St. Paul, MN
It was obvious we had arrived home when the bumper to bumper traffic on I-494 in Eden Prairie had replaced the easy driving along two lane county and state highways in the southwest corner of the state. But that is alright, we will be heading out to greater traffic in Boston on Wednesday making the Twin Cities traffic seem easy in comparison.
Despite our pleasure at the Slayton Bakery for breakfast, we tried the “Grain Exchange” in Slayton for breakfast this morning. It opens at 5 AM so you know they are serious about breakfast. Once again, good food and prices and we were the only non-locals present. The temp was in the mid-40s with a breeze so our first walk at Lake Shetek State Park was a brisk one. Campers were starting to show up for the weekend.
This is an 1100 acre park with several camping areas. It forms the headwaters of the Des Moines River. It had its day of fame(infamy) during the US Dakota War of 1862 as several settlers were killed in this area during the conflict. This happened during the US Civil War and is little noted outside of Minnesota and among Native American tribes. For the last 140 years it seemed all that was written concerned the Indian uprising and the settlers that were killed. In the last decade the white population has come to acknowledge that the uprising occurred due to the United States consistent breaking of treaties and killing of Native Americans. The US government in this case continued for several years to allow settlers to encroach on Native American land and did not delivery the money and food promised in the treaties so Indian families were starving. When the Native Americans fought back including the killing of settlers, the militia put down the uprising, hung 38 Dakota men, and forced women and children to march to a camp near Fort Snelling where many died before being shipped out of state to South Dakota. A monument was erected in 1925 commemorating the valor of the militia. Obviously there are more details and nuances but this is a good summary.
Fort Ridgely, our second park of the day, was also involved in the Dakota Conflict. It was a garrison erected in 1853 to protect the Native Americans from encroaching settlers but it was powerless to stop the broken treaties and encroachment. Settlers fled to the fort for protection when the Native Americans rose up and started fighting for their land and food. The fort was able to hold out until additional troops arrived to end the battle. Today only a recreated commissary and recreated stone foundations of the barracks,e tc exist to mark the site. A state interpretative center is only open during warmer months-not today.
The drive home was uneventful except for the heavy traffic.
Ed and Chris 8 PM