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MINNESOTA Fargo St. Cloud Twin Cities

Pssst... Yes, you. Lean in a little closer.

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LAC QUI PARLE rle River Lac qui Pa


e wouldn’t want to shout this. It’s just for the select few, like you and me, who value life in the slow lane. People who long for the quiet, the relaxing, the sounds of nature and the renewal of soul one can find only in special places. The places with the awe-inspiring sunsets that span so far you have to turn your head to take it all in. The places with sounds of birds or rippling creeks, NOT interrupted by city noises. The places with people so welcoming you just might feel like the complete stranger is really a long lost friend. The places where local foods, clean air, and wholesome fun combine to create the perfect getaway. Such a place exists in a western area of Minnesota. Four counties, Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine, combine under one name to offer the most relaxing, the most memorable, most amazing experience of nature, heritage, and beauty. We call it Prairie Waters. You’ll call it memorable. Come see for yourself. Breathtaking waterways flow through channels cut more than a hundred centuries ago when the last great ice age receded the area. Today the Minnesota River, along with its major tributaries, the Chippewa, Pomme de Terre, and Yellow Medicine, are a recreational magnet to fishermen, paddlers, birders, and nature lovers. Tucked among great fields of corn, soybeans or sugar beets you’ll find communities rich in culture and heritage and classic buildings listed on the National Register. Home to some of Minnesota’s renowned authors and artists, the land is a true reflection of the creativity it spawns. Ethnic offerings can be found in the foods, arts, festivals and traditions. We encourage visitors to relax, travel slowly, and discover the essence of the area. Slow down. It’s better that way.


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YELLOW MEDICINE Yellow Medicine River


Yellow Medicine County. . . . . . . . 4-7 Lac qui Parle County . . . . . . . . . . 8-11

Outdoor Adventures. . . . . . . . . . . . 12-14 Bucket List. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-17 Swift County. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18-21 Chippewa County. . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-27 Museums. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29 Arts and Entertainment. . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Publisher: This publication is produced by Itineraries, Inc, in partnership with Western Minnesota Prairie Waters CVB.

Itineraries, Inc.

56 South 33rd Avenue #234 St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301 320-259-1082 877-832-7267 Fax 763-201-7945

Western Minnesota Prairie Waters

323 West Schlieman Avenue Appleton, Minnesota 56208 866-866-5423 Visit the NEW Prairie Waters website for a list of shops & things to do!

COVER PHOTO CREDITS: Appleton Park, Bird Watching at Salt Lake, and Montevideo Parade provided by Western MN Prairie Waters Association Tipi at Upper Sioux State Park courtesy of Tom Watson THANKS TO ALL OF OUR PHOTO CONTRIBUTORS! The Appleton Press, Dirk McCargar, Kristi Link Fernholz, Brad Fernholz, Angie Steinbach, Steve Jones, Joyce Nokleby, Lacey Fahl, Jim & Neva Foster, Nicole Zempel, Fagen Fighters WWII Museum, Tom Watson, Jeff Mills, Tom Cherveny, and member cities. FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTORS OF TOURISM IN PRAIRIE WATERS: Chippewa County, Lac qui Parle County, Swift County, Yellow Medicine County, Cities of Appleton, Canby, Clara City, Dawson, Granite Falls, Madison, Milan, Montevideo



Saint Leo Porter

ellow Medicine, or Pejuhutazizi in the Dakota language, is the name of the bitter root of the moonseed plant used by the Native Americans for medicinal purposes, and the source of this 758-square-mile county’s name. In addition to the area’s Indian heritage, early settlers included mostly English, Scandinavian, German, Irish, Scottish and Bohemian immigrants. The Minnesota River cuts through what is now the eastern boundary of Yellow Medicine County. Enjoy the granite waterfalls, rolling hills and meandering streams that accompany this major river. Members of the Dakota Nation found the prairie and the Minnesota River bottoms a bountiful place to live, making this entire area rich in the history of Dakota culture. From the riverbank, today’s visitors can fish for walleye, northern, catfish, bullhead


Hazel Run


Granite Falls Popcorn Stand



Granite Falls Hanley Falls

Wood Lake


and carp. Watch for white pelicans and great blue herons along edges of shallow pools. Spotted sandpipers, killdeer and other shore birds frequently hunt for insects on the gravel bars and mudflats along the river. Red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures and white pelicans catch the air currents above the valley. Bald eagles winter in the Minnesota River Valley. Even if you are just passing through, take a drive along Minnesota’s state scenic byway, the King of Trails – U.S. Highway 75. It runs through three of Western Minnesota Prairie Waters’ counties: Yellow Medicine, Lac qui Parle and Big Stone. Today, the popular Upper Sioux Agency State Park near Granite Falls offers some of the best natural and Native American cultural educational opportunities in the region. For thousands of years, glaciers advanced, covered and retreated over central Minnesota. These glaciers left several hundred feet of rock, sand and gravel, known as “glacial drift,” which covered the granite and gneiss bedrock. The Upper Sioux Agency State Park sits on a plateau of this glacial drift and contains the site of the Upper Sioux or “Yellow Medicine Agency,” established in 1963. The Upper Sioux Agency was originally established by the federal government in 1854 as a center for instructing the Dakota people in farming methods of white settlers. But the agency never realized its mission,

for by 1862 the program was plagued by frequent food shortages and delays in promised annuity payments. Resulting dissension between farmers and non-farmer Native Americans set the scene for tragic conflict. During this struggle most of the agency buildings were destroyed. One remaining structure, a brick duplex, has been restored to its pre-1862 appearance, and the foundations of others are marked. Today, in addition to the Native American interpretive opportunities (you can even rent a tipi there to heighten your experience), there is a full state park to enjoy.


The Wood Lake Monument at County Road 18, west of Highway 67 between Granite Falls and Echo, commemorates the battle of Wood Lake fought here on September 23, 1862 between the forces of General Sibley and Little Crow. Aside from its rich history, Wood Lake offers beautiful green prairies and friendly people. Book your next group event at the Wood Lake Community Center!


Nestled along the banks of the Minnesota River, just past the Chippewa County border, is the quaint town of Granite Falls. In community parks such as Memorial, Lende Plaza and Sorlien, visitors and residents alike experience the peaceful | 1-866-866-5432

lifestyle of this prairie river community. Today’s Granite Falls lifestyle includes many cultural opportunities including the Prairie Arts Chorale, theatre, poetry, dance and orchestra. The Western Fest Stampede PRCA Rodeo and other summer activities represent western culture annually, and the Yellow Medicine County Museum at the intersection of Highways 23 & 67 features exhibits from Granite Falls’ past, including displays of history, geology, archaeology and Native American artifacts. With both the Yellow Medicine and Minnesota Rivers in town, recreation abounds in opportunities for fishing, paddling and birding. Or just seek out back roads and historic places for a little low-key fun. Enjoy the Granite Falls golf course, baseball at Richter Field, and lots of enjoyable activities at the Kilowatt Community Center. Three miles south of Granite Falls, you’ll find Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort, proudly owned and operated by the Upper Sioux Community. Prairie’s Edge features luxurious hotel rooms and suites, exhilarating gaming

action, exceptional cuisine, and a spacious convention center. South of Prairie’s Edge lies western Minnesota’s most recent treasure: the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum. Read all about it on page 28. More history can be found at the Andrew J. Volstead House, “Father of Prohibition,” listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a walk across the Historic Walking Bridge that spans the Minnesota River in downtown Granite Falls, then top off your visit with a salty snack at Granite Falls Kiwanis Popcorn Stand.


Not far from Granite Falls is the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. The 1,280-acre park was established to preserve and interpret the remains of the old agency site. It offers open prairie knolls, bluffs, and cool, wooded slopes, plus trails ideal for horseback riding, hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. The park also offers a huge sledding hill for winter fun.

