Redwood Falls, Minnesota

From Academic Kids

Redwood Falls is a city located in Redwood County, Minnesota. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 5,459. It is the county seat of Redwood County6. All residents live withn Redwood County, but the city limits extend into Renville County as well.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.4 km² (4.8 mi²). 12.1 km² (4.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.09% water. The latitude of Redwood Falls is 44.539N. The longitude is -95.116W.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 5,459 people, 2,266 households, and 1,389 families residing in the city. The population density is 450.4/km² (1,167.1/mi²). There are 2,377 housing units at an average density of 196.1/km² (508.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 93.28% White, 0.22% African American, 3.88% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.77% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 2,266 households out of which 30.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% are married couples living together, 9.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% are non-families. 34.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.29 and the average family size is 2.94.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $38,812, and the median income for a family is $52,589. Males have a median income of $31,776 versus $24,085 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,279. 7.5% of the population and 5.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 6.3% of those under the age of 18 and 10.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


As the immigrant and Euro-American population of the North American east coast region grew, population pressures affected people far inland. People moved west to find new homes as more and more land was used by farmers. By 1700, Ojibwe and Dakota Oyate (nation) had come to what is now Minnesota and had come into conflict with each other.

In 1825, the United States government decreed a separation of the two groups. The Ojibwe were to live north of the boundary; the Dakota to the south. By the 1840s, most of the Dakota lived along the Mississippi River and Minnesota River in what is now the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

The traditional Dakota yearly cycle of farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering wild rice had been unalterably interrupted by cultural changes. Permanent farms were established by settlers. Forests were removed for timber and farmland in eastern Minnesota. Wild game like bison, elk, whitetail deer, and bear had been hunted so intensively that populations were tiny compared to the populations before Euro-American settlement. Dakota people relied on the sale of valuable furs to American traders to earn cash needed to buy necessities.

To encourage the Dakota to bring in more furs, traders offered mechandise on credit. It is not clear that the concept of credit was readily understood in the Dakota culture, but their dependence on trade goods was real.

Pressure from traders who wanted to be paid and concern from government officials about the ability of the Dakota to earn the money they wanted, led to the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. In exchange for money and goods, the Dakota agreed to live on a twenty mile wide reservation centered on a 75-mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. Much of the cash went directly to merchants. Much of the material goods were never delivered.

What is now Redwood Falls was within the reservation area. Corruption and malfesance by the federal Indian administration combined with the inability of many Dakota to adjust to change in functional ways created great hardships for the Dakota. In 1862, U.S. officials in Minnesota were distracted by the U.S. Civil War and the suffering of the Dakota was severe. Payments to the Dakota were not made and some young men took action to claim what they were owed, killing several people in the process. Thus began the Sioux Uprising.

As a result of the war, the U.S. government abolished the reservation and attempted to expel the Dakota people from Minnesota. In 1864, Sam McPhail, a colonel who had commanded U.S. troops in the war and was a land speculator, claimed the land where Redwood Falls is now located. He hired men to use lumber from the Dakota reservation to build a fortified house and surrounded it with a sod stockade eight feet tall. McPhail published the Redwood Falls Patriot from 1866 to 1869. He was a probate judge and first Redwood County attorney. In 1872, he donated land for the county courthouse.

One of the people who joined McPhail in 1864 was John St. George Honner. Honner claimed land north of Redwood Falls. The house he built in 1869, stands in North Redwood and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Honner was the first postmaster and a county official. He was a representative and a senator in the state legislature between 1866 and 1874. Honner also operated a granite quarry near North Redwood and supplied the stone for the county courthouse.

Redwood Falls is home to the Minnesota Inventors' Congress. Started in the 1958 to encourage innovation and entrepreuership and attract industry to town, MIC holds a juried exhibition each June. It also sponsers a contest for student inventors.

The city of Redwood Falls took over Ramsey Park in 1958 from the state of Minnesota. Ramsey had been one of the least used and least developed state parks.

External Links

The History of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Public Library (

Early History of Redwood Falls, City of Redwood Falls, Minnesota (

“Lower Sioux Agency History Center," America's Byways (


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