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About Minneopa's Early Days

During the course of constructing a railway between Mankato and Lake Crystal, a railway station was built near the falls and in 1870 the town of Minneopa was laid out. Soon a general store, grain elevator, hotel, lumberyard, and blacksmith's shop sprung up and for a while the town flourished. But, after three consecutive crop failures during the 1870's grasshopper plagues, the town's economy was ruined. Minneopa was slowly abandoned and eventually disappeared. Nothing remains of the town site today.

For hundreds of years Native Americans knew these falls for their natural beauty. Later, European explorers, settlers and immigrants also came to appreciate these falls.

From 1858 until 1904, several different landowners operated private resorts around the falls. Although they were popular with southern Minnesotans, all the resorts eventually failed, limiting access to the falls.

After the failure of the last resort, a group of people who loved the falls and wanted to see it preserved and kept open to for all to enjoy, proposed the creation of a public park here. The idea of a public park was met with enthusiasm by the public and legislature. 

In January 1905, Ezra Gates, Blue Earth County Representative to the Minnesota Legislature, and others introduced legislation to create a state park on land surrounding the double falls of Minneopa Creek. The initial appropriation included $5,000 for the purchase of the land and falls. On April 19, 1905, the bill creating Minneopa State Park was approved and passed by the Minnesota Legislature.

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