Hanley Falls threshing show


Follow Highway 23 southwest of Granite Falls to Hanley Falls, home of Minnesota’s Machinery Museum. The museum offers indoor exhibits of pioneer farm machinery and vintage automobiles, most of which are still fully operational. You’ll find large displays of equipment and tools, décor from early farm homes, a room full of beautiful handmade quilts, and other reminders of early Minnesota. A summertime regional threshing show is held the first full weekend in August. The museum hosts six acres of buildings


and authentic equipment, making this one of Minnesota’s premier agricultural museums. Bring a picnic and enjoy a kick back experience!


As the westernmost city in Yellow Medicine County, Canby is known as “The Gateway to the Prairie.” Located at the junction of US Highway 75 (the King of Trails) and State Highway 68, the town sits in the center of a broad, flat valley and offers breathtaking views of the Coteau des Prairies and Buffalo Ridge in South Dakota. You’re invited to visit this great community and take advantage of all they have to offer. If you are looking for quality of life, this is the place. Canby proudly hosts the annual community festival known as Hat Daze, held over Father’s Day weekend. The Yellow Medicine County Fair is also held here annually in July. Del Clark Lake, just southwest of Canby, is the perfect place to picnic, enjoy the basketball or volleyball courts, bird watch or camp above the lakeshore. Take a tour of the Lund-Hoel


House Museum, proudly showcasing American-Victorian architecture (read more on page 29). The area offers an abundance of recreational and leisure activities including hunting, fishing, shooting sports, a swimming pool, bowling, horseshoes, disc golf and camping. The newly renovated movie theatre is a result of an extremely successful community effort. The Canby Arts Committee is very active and sponsors several events, including Music in the Park on several Mondays in the summer. Escape to the smaller communities of Echo, Porter, St. Leo, and Hazel Run and enjoy life far from the bustle of the big city.


Clarkfield is known as the “Heart of the Prairie,” and is full of recreational opportunities. Enjoy camping in North Park, golf 9 holes at the disc golf course, or cool off at the Clarkfield Swimming Pool. The town also boasts an excellent K-6 Charter School as well as the Clarkfield Care Center, offering assisted living and community-based health care.


Louisburg Bellingham Nassau Marietta



Dawson Boyd

Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area


ac qui Parle is French for “lake that speaks,” a fitting name the French explorers gave the lake in the region. Visit the lake in Lac qui Parle State Park in the spring or fall and you’ll understand why. As a stopover for thousands of migratory Canada geese and other waterfowl, the lake area resounds a delightful chorus of honking, quacking, and other birdcalls. Today, the lake and river define the northeast boundary of Lac qui Parle County. Bordering lakes (including Marsh Lake upstream from Lac qui Parle Lake) offer some of the area’s best wildlife viewing and birding opportunities. Paddle the lake; cast a line and catch walleye, northern, perch, and crappies; explore the trails by foot or horseback. Convenient access points lure anglers and hunters from throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest, while paddlers canoe or kayak the many challenging stretches of Lac qui Parle River.


In the fall of 1958, a mere 150 Canada geese appeared at Lac qui Parle. Since the formation of the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, as many as 150,000 geese at a time converge during the spring and fall. Truly a magnificent sight! They arrive in early March from their primary wintering post at Swan Lake, Missouri. Spring migrations continue through April. 8

Then, in late September, geese arrive continually until the last ones leave in early December. Flights of whistling swans pass over Lac qui Parle in April and November. Pelicans also nest in the area on a one-acre island in the lake. While in the area, don’t miss the 27,000-acre Lac qui Parle Wildlife Refuge. On the northern border of the county, in addition to all the refuge’s amenities, there are several excellent birding routes, the most famous is Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area. In addition to being the only alkaline wetland in Minnesota (1/3rd as salty as seawater) this 312-acre body of shallow water attracts an amazing variety of birds. With more than 150 bird species documented, the area is a sort of migrating bird haven. Each spring, in late April, the Minnesota Ornithological Union conducts a special birding field trip to this site, near Marietta, Minnesota.


The county’s early history includes the Lac qui Parle Village site where Chief Wakamane of the Wahpeton Dakota Native American people developed a village and planting site. There is also evidence of the old Red River Ox Cart Trail, an early military and commercial route.

The Camp Release State Monument stands on the edge of Montevideo, just off Highway 212, and stands as a reminder of Minnesota’s early state history. The Minnesota River Valley and Montevideo played an integral part in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. In the fall of 1862, the Dakota tribes surrendered to Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley on a bluff overlooking the valley and the present day site of Montevideo. The monument was the first property added to the state park system and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The Camp Release Monument was dedicated on July 4, 1894, commemorating the release of 269 captives and the surrender of about 1,200 Dakota people at the end of the conflict. The four faces of the 51-foot granite monument are inscribed with information about the battles that took place along the Minnesota River during the conflict, the Dakota’s surrender, and the | 1-866-866-5432

Dawson creation of the monument. The Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway Alliance added three interpretation signs in 2011.


Madison is the county seat of Lac qui Parle County. An ambitious, fun-loving community (who else would celebrate “Stinker Days?”) right in the heart of the county, it is close to some of the region’s most renowned birding areas: Salt Lake to the southwest, and Marsh Lake and Lac qui Parle Lake to the north and east respectively. The city of Madison is the largest population center in the area and boasts a rich heritage. It’s the birthplace of Minnesota’s Poet Laureate and best-selling author, Robert Bly. The Lac qui Parle County Historical Center features many items from Bly’s youth as well as native artifacts, pioneer memorabilia, wildlife displays, Native American artifacts, the popular Ethel Mehlum Doll Collection and more. Madison is also the home of the county fair and features dirt track auto racing each weekend during the summer. Madison’s own Lac qui Parle Players provide community theatre entertainment featuring local and national talent. This local community theatre troupe schedules performances in the Prairie Arts Center each season that showcase comedy, tragedy, music and dance. Don’t forget that Madison is the Lutefisk Capital of the USA and home of “Lou T. Fisk” – you’ll be greeted by the 25-foot-long cod statue when you arrive in town via south Highway 75. Madison’s Lutefisk Eating Champion, Jerry Osteraas,

can eat eight pounds in one sitting! Come and take him on during the annual Norsefest celebration which is held the 2nd weekend in November. That event includes the Lutefisk Eating Contest which has been featured nationally on the Travel Channel, CBS Sunday Morning and other outlets. Minnesota’s U.S. Highway 75, The Historic King of Trails, runs right through Madison tying this town to a corridor that runs from Winnipeg to the Gulf of Mexico. Both Madison and nearby Boyd have several structures on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The longest running community festival in the entire United States, the annual Boyd Good Time Days Festival, is held every June.


swimming pool, relaxing parks, volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, softball complex, BMX course, picnic shelters, playground, and a new family fun Frisbee Disk Golf Course. A ten-site campground with electrical hook-ups and water service is available near the swimming pool park. Not to mention, the unique shops and restaurants make a visit to Dawson worthwhile! Don’t miss Memorial Auditorium for quality arts performances! Since 2001 the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association has offered events at Memorial Auditorium from September to June each year. A wide variety of entertainment includes classical, folk, chamber and popular music, plus children’s theatre, dance and comedy. See the Arts & Entertainment section on page 30 for more information. Dawson cherishes its historic buildings! The remodeled Dawson Armory is listed on the National Historic Register. The building houses the public library, a unique mezzanine art gallery, a history center and several apartments. Also located a short drive from Dawson is Churchill Dam, Lac qui Parle Refuge, Marsh Lake Wildlife Management Area, Pioneer Village and The Historic Ox Cart Trail.

