The oldest public wildflower garden in the United States, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, is located in Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
Clay County, MN has a rich history that stretches back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Dakota Sioux and the Anishinaabe. These tribes utilized the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources.

In the early 19th century, European settlers began to arrive in the region. The establishment of a fur trading post by the American Fur Company in 1812 marked the beginning of a more permanent presence of European-Americans in the area. The fur trade served as a major economic activity for the early settlers.

In 1871, Clay County was officially organized and named after Henry Clay, a prominent American statesman. The county's development accelerated with the arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century. This transportation infrastructure facilitated the growth of agricultural and industrial activities, boosting the county's economy.

Over the years, Clay County has faced various challenges and triumphs. It experienced periods of economic prosperity, such as during the 1920s when the sugar beet industry boomed. The Great Depression of the 1930s caused significant hardships, but the county rebounded during World War II with its agricultural resources being utilized for the war effort.

Today, Clay County continues to thrive as a diverse and vibrant community. It is home to several cities, including Moorhead, which is known for its educational institutions, including Minnesota State University Moorhead. The county also boasts recreational opportunities, such as the Buffalo River State Park and the Red River of the North, which provide outdoor activities for residents and visitors alike.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Clay County, Minnesota.

  • 1858 - Clay County was established on March 8, 1858, as one of the original nine counties in the Minnesota Territory.
  • 1869 - The city of Moorhead was founded on October 6, 1869, as a railroad hub and quickly became the county seat.
  • 1871 - The first courthouse was completed in Moorhead in 1871.
  • 1872 - The first newspaper in Clay County, the Moorhead Enterprise, was established in 1872.
  • 1878 - The Great Northern Railway reached Moorhead in 1878, connecting the city to the west coast and promoting further growth.
  • 1881 - Concordia College, a private liberal arts college, was founded in Moorhead in 1881.
  • 1885 - The Clay County Historical Society, now known as the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, was established in 1885.
  • 1926 - The current Clay County Courthouse, a notable example of Renaissance Revival architecture, was completed in Moorhead in 1926.
  • 1997 - The Hjemkomst Center, a cultural heritage museum, was opened in Moorhead in 1997, showcasing the replica of a Viking ship.