 Landscape: The steep bluffland topography has created a marked variety of
localized climate conditions. South-facing slopes are warmer and drier. Northfacing slopes are cooler and wetter. In addition, Forestville/Mystery Cave is
located at the edge of two great biomes: the tallgrass prairie to the west, and the
eastern deciduous forest. This combination has resulted in a striking mosaic of
plant communities included prairie, savanna, oak woodland, maple/basswood
forest, and even white pine and fir. Three spring-fed streams converge in the park,
providing habitat for a rich variety of stream life. These streams are rated among
the best trout waters in Minnesota.
 Mystery Cave Tours: Discovered in 1937, Mystery Cave is the longest cave in Minnesota spanning over 13 miles underground. It is a network of passages that was dissolved by
moving water.
On the tours, you will travel the subterranean paths this water has taken, seeing
many of the features that make up Mystery Cave including stalactites,
stalagmites, flowstone, fossils, and beautiful underground pools. Parks
naturalists lead your tour through various portions of the cave and explain its
history, its features, and how it was formed.
 Please Remember!
Warm dress and sturdy shoes are recommended
(underground temperature is 48°F/9°C).
Rocks and artifacts must be left in the cave!
Our last stop is covering most of page 86 as well as pages 78 and 87, the 1,016,204 acre Richard J. Dorer
Memorial Hardwood State Forest. The RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is located in southeastern Minnesota.
This state forest includes bluffs of the Great River Road of the Mississippi River and a number state water
trails. Cannon River, Whitewater River, Root River, Zumbro River, and Vermillion River State Water Trails are
within the forest's boundaries.
 History: The Minnesota Legislature established the Whitewater Management Area in 1931. Richard J.
Dorer, working for what would become the DNR, helped establish the Whitewater's boundaries and
lobbied for funds to buy the land. Dorer, however, saw the need to protect and reforest a larger tract of
land. In 1958 he was joined by Willis Kruger, Wabasha County game warden; Phillip Nordeen, Goodhue
County game warden; George Meyer, Whitewater refuge manager; and Ed Franey, Minneapolis
conservation writer. These men worked with the Izaak Walton League to develop a prospectus after
Dorer's first plan was rejected as too visionary and costly by the Minnesota Legislature. The prospectus,
which was endorsed by the league, was transformed into law, and on March 17, 1960, George A. Selke,
then commissioner of conservation, announced the creation of the Minnesota Memorial Hardwood Forest.
The Memorial Hardwood State Forest was created in 1961 as a memorial to the state's pioneers and
veterans. In addition to the recreational and aesthetic opportunities of all state forests, the founders of
the RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest set out additional goals. Improved wildlife habitat, prevention
of erosion, stability of streams, and timber production were set out as specific conservation goals for the
 Management Activities: The RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is unique in that the state does not own
most of the land. In fact, the state only owns 45,000 acres out of the 1 million acres covered by the
forest. Strangely, not even all of the land is forested at present. The forest also represents what used to
be forested land. RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is also the only forest where the use of mountain bikes,
horses, OHVs, and ATVs is restricted to designated trails only.
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