Dawson, a community rich in Scandinavian heritage, is in the heart of Prairie Waters farmland. Whimsically known as “Gnometown USA,” you’ll find gnome statues located at the City Park along Highway 212 and at homes throughout the town. These gnomes are created by a local artist in honor of various members of the community. During Riverfest, held the last weekend in June, a new gnome is unveiled. The annual celebration also includes softball tournaments, music, food and fireworks. Robert Bly Studio The Lac qui Parle River flows through Dawson, creating a beautiful setting for the new riverside walking/biking trail. Dawson offers a great range of activities, including a 9-hole golf course, a new beautiful outdoor

9 | 1-866-866-5432

Madison Annual Events: July Summerfest & Stinker Days November Norsefest Lutefisk eating contest & more! December Visit Santaland USA

For more information: 320.598.7301


H o m e to “ Lo u T . F is k�


outdoor adventures


eaving the city behind brings adventurous opportunities for the outdoor minded. Famous for excellent hunting and fishing, the Prairie Waters region is a natural playground for many other outdoor pursuits.

HUNTING The Prairie Waters region sits on one of the major North American flyways attracting over 150,000 geese each season. With 150,000 acres of state-run wildlife management areas open to public hunting and wildlife viewing, the region is a magnet for hunters from coast to coast. Additionally, thousands of mallards, wood ducks, canvasbacks and other species can be found in rivers, ponds and marshes scattered throughout the area. Ring-necked pheasants and turkeys are hunted throughout the year. Whitetail deer hunting remains popular in the region, especially in the lowlands near rivers and streams. Agricultural fields immediately adjacent to marshes and rivers are especially high potential areas for deer and other wildlife. A wealth of pertinent hunting information is available throughout the region at LqP Refuge Headquarters and local DNR offices, as well as online, or contact Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Tourism.

WILDLIFE VIEWING Key wildlife viewing spots throughout the Prairie Waters area include the state parks, all the wildlife management areas and even the countless country roads. Wildlife viewing and birding along roadsides 12

provide visitors with numerous encounters in a day’s venture. Expect to see cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, foxes, otters, raccoons and striped & spotted skunks. The region is also experiencing a growing population of coyotes. You might chance a sighting in broad daylight as one of these long, lean-legged, wolf-like canines lopes across an open field.

OHV activities. Other features in the park include shelter/picnic areas.



One of the most inspiring sights in nature is the bald eagle, whether in flight or perched on its nest high in the trees. Look for their large nests high in large white or red pine, aspen or cottonwood trees, near lakes and rivers in remote areas. Other bird species you might spot in the region include loggerhead shrike, ruddy turnstone, bobolink, Swainson’s hawk, western grebe, and cinnamon teal. Marsh Lake, a man-made reservoir on the Minnesota River west of Appleton, has one of the only two nesting colonies of white pelican in Minnesota. See the map on pages 16-17 for prime birding locations in the region.

From kayak to canoe, your humanpowered watercraft shows off some of the best scenery and wildlife viewing in the state as you glide over the rivers throughout Prairie Waters. Dropping down beneath the expansive prairie is a network of deeply cut ravines and canyon-like corridors lined with towering cottonwoods and oaks. Don’t be surprised if a gigantic gray owl flies silently across your bow as you round a river bend. The rivers of Prairie Waters – Pomme de Terre, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine and Hawk Creek – are the major recognized canoeing routes in the region. Several maps are available that show the many river access points. Riffles and rapids, depending upon the season and amount of rainfall, may break quiet reflection. Expect many miles of winding waters between put-ins and take-outs, as these rivers make a myriad of turns and twists. While many of the lakes are shallow, most enable paddlers an opportunity to trace their shorelines in search of waterfowl and other shore birds. There are many put-in points along the road system, making the river all the more inviting.

OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE Challenging trails to accommodate all Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) skill levels beckon at The Appleton Area Recreation Park, one of Minnesota’s newest, public off-road vehicle parks. The 330-acre site currently includes more than seven miles of trails, including five miles specifically designed for all-terrain vehicles. In addition, there is one mile of motorcycle and one mile of enduro trails. The site also features jumps, sand dunes and other | 1-866-866-5432

SNOWMOBILING Routes traverse the entire region, from treeless prairie to quiet woods. Winter months in the OHV Park near Appleton offer snowmobilers miles and miles of groomed and un-groomed trails.

outdoor adventures


By Chris Domeier, MN DNR Fisheries


hether you enjoy speed-trolling plugs, casting worms into rippling river pools, or jigging through a hole in the ice, west central Minnesota’s bountiful prairie lakes and rivers abound with sport fish. If you have walleye on the brain, recommended waters include Lac qui Parle, Artichoke and Oliver Lakes, and the Minnesota River. Good catches often result during spring and winter with jigs and minnows. Plugs work well during early summer, especially for bigger fish. Maybe a peaceful afternoon spent sitting on the bank of a river is what you have in mind. Take some stink bait and give catfish a try. Summer is the best time to go, and good choices include the Minnesota, Pomme de Terre, and Yellow Medicine Rivers, as well as Lac qui Parle Lake. More adventurous anglers enjoy exploring fishing holes off the beaten path by using a canoe or small boat. Ready to try something different?

Sheepshead—also known as freshwater drum—are plentiful in the area. They bite well all summer long, especially in the Minnesota River and Lac qui Parle Lake. (Hint: drum 10”-14” long are delicious.) Fall fishing for walleye tends to heat up when the water cools down in the area lakes and rivers, especially below rapids areas and dams. Fall is a great time to plan that combination fishing and hunting trip because substantial public hunting land exists in the area. Ice fishing is a popular winter activity, with anglers seeking primarily walleye, crappie, northern pike and yellow perch. Lower Lac qui Parle Lake often produces some very nice catches of giant crappies. Walleye fishing is usually good on area lakes, especially during December. Check with area bait shops for the latest news on when and where the fish are biting. Have fun exploring the area’s waters! Most importantly, be safe and always wear your life jacket.

where can i catch fish?

Yellow Medicine County

Lac qui Parle County

Swift County

Chippewa County

Yellow Channel Flathead White Sheeps- Largemouth Northern Walleye Perch Crappie Bullhead Catfish Catfish Bass head Bass Bluegill Pike


Camp Lake ( )

Del Clark ( )

John ( )

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Lac qui Parle (


Lake Sylvan ( ) Marsh (


Minnesota River (


Monson Lake ( ) Oliver ( )

Porter ( )

Swift Falls Reservoir ( ) Tyson Lake ( )

Wood Lake ( ) | 1-866-866-5432


outdoor adventures

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Dawson Golf Co urse

Appleton Parks | 320-289-1527 Appleton Municipal Campground, Riverview Park, Veterans Park

Bellingham City Park | 320-568-2508

Benson Golf Club

Benson Parks | 320-843-4775

Ambush Park, Civic Center Park, Countryside Court Park, Hoiland Park, Lathrop Park, Northside Recreation Area, Roosevelt Park, Swimming Pool Park

• • • • • •

Boyd City Park | 320-855-2242 Canby Parks | 507-223-7295

Central Park, Triangle Park, Swimming Pool Park, Lake Sylvan Park

Clara City Parks | 320-847-2142 Community Park, Wilms Park

Clarkfield Parks | 320-669-4435 Campground Park, Valhalla Park

Dawson Parks | 320-769-2154

City Park, Riverside Park, Veterans Park

Granite Falls Parks | 320-564-4039

East Side Park, Highland Park, Memorial Park, Rice Park, Royal Park, Sorlien Park, West End Park, Winter Park

• • • •

Hanley Falls Parks | 507-768-3570

Centennial Park, City Park/Campground

Holloway City Park | 320-394-2272 Kerkhoven Parks | 320-264-2581 Pillsbury Park, Softball Park



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Fo Dr od Cl Ca ivi Ya /B ub ng r ev r t [w da R R R er en en an hit ge ag ta ta ge e] e l l

