In 1819, the 5th Regiment of Infantry arrived at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers to build the northwest link in this chain of forts and agencies. Here, where traffic could be controlled on two major rivers, Fort Snelling was completed in 1825. Colonel Josiah Snelling's officers and soldiers permanently changed the landscape. They made roads, built a gristmill and sawmill at St. Anthony Falls, planted hundreds of acres of vegetables, wheat and corn, cut hay for their livestock, felled trees for their fires and made the first documented weather recordings in the area. All the while they enforced the laws and policies of the United States.

For almost 30 years, Fort Snelling was the hub of the Upper Mississippi and the meeting place of diverse cultures. Dakota and Ojibwe gathered at the agency and fort to trade, debate government policy and perform their dances and sports. Traders stopped at the fort while their goods were inspected. The American and Columbia fur companies built headquarters nearby and employees' families settled at nearby Mendota.
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By: kjfitz


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