MinnPost’s Steve Date took a visual visit to Fort Snelling. Check out the rest of his beautiful photos of the fort and river valley.
Pike Island is great for urban animal watching. I’ve see the following while cross county skiing or hiking:
Various birds including Wild Turkey and a large owl that swooped over me one night while skiing.
On August 9, 1820, Col. Henry Levenworth signed a contract with the local Dakota Indians that gifted him a 15 acre reserve for Fort St. Anthony (Ft. Snelling by 1825). Included in that contract was a provision that granted ownership of Pike Island to Pelagie Faribault, wife of fur trader Jean Baptiste Faribault (Levenworth’s interpreter) and kin to Dakota Chief Little Crow’s band. Jean Baptiste put a trading post on the island and farmed it for a time but it flooded on a regular basis. By 1823 the Faribault’s moved to Mendota, first living in a log cabin and later building a limestone house in 1840 that is now part of Sibley House Historic Site. Pelagie and Jean Baptiste had 8 children, including Alexander Faribault who later founded Faribault, MN. Pelagie and Jean Baptiste are both buried in Faribault.
The Faribault’s retained ownership of Pike Island until March 12, 1839 when the War Department agreed to buy the island for $12,000 (approximately $240,000 today). A few months later Faribault signed a contract to have the house built for $5000. I found this information in “Pelagie Faribault’s Island” by Catherine Denial, Minnesota History, Summer 2010.
I deeply enjoy living near Fort Snelling/Minnehaha Falls, but I can’t help but be troubled by the difficult history of this land and at whose expense it became a park for me to enjoy.
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