Historical Markers in
Grant County, Minnesota

Minnesota was named after the Minnesota River, which got its name from the Dakota Sioux word "Mnisota," meaning "sky-tinted water."
Grant County, located in western Minnesota, was established on March 6, 1868. It was named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was the Union general during the American Civil War and later became the 18th President of the United States. The county's history is closely tied to the development of agriculture and the settlement of the prairie lands.

The first settlers arrived in the late 1860s, drawn by the fertile soil and the promise of a new beginning. They faced numerous challenges including harsh weather, isolation, and limited resources. However, with determination and hard work, they managed to establish thriving farms and communities. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, Grant County continued to attract more settlers as the railroad expanded and brought new opportunities for trade and transportation.

During the 1930s, Grant County, like the rest of the country, was affected by the Great Depression. Many farmers struggled to maintain their livelihoods, but the resilience of the community allowed them to endure these difficult times. After World War II, Grant County experienced a period of post-war prosperity, with advancements in technology and modern agricultural methods boosting productivity.

Today, Grant County remains predominantly rural, with agriculture being the backbone of its economy. The county is known for its abundant fields of corn, soybeans, wheat, and livestock farming. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on sustainable farming practices and diversification of agricultural products. Grant County also boasts beautiful recreational areas, including lakes and parks, which attract visitors from both within and outside the state.

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

  • 1868 - Grant County is established.
  • 1874 - Pomme de Terre River is dammed, creating Lake Pomme de Terre.
  • 1881 - First railroad reaches Grant County, improving transportation access.
  • 1883 - First courthouse is built in Elbow Lake.
  • 1886 - First newspaper, the “Grant County Herald,” begins publication.
  • 1893 - Grant County's population reaches its peak at over 13,000 residents.
  • 1905 - Fire destroys most of the downtown area of Elbow Lake.
  • 1926 - The Pomme de Terre Irrigation Project is completed, bringing irrigation to the county.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression brings economic hardships to Grant County.
  • 1975 - A tornado strikes Elbow Lake, causing significant damage.
  • 1991 - The Grant County Museum is established to preserve local history.
  • 2010 - The population of Grant County is recorded at around 6,000 residents.