Appleton Golf Course

9 36 2,985

Benson Golf Club

18 72 5,994

Canby Golf Course

9 36 3,290

Dawson Golf Course

9 35 2,837

Granite Run Golf Course

9 34 2,952

Kerkhoven Golf Course

9 35 3,050

Madison Country Club

9 35 2,802

The Crossings at Montevideo

18 72 5,735

331 Wyman Avenue East | 320-289-2511 2222 Atlantic Avenue | 320-842-7901 1933 240th Avenue | 507-223-5607 15th Ave & Locust Street | 320-769-2280 Highway 67 South | 320-564-4755 603 Golf Course Road, West Hwy 212 | 320-264-2581 Highway 40 West | 320-598-7587 1101 West Hwy 212 | 320-269-8600

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•• ••

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Madison Parks | 320-598-7301

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Milan Parks | 320-734-4411

Burns Park, Library (Gazebo) Park

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Montevideo Parks | 800-269-5527

Central Park, Chinhinta Park, Hillcrest Park, Lagoon Park, Larson Park, Sheridan Park, Smith Park, Wildwood Park, Windom Park

Wood Lake Parks | 507-485-3476

Heritage Park, Freedom Park

eo Lagoon Park, Montevid



Marietta City Park | 320-668-2375

Lake Sylvan, Canby


Centennial Park, J. F. Jacobson Park, Kiwanis Kiddie Park, Madison Square Park, Madison Memorial Field, Recreation Field, Slen Park

• • • • | 1-866-866-5432

Chinhinta Park (NEW) Chinhinta Park Montevideo, MN 56265


1508-1512 11th Street Clarkfield, MN 56223

Kiwanis Park

583 11th Street West Madison, MN 56256

Lagoon Park

601-691 Forest Avenue Montevideo, MN 56265

Lake Sylvan

450 St. Olaf Ave South Canby, MN 56220

Rice Park

800-832 Minnesota Avenue Granite Falls, MN 56241

Riverview Park

450 North Hering Street Appleton, MN 56208







9 N/A 9 2544’ 9 2729’ 9 N/A

9 2928’

9 2028’

9 N/A

Veteran’s Memorial Park 945 8th Street Dawson, MN 56232


15 N/A


Visit Minnesota’s largest cottonwood tree:

Meander Art Crawl: Meander through over 40

Features a 90-foot-wide crown, and a trunk over 10 feet in diameter! Located near Watson.

different artists’ studios during the annual Arts Meander.

Touch the oldest rock in the world: A granite-like rock formed of layers of quartz, mica and similar materials over 3.8 billion years ago! Located in Granite Falls.

Bird watch on Minnesota’s only salt lake: 1/3 as salty as seawater, this 312-acre body of shallow water attracts an amazing variety of birds. More than 150 different species of birds have been spotted! Located near Marietta.

Carve a wooden spoon: Learn how to carve your very own wooden spoon or take another unique art course at the Milan Village Arts School.

Camp out in a tipi: No need to bring a tent – camp out

Letterpress printing: Learn about old-school letterpress printing at the A to Z letterpress studio located in Montevideo. Fagen Fighters WWII Museum: Tour a pristine collection of fully operational, active aircraft and vehicles from World War II – located in Granite Falls.

Adventure off-road: Take your off-road vehicle through 330 acres of trails, jumps, water holes, sand dunes, hill climbs, rock crawls, and much more, at the Swift County OHV Park.

Visit a city from the 1800s: Take a walk through

in a tipi at Upper Sioux Agency State Park, near Granite Falls.

Historic Chippewa City in Montevideo and explore over 24 buildings replicating a late 1800s village!

Red River Ox Cart Trails: Retrace and explore the

Search for gnomes: Search for hand-carved gnomes

ancient Native American trails. These pioneer roadways are the earliest ox cart trails in Minnesota. Located near Dawson.

scattered throughout Dawson!

Watch a movie in a 1939 movie theater: Watch

Stargaze: Escape the city lights and enjoy clear open skies

a movie in Canby’s newly renovated movie theater!

for an extraordinary stargazing experience.

Tour a school for the blind: Tour Buffalo Ridge Resort,

Horseback ride: Horseback ride through the beautiful state parks.

which was home to one of the first schools for the blind and visually impaired – located northwest of Canby.

For information about playgrounds, swimming pools, roller skating, bowling, ice skating, mini golf and farmers markets in any of our communities, call the chambers listed on page 31 or contact Prairie Waters at 866-866-5432 or visit our website at


Sw im # Ca ay D Be m um Eq p p a F u th St Sh ac Fi ch/ ing i p T i s ro a m om Gri elte litie en rail hing Poo Site tio n ll s s s r t l Pi



REFUGES & PARKS Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

Alice Hanley, Refuge Manager 4843 County Road 19 | Odessa, MN 56276 | 320-273-2191

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Lac qui Parle State Park

4047 20th Street NW | Watson, MN 56295 320-734-4450

Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area

Route 1, Box 23 | Watson, MN 56295 320-734-4451

Monson Lake State Park

1690 15th Street NE | Sunburg, MN 56289-8118 320-366-3797

Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area | 320-734-4451

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

5908 Hwy 67 | Granite Falls, MN 56241-3609 320-564-4777

BIRDING Western Minnesota Prairie Waters is one of Minnesota’s premier birding regions!

• •


known to every serious state birder for shorebirds and waterfowl.


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A Appleton Municipal Campground 320-289-1363 B Shooter’s Estates 320-289-1100 BENSON



F Canby Triangle Park Campground 507-223-7295 G Lake Sylvan Park 507-223-7295 H Stone Hill Regional Park 507-223-7586 CLARKFIELD

I Oraas County Park 320-313-3013



O Lions Club Park 320-367-2140 MILAN

P Lions Club Park 320-734-4411 Q Milan Beach (Randall’s Resort) 320-734-4400 MONTEVIDEO

R Lac qui Parle State Park 320-734-4450 S Lagoon Park 320-269-6575 / 5026 T Watson Hunting Camp & RV Park 320-269-9136 WEGDAHL

U Wegdahl County Park 320-269-6231 WOOD LAKE

V Timm County Park 320-313-3013


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14 P 17 15



10 5 30

K Memorial Park 320-564-3011 L Prairie View RV Park & Campground 320-564-6043 M Upper Sioux Agency State Park 320-564-4777 N JF Jacobson Park 320-598-7373

DAWSON J City Park 320-769-2154 GRANITE FALLS

E Boyd City Park 320-855-2242


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C Ambush Park 320-843-4775 D Swift Falls Park 320-843-5341


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ESW,Sh Sh,B,H ESW,Sh + 2 cabins

EXTRAS KEY: B=Basketball; BB=Baseball Field; B&R=Bait Shop & Restaurant; CA=Casino; ESW=Electric, Sewer, Water;

P=Pool; G=Golf; H=Horseshoes; Sh=Showers; TI=Tipi Camping; WA=Water Access; WF=WiFi

s upports large flocks of geese. Chippewa Prairie Preserve is on the east side of the lake.

• •


Minnesota’s largest white pelican breeding colony.


 ationally-known management program n showcases scores of shorebirds.


and the surrounding marshes offer a variety of waterfowl and upland birds.

Cactus in Minnesota? On the ancient rock outcroppings here in the Minnesota River Valley, three species of cacti have thrived for hundreds of years; the Plains Prickly Pear, the Brittle Prickly Pear and the Ball Cactus. Their brief blooming time is in mid to late June.


THE GLACIAL RIDGE TRAIL Only the west-central portion of this byway loops through our region, yet that small section showcases the natural richness of this area. Numerous lakes are sprinkled among the hills and ridges carved by glaciers over 10,000 years ago. Lake Monson State Park, east of Benson, represents the natural setting left behind for us to enjoy today.

