History

In 1850 Sauk Rapids consisted of oak, maple and basswood trees. In 1851, the first home was built by W.H. Wood, it was a large mansion named Lynden Terrace. Soon other settlers followed and the town was named Sauk Rapids after the rapids just below the mouth of the Sauk River. Soon a general store was built, then a hotel, and a large jail. In 1856 the county seat moved to Watab, then returned to Sauk Rapids in 1859. A new courthouse was built, but then finally in 1897 the seat moved to Foley where it currently resides. In 1917 the courthouse burned. The first settlers organized a Congregational church that was soon followed by a Methodist, and Episcopalian and a Lutheran church. The first paper outside of St. Paul was the "Sauk Rapids Frontiersman". It started in 1854. In 1876 the first bridge was built, but then destroyed later in 1876. It was rebuilt in 1879. A flour mill was erected in 1875, then destroyed in 1886. In 1874 Sauk Rapids was the end of the line for the railroad. All the settlers from as far away as the upper Red River Valley brought their produce here to ship it. A six-horse stage coach made bi-weekly trips between St. Cloud and Crow Wing. The first school was built in 1886. Until 1886 Sauk Rapids was one of the most important cities in Minnesota. It stood a good chance of becoming even more so, but on April 14th at approximately 4:00 PM a cyclone struck the town. Everything in the path of the tornado was demolished. It swept through the heart of the City, wiping out all the stores. In Sauk Rapids alone, forty-four were killed and several hundred wounded. This event was a great set-back for the City, but today it is evident that Sauk Rapids has recovered from this event. Today Sauk Rapids is full of life and growing more each year. It has ample amounts of opportunity for everyone and continues to be on the cutting edge of development.

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