Belle Plaine, MN

A quick history behind the slogan "A City that Works" of Belle Plaine

Stephanie Moua

BELLE PLAINE, MN - The story of Belle Plaine begins in the late 1840s that a few French fur traders established up trading stations along this picturesque river. Louie Robert was one of these pioneers who braved the severely cold winters of Minnesota and relished the freshness of Minnesota's nature. President Pierce appointed Judge Andrew Gould Chatfield to the Supreme Court as an associate justice. Basically, he ruled all of the west of the Mississippi River. On a Spring day in 1853, he was on his way to Traverse Des Sioux, where he would hold court.

It wasn't until he followed Native American routes through an intense forest, subsequently known as the "Big Woods," that he came to a magnificent prairie on the southern bank. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape. When he returned to the area in 1854, he claimed 192 acres to establish a town. Belle Plaine's southeast corner, south of Main Street and east of Meridian Street, is presently occupied by this property.

The following spring, in 1855, he claimed additional 320 acres, all of which are now part of our current town. For his living accommodations, he erected a cottage near the site of the former Sacred Heart Church. They laid up the city with Major Robert H. Rose and William W. Smith. In 1855, W. H. Stoddard conducted the survey. Because of the land's natural beauty, the town was called "Belle Plaine."

Judge Chatfield, Major Rose, and Wiliam Smith founded the Belle Plaine Company right after the town was laid out. There were 100 shares of $1,000 apiece, and with this money, improvements were made. As a result of the Belle Plaine Company's existence, several structures were constructed, and the city's developed. A significant number of lots were sold, and the community was on its way to a thriving start.

Due to a severe economic downturn in 1858, the Belle Plaine Company became deeply indebted. All of Belle Plaine's unsold properties were taken over by Daniel Ingersoll at this time, ending in the dissolution of Belle Plaine Company. This group had "roots" in hard-working folks who were devoted and had a solid determination to persevere despite all challenges. That is why they adopted the motto "The City that Works" and remain to its core until now!

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