THE KING OF TRAILS Tracing its origins back to the days when Native Americans cut travel routes out of the virgin prairie. With the automobile invention, roadways sprung up from many of these routes. One, stretching from Winnipeg, Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico became known as the King of Trails. In 1918, communities along this route formed an association and US Highway 75; the King of Trails became the “best marketed road in the United States.” In 2001, the Minnesota legislature designated this highway as the “Historic King of Trails.” You can trail this historic roadway down through the entire western edge of Prairie Waters, from Brown’s Valley past the city of Canby in the south.

THE MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY Truly a destination in itself, the Minnesota River is the premier natural feature of this byway stretching far beyond our western border near Ortonville, across the entire southern portion of Minnesota to the bluff country of the Mississippi River. See 3.8 million-year-old granite outcroppings, lush prairie grasses, national refuges and state parks. Museums and historic sites about the US Dakota Conflict of 1862 dot the roadway as well.

PRAIRIE PASSAGES Over 100 years ago, the western portion of Minnesota was covered by more than 18 million acres of tall grass prairie. Today, sadly less than one percent remains. The Prairie Passages route travels through areas of Prairie Waters where sparse pieces of the original prairie still remain. Designated sites include remnant native prairies, museums and historic sites all helping to interpret the prairie story. Look for the Prairie Plover site near Bellingham, the Chippewa Prairie near Milan and the Upper Sioux Agency State Park south of Granite Falls. | 1-866-866-5432 MINNESOTA Fargo St. Cloud Twin Cities


Riv er

Mi nn eso ta

For City & County Parks and Golf Courses see page 14. For county maps of Yellow Medicine, Lac qui Parle, Swift and Chippewa, please contact Prairie Waters, 866-866-5432.

Prairie Flowers



Benson Holloway



rre Pomme de Te e th g in k a y Ka

De Graff Murdock Kerkhoven

in the county at 416 acres. The Lakes are great for fishing, but there are also 9 rivers and streams in the county.



xperience a unique brand of beauty that can only be found in Swift County, the northern portion of the Prairie Waters region. This vast stretch of land features open prairies, rolling hills and sparkling waters. Primarily an agriculture community, the county is also home to agriculture equipment manufacturing, an ethanol plant, and the Fibromin Plant, which creates electricity from turkey litter. The “waters” part of the Prairie Waters name refers to Swift County’s 24 lakes. Lake Oliver is likely the largest


Because the area also includes a beautiful section of the Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway and Monson Lake State Park, you can enjoy rustic campsites along with two great paddling lakes. Anglers can catch walleye, crappie, bass, northern, and more. Only the west-central portion of the Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway loops through Swift County, yet that small section showcases the natural richness of the area. Numerous lakes are sprinkled among the hills and ridges carved by glaciers. Swift County has two recreational rivers: the Pomme de Terre and the Chippewa. The region is also renowned for its great hunting of pheasant, deer and geese.


Many native prairie sites, hiking trails and parks are scattered throughout Swift County including Swift Falls, Ambush Park and Riverside Park. Swift County also borders the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area south of Appleton, well known in birding circles as a natural transition zone for birds and the entire ecosystem from the western plains to Minnesota’s eastern woodlands. The Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail and the Prairie Passage

Route designate several local areas.


Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts will enjoy a multi-use, FREE OHV park— Appleton Area Recreation Park—located in Appleton. With over 22 miles of trails for motorcycles, ATVs, 4x4 trucks and snowmobiles, the fun lasts year round. Come experience 330 acres of jumps, sand dunes, rock crawls and water holes.


Lake Monson State Park, east of Benson, represents the natural setting left behind by glaciers more than 30,000 years ago. The rocks, sand and gravel left by the last glacier remain today, creating an area rich in wildlife, ideal for birding, and great for observing nature. Birdwatchers can seek out white pelicans, herons, western grebes, songbirds and waterfowl in this 187-acre park with a diverse landscape of wetlands and hardwood forests. The park includes a quiet campground and wooded picnic area. Paddle the lake and take a short portage that leads from Monson Lake to West Sunburg Lake. Don’t forget your fishing pole!


Appleton is home of the Swift County Fairgrounds, the Applefest Celebration held annually in September, and a city bike trail. It’s also the only city in the United States to honor all of its fallen war heroes

tate Park Lake Monson S

in a unique and unexpected manner: In 1946 Appleton’s mayor, Robert P. Miller, proposed that streets bear the names of local heroes instead of conventional numbers and other names. On May 30, 1947, in a large Memorial Day service, all the street names were changed so that each was named after a local war hero. Today the community proudly continues this tradition in tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The town was originally named Phelps, after Addison Phelps, whose family moved west in 1858. Other settlers at the time included two Civil War veterans, the Lathrop Brothers, who built a flourmill on the banks of the town’s Pomme de Terre River. These first settlers were of Scandinavian and German descent. Eventually the township’s name was changed to Appleton in honor of the town in Wisconsin where Phelps grew up. Appleton is a major river access point for paddling adventures down the Pomme de Terre River. It also offers a 9-hole golf course, a 330-acre OHV and 4x4 park, Mill Pond Park Municipal Campground, and the new Appleton Aquatic Center, built in 2013. Appleton is centrally located to all the major state parks, national wildlife refuges, wildlife management areas and regional rivers and lakes. Winter snowmobile trails link up with other counties for added fun.


Benson is a community rich in history, recreational fun, and festivals. It is also the home of Norwegian-born author Martha Ostenso, whose best-known story, Wild Geese, was made into a TV film called After the Harvest in 2001. While living in the U.S., she continued to publish novels and wrote

a number of screenplays. Families can enjoy the aquatic center featuring a 30-foot-tall, 168-foot-long water slide as well as kiddie and lap pools. Other recreational activities include the 18-hole golf course, state-of-the-art DeMarce movie theater, and camping in Ambush Park with its hiking trails, picnic shelters, a mini-golf course, native plant and wildlife exhibits, and a historic schoolhouse. Popular annual celebrations include the Pioneerland Band Festival (Flag Day, June 14), Kid Day (third weekend in July), Rib Fest, the Fall Craft Fair, and much more! Not far from Benson are the historic sites of the Christian F. Uytendale Farmstead and the Sabin S. Murdock House (in Murdock). On the eastern edge of Swift County, historic Monson Lake State Park offers bird watching, camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and picnicking.

of food and a Grand Parade. Explore the city’s two parks and take a dip in the seasonal public swimming pool.

Benson Aquatic Center


Along the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway is the town of Kerkhoven. Play a round of golf at the 9-hole Kerkhoven Community Golf Club or visit in July for the annual Town & Country Days festival. This popular event features the Pillsbury Push 5k & 10k, a classic car show, flea market/craft sale, plenty of children’s activities, tons 19




Clara City



N er Chippewa Riv Watershed



atural resource options abound in Chippewa County, whose entire western edge is the Minnesota River. In addition to the many recreational parks, the county offers three wildlife management areas including the well known Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area. The Watson Hunting Camp & Bar is located in the center of this area, offering hunting, lodging, a bar and entertainment. Stretching along both sides of the southern shores of Lac qui Parle Lake is the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area (WMA). It is a goose hunting and wildlife paradise. Anyone who enjoys abundant wildlife will take pleasure in hiking through the WMA. Thousands of bird watchers and wildlife lovers visit, hike and bike the area every year. Birdwatchers enjoy the many songbirds and waterfowl, as the WMA is a nesting and migratory stopover. The sight of white-tailed deer, prairie chickens or ducks at dawn will delight almost any time of year. Bald eagles have even taken up residence in the area! (For further information, you are invited to see the Lac qui Parle section beginning on page 8). Hike or bike along a paved trail running directly from Montevideo to Wegdahl Park, offering two new camper cabins located right next to the Minnesota River and available for rent. Continue your tour by seeing a number of significant “firsts” in Minnesota’s

ns Wegdahl Park Cabi

history by visiting exhibits overlooking Lac qui Parle Lake. Fort Renville was established as a trading post by fur trader and explorer Joseph Renville in 1826. Visit the recreated Lac qui Parle Mission Church where in 1835, the first church bell tolled in Minnesota. Also established by Joseph Renville, the Lac qui Parle Mission is where the Dakota alphabet was first created, where the Bible and an accompanying hymnal were first translated into the Dakota language, and the site of the first woven cloth in the state. Annually, the Lac qui Parle Mission hosts Mission Sunday on the second Sunday in July. Join the celebration with Dakota and missionary descendants.


