The iconic animated characters of Rocky and Bullwinkle were created by Minnesota native Jay Ward in the 1950s.
Big Stone County, Minnesota has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was first inhabited by Native American tribes, notably the Dakota Sioux, who roamed the region for hunting and gathering purposes. European settlers arrived in the mid-19th century, attracted by the fertile land and the opportunities presented by the growing agriculture industry.

The county was officially established in 1862 and was named after the enormous granite boulders found in the region. Early settlers predominantly engaged in farming, with crops like wheat, corn, and oats being the mainstays of the local economy. The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century provided a significant boost to the county's agricultural industry as it allowed for easier transportation of goods.

In the early 20th century, Big Stone County experienced a period of economic growth, with the mining industry becoming a major player. Granite quarries were established, providing a valuable source of building materials for projects across the country. Despite the economic boom, the Great Depression in the 1930s brought hardship and financial difficulties to the area, leading to a decline in mining operations and population.

In more recent times, Big Stone County has focused on diversifying its economy beyond agriculture and mining. The county has prioritized tourism, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and hiking enthusiasts to explore the beautiful lakes and parks in the area. Agriculture, though still a vital component of the local economy, has seen advancements in technology and techniques.

Today, Big Stone County remains a picturesque rural area, with a rich history that is preserved in its museums and landmarks. It continues to be a thriving community, balancing its traditional roots with modern developments and opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Big Stone County, Minnesota.

  • 1862 - Big Stone County is established as a county in Minnesota.
  • 1870s - European settlers begin to arrive in the area.
  • 1877 - Ortonville becomes the county seat.
  • 1881 - The first library is established in Ortonville.
  • 1890s - Agriculture becomes the main industry in the county.
  • 1893 - Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge is established.
  • 1910 - The first automobile arrives in the county.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression impacts the local economy.
  • 1940s - World War II brings changes and challenges to the county.
  • 1950s - Improved roads and technology contribute to economic growth.
  • 1960s - The construction of Big Stone Power Plant begins.
  • 1975 - The dam at Big Stone Lake is completed.
  • 1980s - Tourism becomes a significant part of the local economy.
  • 1990s - The county experiences population decline.
  • 2005 - Big Stone Wind Farm, Minnesota's largest wind farm, is built.