Post by ● Aug 8, 2015

City of Shakopee: A Brief History

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The City of Shakopee is so rich in history, that it is difficult to discuss in a brief manner. The city was once nothing more than a small trading post in the middle of nowhere, but now is one of the most populated areas in the south metro.

Shakopee has been home to Native Americans for thousands of years. The local village was named Tintonwan, which meant “village of the prairies.” In 1842, a steamboat gave a tour along the river, and two men found this location and wanted to settle in it.

In 1851, with the Treaties of Mendota and Traverse des Sioux, the area was opened for settlement. Thomas A. Holmes, who was “the father of Shakopee,” built a trading post near the Tintonwan village. In 1854, Holmes established the official Shakopay Village, naming it after the leader of the Dakota band, Chief Shakpay II. He had good relations with the indians for many years.

Shakopee was then incorporated as a city on May 23, 1857, which was a very early time to become a city in those days. Sadly, Shakopee’s city establishment didn’t last long. In October 1861, the State Territorial Legislature passed a very rare law where the city fell under government township. However, that did not stop the major attraction that settlers had to the area.

In 1860, Shakopee had a population of 1,138, a substantial amount in that period. For many years, the main way of transportation either as a passenger or for produce was through steamboats. However, a railroad was built in the township in the mid-1860’s.

Shakopee was again incorporated in the year of 1870. Within that time, business were prospering in the city. The most notable of its industries were its red and lime brick.

The beginning of the 1900’s brought many changes to Shakopee. While automobiles began to arrive in the area, the trains remained an important transportational piece to the city. In 1911, President William Taft visited the city by way of train. In 1910, the city’s population was 2,300.

Two of Shakopee’s most integral and oldest running businesses were built in 1930. They were Bill’s Toggery, a clothing store, and Rahr Malting, a malt manufacturing facility and they employed many of the early settlers. Shakopee’s economy began to shift in the 1960s with the development of the Valley Green Industrial Park, the metropolitan area’s largest ready-to-occupy industrial park. By the year of 1970, the City’s population had increased to 7,716.

One landmark, built in 1976, was Valleyfair Amusement Park. This park draws over 1 million people annually and put the city of Shakopee on the map. Ten years later, Canterbury Park was built for horse racing. This popular attraction draws over 600,000 visitors every year.

Although housing was established in large quantities during that time, Shakopee remained isolated. With the city being cut off by the Minnesota River, and not having any major access to larger highways, the city’s growth suffered. However, the integration of State Highway 13 and the addition of the bridge of U.S. Highway 169 over the Minnesota River solved all of the city’s developmental issues. In no time at all, Prior Lake experienced a residential boom. Today, the city has a population close to 40,000.

If you have any questions regarding the city of Shakopee, Minnesota, or if you would like to sell or buy a house in the area, please feel free to visit or call 1-800-909-1953.