Lac qui Parle State Park is just west of the Mission Church site, and just northwest of Montevideo. Here you will find lakes that formed when the glaciers receded. This created naturally occurring dams, causing the formation of wide bodies of water along the length of the Minnesota River. Approximately 50,000 people visit this 530-acre year-round park annually. There are many opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, swimming, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing, along with boat and canoe access to the river. | 1-866-866-5432

Maynard Olof


Montevideo, focal point of activity in the Prairie Waters region and the Chippewa County seat, sits at the confluence of the Chippewa and Minnesota Rivers. This pleasant setting offers three major parks: Smith, Lagoon and Windom Park Recreation Area. It’s easy to see why “Monte” (as the locals call it) is dubbed the “City of Parks.” From the variety of hotels, such as the Crossings by Grandstay Inn & Suites, Sportsmen Inn, Viking Motel and Fiesta Motel, to the many local eating establishments, Montevideo offers a relaxing experience. Many of the foods served come from local fields and pastures, and frequently can be coupled with a menu of music, culture and art exhibits. Montevideo is home to numerous specialty shops, recreational and entertainment opportunities. The largest city in Chippewa County invites you to enjoy its old fashioned charm. Looking back at Montevideo’s early years, we learn that in 1878, the Chicago, Milwaukee & Saint Paul Railroad brought immigrants to this fledgling community to

help settle the frontier. You can visit an exhibit of those bygone railroad days at the Milwaukee Road Heritage Center. During Fiesta Days, held annually the third week in June, the citizens of Montevideo celebrate the relationship they’ve developed with their sister city, the South American city of Montevideo in Uruguay. A reminder of this international connection is the 11-foot-tall statue of Uruguay’s hero of independence, Jose Artigas, standing prominently in downtown Montevideo’s (MN) Artigas Plaza on Main Street…thousands of miles away from Uruguay. Another nod to the area’s heritage can be found at the Olof Swensson Farm Museum, a National Registry Site featuring a 22-room, turn-of-the-century brick farmhouse on 17 acres. On the site is a historic barn which was preserved in 2003 and is the largest barn restoration project of its kind in the U.S. The site also features gristmill remains and the family burial plot whose tombstones were recently refurbished. The Swensson Farm’s annual Horse Power Event is held the second Saturday in September. Also visit an entire pioneer village recreating the challenging lifestyle prairie settlers faced more than one hundred years ago. Historic Chippewa City boasts 20 acres and 24 buildings representing the pioneer spirit of the region. You’ll find authentic log cabins, an 1880s church, Millinery Shop, Blacksmith Shop and more. Don’t miss the heritage foods and holiday entertainment at the annual old-fashioned Christmas in the Village




wa City Historic Chippe

celebrated the first Saturday in December. In addition to these opportunities, the Montevideo calendar is filled with other attractions, events and activities like the Minnesota Valley Antique Farm Power and Machinery Association’s Annual Steam Threshing Show at Heritage Hill in August, an 18-hole golf course, a disc golf course, car races, community swimming and water slide, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling along 200 miles of groomed trails. And so many more community events and happenings throughout the year! Visit for all updated events and area happenings!


This small city on the edge of Chippewa County is home to the Minnesota Rodeo Association’s Annual Maynard Rodeo. Bring the whole family for a day of rodeo 23 | 1-866-866-5432

hool Milan Village Arts Sc

Milan Clara City

excitement. Maynard is also full of activities during their annual Fourth of July event. Maynard is proud to feature a state-of-the-art community center, the Maynard Event Center.


Clara City is home to a semi-annual (March and November) craft show that has become a major event for both young and old. Unique shops to check out include Shades of the Past Quilt Shop and Hinterland Vineyards. North of Clara City one and a half mile, Hinterland Vineyards makes wines from varieties of grapes grown in Minnesota, many of which come from the Prairie Waters region. Pastures A Plenty, eight miles north of Clara City, has an on-farm store where you can buy pasture raised pork products, fresh from their pasture to your plate!

Clara City

Family Living on the Crossroads of the Prairie 320-847-2142 24


Nearby Milan is a leading center of Scandinavian culture and ethnic arts in the Prairie Waters region. The Milan Village Arts School boasts classes led by local artists in several folk art forms: Norwegian knife making, weaving, rosemaling and silver-smithing, just for starters. For a very special Arts School experience, stay in the beautiful home of MVAS instructor Karen Jenson, world-renowned rosemaler. Karen offers two stunning bedrooms within walking distance of the Milan Village Arts School. The Norwegian bedroom, decorated in rust and green, features two single cupboard beds, both with lovely rosemaling and carving. Discover Norwegian artwork on the walls, kubbestols (Norwegian chairs carved from a solid log) to sit in, and Hardanger embroidery on the beds. The Swedish room, painted in traditional blues, houses a cupboard where guests sleep next

to a wall painted with the Steps of Life. Then visit the unique gift shop, Billy Maple Tree’s, and the Arv Hus Museum (just a few doors down) where (by chance or appointment) Billy Thompson will give you a lively tour of Milan through vintage photographs and other pioneer items from the culturally rich Milan area. Visitors will also enjoy his sawdust artwork as well as some beautiful handcrafted wood frames showcasing the unique wood available locally. Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day) in May and the Christmas Craft Sale during the holidays are two of the many popular events held in this small community each year. The Milan Community Center is a great place to hold your next gathering featuring a certified kitchen and spacious meeting rooms. It is also home to the Full Circle Thrift Shop and state of the art equipped Milan Community Fitness Center.


Make Your Own History T

ucked amongst the fields and prairies, you’ll find communities rich in culture and heritage and classic buildings listed on the National Register. Home to local festivals and museums, U.S.-Dakota War sites, local museums chock full of rural artifacts and stories, the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum, and some of Minnesota’s renowned authors and artists, the land is a true reflection of its rich history. We invite you to explore our history, and make memories of your own to last a lifetime.


Situated on 20 acres in Montevideo, MN, Historic Chippewa City is home to 24 buildings replicating a late 1800s village, complete with a town square and boardwalk as well as a centrally located bandstand/ gazebo. Visit our authentic log cabins, 1880s church, Millinery Shop, Blacksmith Shop, General Store and many others. Historic Chippewa City is a sure hit for all ages. Portions of the movie Sweet Land were filmed here, as was the PBS documentary Death of the Dream. Artist Terry Redlin was so inspired by it, you’ll see his Country Doctor series features the Chippewa Bank Building, and many of his log homes replicate those at this site. [ Admission required. Free parking. ]



Come see the site where the first church bell tolled in Minnesota and where the Bible was translated into the Dakota language at the Lac qui Parle Mission, located 6 miles north of Montevideo, overlooking beautiful Lac qui Parle Lake. Walking paths and interpretive signs will lead you through the area where a small group of Protestant missionary families lived. Inside the reconstructed WPA building, exhibits describe the missionaries and their work, the Dakota people and Joseph Renville, the man who linked their worlds. Come ring the church bell and hear echoes of our past! [ No admission required. Free parking. ]


