Minnesota is home to the world's largest pelican statue, standing at 15.5 feet tall and located in the city of Pelican Rapids.
Dakota County, located in the southeastern part of Minnesota, has a rich history spanning thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Dakota Sioux, who lived along the Minnesota River and used the land for hunting, fishing, and farming. European settlers began arriving in the early 19th century, with the US government officially establishing a presence in the region through the 1837 Treaty of St. Peters.

The county's name itself, "Dakota," is derived from the native Sioux people who once thrived in the area. In the mid-19th century, Dakota County experienced significant growth and development. Towns such as Mendota and Hastings became key trading posts, as settlers arrived in search of agricultural opportunities and expanded their presence along the river.

However, the history of Dakota County also encompasses a darker period known as the US-Dakota War of 1862. The conflict arose due to tensions between Native American tribes and settlers, and it resulted in the expulsion of many Dakota Sioux from the area. The war left a lasting impact on the region, fueling distrust between the communities for years to come.

Following the turbulent period of the war, Dakota County gradually transitioned into a diverse and prosperous community. Today, it is one of the fastest-growing counties in Minnesota and is known for its thriving economy, excellent schools, and high quality of life. The county continues to honor and preserve its rich history, with various parks, museums, and historical sites dedicated to educating and reminding residents about the past.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Dakota County, Minnesota.

  • 1851 - Dakota County is established by territorial legislature
  • 1853 - Hastings becomes the county seat
  • 1856 - City of South St. Paul is platted
  • 1858 - Minnesota becomes a state
  • 1862 - Dakota War breaks out, affecting Dakota County
  • 1869 - Northfield Raid by Jesse James' gang
  • 1891 - Construction of the Minnesota State Training School in Red Wing
  • 1917 - Lebanon Hills Regional Park established
  • 1930 - Vermillion River is dammed to create the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam
  • 1976 - Lebanon Hills Regional Park opens to the public
  • 2000 - Population of Dakota County exceeds 300,000
  • 2017 - Apple Valley celebrates its 50th anniversary