Historical Marker in
Swift County, Minnesota

Minnesota is home to the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, Lake Superior. It covers over 31,000 square miles and contains 10% of the world's fresh surface water.

Swift County, Minnesota was established on February 18, 1870, named after Henry Adoniram Swift, who was the governor of Minnesota from 1863 to 1864. The county was initially inhabited by the Dakota Sioux Native Americans until European settlers arrived in the mid-1800s. The establishment of territorial boundaries during this time led to tensions between the settlers and the Dakota Sioux, resulting in several conflicts.

During the late 19th century, Swift County experienced rapid growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in 1879 allowed for easier transportation and opened avenues for trade. Agricultural activities, particularly wheat farming, became the backbone of the local economy. The county also saw the establishment of schools, churches, and civic organizations, which helped fostered a sense of community.

The early 20th century brought significant changes to Swift County. The declining wheat market and the impact of the Great Depression led to economic struggles for the local farming community. However, diversification into other crops such as corn, oats, and barley helped mitigate the effects of the downturn. Meanwhile, advancements in technology and irrigation techniques improved agricultural productivity.

In recent years, Swift County has faced challenges related to rural depopulation and economic diversification. Efforts have been made to attract new industries and promote tourism as means of revitalization. The county continues to uphold its agricultural heritage, while also embracing new opportunities for growth and development. Today, Swift County is known for its picturesque landscapes, small-town charm, and commitment to preserving its historical legacy.

  • 1858: Swift County is established on February 18, 1858, as one of the original nine counties of Minnesota Territory.
  • 1860: First permanent settlers arrive in the area.
  • 1869: The county seat is established in the town of Benson.
  • 1873: The St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reaches Swift County, leading to increased settlement.
  • 1882: The Great Northern Railway extends its line into the county.
  • 1894: A devastating tornado hits the town of Benson, causing extensive damage.
  • 1904: Construction of a courthouse begins in Benson.
  • 1911: The Benson Electric Light and Power Plant is established.
  • 1929: Swift County is affected by the Great Depression, which leads to economic difficulties for many residents.
  • 1943: Swift County Airport is established near Appleton.
  • 1970: Swift County Historical Society is formed to preserve the county's history.
  • 1984: The Swift County Monitor-News newspaper is established.
  • 2010: Swift County celebrates its 150th anniversary since its founding.