Located 6 miles east of Montevideo, this turn-of-the-century 22-room brick farm home sits on a 17-acre farmstead. See the large timber-framed barn built in the 1880s, the gristmill remains, and private family burial plot. The unique barn f eatures an elaborate system of wind bracing and notching, which attests to Swensson’s skills as a designer and builder. Your self-guided tour through the Swensson family home will be highlighted by the chapel located on the second floor. Olof Swensson was one of Minnesota’s most innovative immigrants, and this family homestead epitomizes his dream. Join us for a visit into history! Many parts of the | 1-866-866-5432

movie Sweet Land were filmed here. DVDs of the movie are still available. [ Admission required. Free parking. ]


This is the newest museum in Granite Falls, located at the Lenzen-Roe Memorial Airport. Construction began in April of 2011. Recently completed, the museum consists of two hangars, a WWII Quonset hut and a WWII control tower. The newest hangar and flagship of the museum is a 15,000-square-foot brick, tornado-proof structure. Be transported in time to the 1940s era for a fantastic self-guided WWII experience. The museum is home to the pristine collection of WWII trainer and fighter aircraft restored and owned by Fagen Fighters. The collection includes two P-51 D Mustangs, a Lockheed P-38, a P-40, a BT-13, a PT-19, a PT-22, and a PT-26. Fully operational, authentic WWII ground vehicles are proudly displayed among the aircraft. The very rare WACO CG-4A glider used to silently transport troops during WWII is among the displays. A mural by acclaimed artist Dave Reiser depicting Utah Beach during the D-Day Allied Invasion of Normandy, France, plays a prominent role in the museum. Bronze sculptures of the Army’s 4th Infantry’s soldiers are prepared for combat as they land in a Higgins’ boat bringing the Ivy Division’s motto “Steadfast and Loyal” to life. A library overlooking the museum’s first floor containing WWII books and documents collected over many years is a work in progress. Touch screens throughout the museum give visitors an interactive experience. Authentic uniforms and

MUSEUMS & HISTORICAL SITES artifacts are displayed throughout. [ $10 per person donation suggested. ]


Their mission is to represent visually and chronologically the priceless heritage of Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota, which includes Lac qui Parle State Park and the towns of Bellingham, Boyd, Dawson, Louisburg, Madison, Marietta and Nassau. Lac qui Parle (locals pronounce it LAK kwa PAR-uhl) is a French translation of the native Dakota name, meaning “lake which speaks” and is a reference to a lake formed by the widening of the Minnesota River along the northeastern border of the county. The center consists of six buildings, including an educational museum/research library, a furnished log cabin and rural schoolhouse from the 1800s, an agricultural machinery building, a gas station and the Robert Bly Study where Madison’s native son, and Minnesota’s first poet laureate, did much of his early writing. [ Admission free-will donation. ]


This museum features five large buildings (26,000 square feet) on a beautiful six-acre site. Its mission is to recapture a century of stories about farm life. Implements, tools, tractors and gas engines in mint condition along with rural art, help you look back to an era when neighbors worked together to harvest their crops, raise barns and build a better life for their families. Enjoy an afternoon browsing on your own or guided tours always available. [ Admission free-will donation. ]


This museum was first organized in 1937 with officers from all parts of the county, but the 1940s war and gas rationing caused the organization to disband. Come hear the history of how the society was reestablished in 1949. The interest was so great that a county museum was established. Museum displays tell a story of the geology and archaeology of the Minnesota River Valley, Native American history, and pioneer life in the county. The museum maintains a fine historical reference and genealogical library available during museum hours and by appointment. The Yellow Medicine County Historical Society has a Family History Lab that is open to everyone having ancestors who lived or came from Yellow Medicine County. The lab has computers with shortcuts to and a large collection of county history books, church history books, printed family histories, history on schools, and township histories all relating to Yellow Medicine County. [ $3 admission for non-members. ]


The Lund-Hoel House Museum proudly showcases American-Victorian architecture plus the lifestyle of early residents and adds one more jewel to the crown of historic sites. This four-story museum, originally a 15-room American-Victorian style house, was built by John G. Lund in 1891 and then sold to Rev. Olaf Hoel in 1903. Then be sure to check out and identify all the authentic tools on display in the barn. The museum is open weekends, Memorial Day to Labor Day.


The Carriage House, now an Interpretive Center, has been completely restored to its original glory, complete with cupola. Along with other artifacts, it also houses a turn-of-the-century horse-drawn carriage, which is still used on occasion for parades.

ANDREW J. VOLSTEAD HOUSE MUSEUM – GRANITE FALLS Learn about the life and legacy of the author of the Volstead Act, which enforced Prohibition, and the Capper-Volstead Act, which is still being used today as a framework for cooperatives. The museum is a step back in time and contains many of Volstead’s personal possessions. The Granite Falls Historical Society maintains the museum, which also contains a room dedicated to GF history. Currently open by appointment and as part of the Prohibition Story Walking Tour. | 1-866-866-5432



Always the first weekend of October!

IN WESTERN MINNESOTA The Prairie Waters region provides multiple opportunities to participate in the arts.

APPLETON: On Tuesday evenings in the summer, enjoy band concerts at Riverview Park Bandshell in Appleton. Bring a picnic and visit the Appleton Memory Trail and community art mosaic project. The ’52 Wing Auditorium also presents several concerts throughout the year.

CANBY: Music on Mondays at Central Park in Canby features local and regional artists six times each summer. A Sidewalk Art Gallery for visual artists to display their artwork in downtown merchant windows is held annually during Canby’s Hat Daze weekend in June. For more information, visit the Canby Arts Council Facebook page or or The Canby Classic Cinema, which re-opened in early 2015, now hosts current movies, classic movies and performing arts events. Visit or the Canby Theater Facebook page.

DAWSON: Now in its 15th season, the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association brings a wide variety of quality performances to Memorial Auditorium from October to June. Music, comedy, theater, nostalgic tribute shows…something new every season! Visit or their Facebook page.

GRANITE FALLS: The Granite Area Arts Council provides art-related experiences for the community in and around Granite Falls, including exhibits at the K.K. Berge Gallery, larger performance events and various classes throughout the year, and summer art camps for both children and adults. The K.K. Berge Gallery is also home to the Imagine Gift Shop featuring the artwork of 20-plus area artists. The Granite Falls Area Community Theater is a non-profit organization that exists to provide musical and theater experiences for performers of all ages. In downtown Granite Falls, enjoy walking theater, music, art, food and drink - every Friday night during the annual Arts Meander.

A perennial favorite, this free self-guided tour includes 45 artists in the western prairies of Minnesota. Surprise! Out from the corn pops amazing art! The Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl has become a well-established exhibition of artists over the last decade and attracts thousands of people each year. For those who enjoy meeting artists in their own studios, the Meander Art Crawl is a perfect opportunity to do just that. You’ll find a marvelous variety of artwork: hand-thrown pottery, textiles, photography, painting, woodcarving, furniture, jewelry, woven baskets, sculpture and more. Visitors are welcome to explore the region, the culture and the autumn landscape of western Minnesota. Help celebrate and support the artists who make the Prairie Waters region a more beautiful place! Meander Weekend includes approximately 30 studios in and near the communities of Appleton, Dawson, Granite Falls, Madison, Milan, Montevideo and Ortonville. Many of the studios are open year round. For more information, visit the Meander Facebook page at MeanderArtCrawl, the Meander website at where you can download a brochure, or call 1-866-866-5432 and request one to be mailed!

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New r Canby Theate

MADISON: Enjoy summer theater, Christmas shows, local concerts and guest artists at The Prairie Arts Center, home to the Lac qui Parle Players and many more performers in this unique church-turned-theater. MONTEVIDEO: The Montevideo Fine Arts Center hosts the Minnesota Valley Community Concert Series, visiting artistic groups and school performances each year. MILAN: The Milan Village Arts School is home to a diverse offering of art activities, including folk art classes, student studios and weekend festivals. Students gather at the school’s historic 100-year-old rural schoolhouse to study, learn and practice traditional and contemporary art forms such as rosemaling, Norwegian knife making, acanthus carving and silversmithing. The annual Spoon Gathering in early June assembles carvers from across the U.S. to carve, learn and share their passion for the humble wooden spoon—an international symbol of family, meals and friendship.

