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Redwood Falls is a city in Redwoodmarker and Renville Countiesmarker in the U.S. state of Minnesotamarker. The population was 5,459 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Redwood County.


As the immigrant and Euro-American population of the North American east coast region grew, population pressures affected people far inland. People moved west to find new homes as more and more land was used by farmers. By 1700, Ojibwe and Dakota Oyate (nation) had come to what is now Minnesotamarker and had come into conflict with each other.

In 1825, the United States government decreed a separation of the two groups. The Ojibwe were to live north of the boundary; the Dakota to the south. By the 1840s, most of the Dakota lived along the Mississippi River and Minnesota River in what is now the Minneapolis-St. Paulmarker metropolitan area.

The traditional Dakota yearly cycle of farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering wild rice had been unalterably interrupted by cultural changes. Permanent farms were established by settlers. Forests were removed for timber and farmland in eastern Minnesota. Wild game like bison, elk, whitetail deer, and bear had been hunted so intensively that populations were tiny compared to the populations before Euro-American settlement. Dakota people relied on the sale of valuable furs to American traders to earn cash needed to buy necessities.

To encourage the Dakota to bring in more furs, traders offered merchandise on credit. It is not clear that the concept of credit was readily understood in the Dakota culture, but their dependence on trade goods was real.

Pressure from traders who wanted to be paid and concern from government officials about the ability of the Dakota to earn the money they wanted, led to the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. In exchange for money and goods, the Dakota agreed to live on a twenty mile wide reservation centered on a 75-mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. Much of the cash went directly to merchants. Much of the material goods were never delivered.

What is now Redwood Falls was within the reservation area. Corruption and malfeasance by the Bureau of Indian Affairs combined with the inability of many Dakota to adjust to change in functional ways created great hardships for the Dakota. In 1862, U.S. officials in Minnesota were distracted by the U.S. Civil War and the suffering of the Dakota was severe. Payments to the Dakota were not made and some young men took action to claim what they were owed, killing several people in the process. Thus began the Dakota War of 1862.

As a result of the war, the U.S. government abolished the reservation and attempted to expel the Dakota people from Minnesota. In 1864, Sam McPhail, a colonel who had commanded U.S. troops in the war and was a land speculator, claimed the land where Redwood Falls is now located. He hired men to use lumber from the Dakota reservation to build a fortified house and surrounded it with a sod stockade eight feet tall. McPhail published the Redwood Falls Patriot from 1866 to 1869. He was a probate judge and first Redwood County attorney. In 1872, he donated land for the county courthouse.

One of the people who joined McPhail in 1864 was John St. George Honner. Honner claimed land north of Redwood Falls. The house he built in 1869, stands in North Redwood and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Honner was the first postmaster and a county official. He was a representative and a senator in the state legislature between 1866 and 1874. Honner also operated a granite quarry near North Redwood and supplied the stone for the county courthouse.

The cities of North Redwood and Redwood Falls recently merged and now coexist as the single entity Redwood Falls.

Redwood Falls is home to the Minnesota Inventors' Congress. Started in the 1958 to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and attract industry to town, MIC holds a juried exhibition each June. It also sponsors a contest for student inventors.

The city of Redwood Falls took over Ramsey Park in 1958 from the state of Minnesota. Ramsey had been one of the least used and least developed state parks.

In 1987, KRWF-TVmarker signed on from Redwood Falls as a semi-satellite of the Twin Cities' ABC affiliate, KSTP-TVmarker.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km²), of which, 4.7 square miles (12.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (2.09%) is water. The Redwood River flows through the city near its mouth at the Minnesota River.

Redwood Falls is located along U.S. Route 71. Other significant highways in the city include Minnesota State Highways 19 and 67.


As of the census of 2000, there were 5,459 people, 2,266 households, and 1,389 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,167.1 people per square mile (450.4/km²). There were 2,377 housing units at an average density of 508.2/sq mi (196.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.28% White, 0.22% African American, 3.88% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.77% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.92% of the population.

There were 2,266 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,812, and the median income for a family was $52,589. Males had a median income of $31,776 versus $24,085 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,279. About 5.3% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.


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