P.O. Box 146
Lindstrom, MN 55045
Chisago County and Saint Croix River Valley history:
Chisago County was established in the fall of 1851 by an act of the
territorial legislature of Minnesota. The name is derived from the
Native American phrase for the "large and lovely" lakes in the area. It
would be almost seven years before Minnesota itself gained
statehood, on May 11th, 1858.
Chisago County is located about 20 miles north of the Twin Cities
metropolitan area and extends another 30 miles north, along the
wild and scenic St. Croix River, which forms its eastern border.
Within the 450 square miles (1,170 hectares), recreational
The St. Croix River Valley was first inhabited by nomadic people
some 6,000 years ago. For thousands of years the valley was home
to both Dakota [Sioux] and Ojibwa [Chippewa] Indians. These tribes
were largely gone by the time steamboats from the south began to
arrive in 1838. Soldiers, yankee businessmen, and land speculators
came and established their places. The white pine logging industry
and sawmills flourished along the river while many crops were
grown on the freshly cleared farmland.
Construction of the first Government Road from Fort Snelling to
Lake Superior began in 1852. The road (shown in pink on the map to
the right) passed through the county, following the bluff line of the
St. Croix River. It carried new settlers into the territory and later
saw scheduled stagecoach and mail service. Portions of the route,
also known as the Point Douglas Superior Military Road, are now
designated as a Minnesota Scenic Byway.
Tracks for the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad soon swept
along the west side of the county. A network of roadways began to
develop, criss-crossing the area, bringing both people and goods to
the new depots. A spur line was added that connected the Wyoming
depot to Taylors Falls with stops at Chisago City, Lindstrom, Center
City, and Shafer. This provided easy access to resorts and recreation
with daily train schedules for residents of the Twin Cities.
Swedish immigrants were the predominant group who established
the churches and communities of the mid to late 1800's. Their
hardships and joys are captured in a series of epic novels written by
Vilhelm Moberg, a Swedish author who spent the summer of 1948 in
the Chisago Lakes area.
Minnesota Highway 8, which connects Forest Lake to Taylors Falls,
is today known as the Moberg Commemorative Trail (shown in
yellow on the map). Towns along the route have Swedish sister cities
that can be visited by following the links in the listing to the right.
Early settlement in the area was slow but steady for the first 40
years, followed by 60 years of minor change. The table below is
abstracted from US Federal Census Data and shows Chisago County
population had grown to 10,000 people by 1890. There has
beenincreased growth during the past 50 years. Click on the table to
see the graph view.
During the past two decades Chisago County has been one of the
faster growing counties in Minnesota. Easy access from Minneapolis
and St. Paul, the natural scenic beauty of the St. Croix river and its
local lakes make the county a great place to visit and live.
Designated Sister Cities
The Minnesota state map above shows the
east-central location of Chisago County.
The Chisago County map showing the
Minnesota Scenic Byway [red] and the
Moberg Commemorative Trail [yellow].