Minnesota River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 332 miles
(534 km) long, in the U.S. state of
Minnesota. It drains a watershed of nearly 17,000 square miles
(44,000 km2), 14,751 square miles
(38,205 km2) in Minnesota and about 2,000 sq mi
(5180 km2) in South Dakota and Iowa.
in southwestern Minnesota, in Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota–South Dakota border just south of
the Laurentian Divide at the
Gap portage. It flows southeast to Mankato, then turns northeast. It joins the
Mississippi south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, near the historic Fort Snelling.
The valley is one of several distinct
regions of Minnesota
. As shown
on old maps of Fort Snelling, early explorers dubbed the waterway
the St. Pierre or St. Peter's River. Pierre-Charles Le Sueur
to visit the river, but there
is no consensus as to the origin of its original name.
Its name comes from the Lakota
meaning "water" and sota
is alternately translated "smoky-white" or "like the cloudy sky".
, and later
the state, were named for the river.
The valley that the Minnesota River flows in is up to five miles
(8 km) wide and 250 feet (80 m) deep. It was carved
into the landscape by the massive glacial River Warren
between 11,700 and
9,400 years ago at the end of the last ice
in North America
The river valley is notable as the origin and center of the
in Minnesota. In 1903 Carson Nesbit
Cosgrove, an entrepreneur in Le Sueur presided at the organizational meeting of the
Minnesota Valley Canning Company (later renamed Green Giant).
By 1930, the Minnesota
River valley had emerged as one of the country's largest producers
of sweet corn. Green Giant had five canneries in Minnesota in
addition to the original facility in Le Sueur. Cosgrove's son,
Edward, and grandson, Robert also served as heads of the company
over the ensuing decades before the company was swallowed by
. Several docks for
exist along the river. Dried goods are
transported to the ports of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and then
shipped down the Mississippi River.
Cities and towns
Notes and references
- Das Illustrirte Mississippithal, or, The Valley
of the Mississippi Illustrated. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota
Historical Society, 1967
- Sansome, Minnesota Underfoot, pp. 118-19.