Treaties and Fort Snelling

Government Sawmill

Soldiers built the first water-powered mills at St. Anthony Falls. A small, wood-frame sawmill was erected on the west side in 1821 and a stone gristmill in 1823. Snelling ordered his men to keep white settlers off the military "reservation," although the army erected several outbuildings near the falls.

In 1805 the U.S. Government sent a young army lieutenant, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, to explore the northern reaches of the Louisiana Territory. Pike's mission was to acquire information about the land as well as Indian permission to erect military forts in this area. Pike procured a parcel of prime land that extended nine miles up the Mississippi from its junction with the Minnesota River. In 1820 Fort Snelling (first called Fort St. Anthony) was built at the confluence of the two rivers to demonstrate the western reach of United States power. Fort Snelling Military Reservation included most of what is now downtown Minneapolis.

In 1838 Dakota Indian land east of the Mississippi, with all its memories and sacred places, was opened to private ownership by white settlers. The land west of the Mississippi was purchased from the Dakota in the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and opened for settlement the next year.