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THEATERS Grand Theater. . . . . . . . Madison 320-598-7791 Canby Classic Cinema. . Canby 507-223-5873 De Marce Theater. . . . Benson 320-842-6871 Plaza Theater. . . . . . . Montevideo 320-269-3135

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Yellow Medicine County |

ACCOMMODATIONS Crossings by Grandstay

Inn & Suites Montevideo | 320-269-8000 Fiesta City Motel Montevideo | 320-269-8896 Granite Falls Super Motel Granite Falls | 320-564-4075 Lou’s Lodge Madison | 320-598-7518 Sportsmen Inn Montevideo | 320-269-8889 Viking Motel Montevideo | 320-269-6545

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Dawson-Boyd Arts Association

Dawson | 320-769-2955 ext 246

Hollywood on Main, LLC

Montevideo | 320-841-0368

Milan Village Arts School Milan | 320-734-4807

CASINO Prairie’s Edge Casino & Resort 5616 Prairies Edge Lane Granite Falls I 866-293-2121

Guests are invited to relax and enjoy one of our luxurious hotel rooms & suites and exhilarating gaming action!

CHAMBERS & CVBs Appleton Area

Chamber of Commerce PO Box 98 Appleton | 320-289-1527

 Newly expanded ATV & 4x4 truck park, great local hunting, fishing, birding, canoeing, friendly shops, Applefest 3rd weekend in September.

City of Canby 110 Oscar Ave North Canby I 507-223-7295

Located at the junction of US Hwy 75 and State Hwy 68, Canby is “The Gateway to the Prairie.” Enjoy hunting, fishing, golf, shooting sports, camping and more.

City of Clara City

PO Box 560. Clara City 320-847-2142 |

 Located on the crossroads of Hwys 7

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& 23, Clara City is truly a great place to live, shop or locate your business.

City of Clarkfield Clarkfield | 320-669-4435 City of Dawson PO Box 552 Dawson | 320-769-2154

New Family Aquatic Center, biking/walking trail along the river, campgrounds, recreation & much more!

City of Maynard PO Box 247 Maynard | 320-367-2140

Find friendly people, peace & quiet and a

strong community in west central MN!

City of Milan

244 N 2nd St, PO Box 162, Milan 320-734-4411 |

 Norwegian Capital USA! A small ethnic

village that is proud of its heritage. Come visit our friendly community. You’ll be glad you stopped!!

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Lac qui Parle County |

City of Wood Lake Wood Lake | 507-485-3476 Dawson Area Chamber of Commerce 579 Pine Street Dawson | 320-769-2981

 isit our friendly community on the Lac qui V Parle River: beautiful parks, swimming pool and riverside walking trail, specialty shops and restaurants on Main Street.

Granite Falls Chamber

807 Prentice Street Granite Falls | 320-564-4039

 Proudly serving the community of Granite

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Falls and the surrounding area for 50 yrs.

Granite Falls EDA

Granite Falls | 320-564-2255 Lac qui Parle County EDA 600 6th Street, Suite 10 Madison | 320-598-7976

The catalyst for economic growth, job creation and improvement of quality of life in Lac qui Parle County, MN.

Madison Chamber of Commerce 623 West 3rd Street Madison | 320-598-7301

 Visit Madison, Minnesota, “Lutefisk

• •

Capital of the USA.” Take your picture by “Big Lou T. Fisk” along South Highway 75.

Mayor Debra Lee Fader Montevideo | 320-226-1195 Montevideo Area Chamber & CVB 321 South 1st Street Montevideo | 320-269-5527

Where our rich history, beautiful countryside, and old-fashioned charm will entice and inspire you.

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DINING Bootleggers Supper Club

Granite Falls | 320-564-4003 Boyd Community Café Boyd | 320-855-3012 Carl’s Bakery, Inc. Granite Falls | 320-564-2531 Granite Grinder Café & Gifts Granite Falls | 320-564-4244 Milan American Legion Milan | 320-734-4600 Subway Appleton | 320-289-2248


Appleton | 320-760-8328  Experience events and activities for all

ages. Enjoy live music, grandstand shows, demolition derbies and more. It’s five full days of food and fun!

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FINANCIAL Citizens Alliance Bank

Clara City | 320-847-3702 Dawson Co-op Credit Union Dawson | 320-769-2908 Farmers & Merchants State Bank Appleton | 320-289-1454 Granite Falls Bank Granite Falls | 320-564-2111

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Swift County


Minnwest Bank Montevideo | 888-616-2265 Prairie Sun Bank Appleton | 320-289-2545 Prairie Sun Bank Milan | 320-734-4444 GROCERIES Pastures A Plenty Kerkhoven | 320-367-2061

HEALTH SERVICES Appleton Area Health Services Appleton | 320-289-2422

Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital Montevideo | 320-269-6435 Johnson Memorial Health Services Dawson | 320-769-4323

Chippewa County

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Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) Montevideo | 877-269-2873 Wegdahl Park Wegdahl | 320-269-6231 REAL ESTATE Kuhlmann Real Estate Inc.

Montevideo | 888-339-8938

RESORTS Buffalo Ridge Resort

1312 Coteau Street Gary, SD | 605-272-7777  Experience a most unique setting for your next business retreat, wedding, historic lodging getaway or camping trip.

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Milan | 320-734-4868 The Cellar Door Dawson | 320-269-1179 Granite Falls | 320-564-2022 From the Ground Up Watson Hunting Camp Granite Falls | 320-564-1200 Watson | 320-269-9136 Granite Grinder Café & Gifts MEDIA Granite Falls | 320-564-4244 Lac qui Parle Co. Broadcasting Granite True Value Co. KLQP-92.1 FM Granite Falls | 320-564-3130 Madison | 320-598-7301 Marc’s on Main MUSEUMS/HISTORIC SITES Dawson | 320-769-2444 Arv Hus Museum Milan Community Center Milan | 320-734-4868 Milan | 320-734-4128 Chippewa County Historical Society Monica’s Apparel & Accessories PO Box 303 Dawson | 320-769-4727 Montevideo | 320-269-7636 Prairie Mercantile Antiques/Collectibles Visit the Lac qui Parle Mission, Granite Falls | 320-564-9094 Historic Chippewa City, and the Swensson Farm Museum for an exciting T & D Barnwood Rustics and educational experience. Dawson | 605-695-5292 Fagen Fighters WWII Museum SUPPORT SERVICES 2450 540th Street Granite Falls | 320-564-6644 Farmers Mutual Telephone Co. Bellingham | 320-568-2105 Preserve History. Promote Patriotism. Federated Telephone Inspire the Future. Milan | 320-324-7111 Granite Falls Historical Society Henry Hill Apartments Granite Falls | 320-564-5600 Granite Falls | 320-564-4030 Historic Lund-Hoel House Riverside Manor Canby | 507-223-7367 Dawson | 320-769-2332 Lac qui Parle County Museum Ruether Brothers Garage Madison | 320-598-7678 Montevideo | 320-269-6940 Milwaukee Road Heritage Center WORSHIP Montevideo | 320-269-6940 The United Methodist Church Minnesota’s Machinery Museum Montevideo | 320-269-9053 PO Box 70 Hanley Falls | 507-768-3522

HUNTING Minnesota Heartland Preserve

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This museum features 5 large buildings recapturing a century of stories about farm life.

Yellow Medicine County Historical Society MN Hwys 23 & 67 Granite Falls | 320-564-4479

 Includes exhibits on Upper Sioux history, geology, township history, general store, genealogy lab and more!

PARKS Appleton Area OHV Park

Appleton | 320-843-5341

Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Guide  

Upper Minnesota River Valley

Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Guide  

Upper Minnesota River Valley