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Pick Up or Purchase Your Book Now!

Chaska: A Minnesota River City, 1950-2000

The 2nd chronicle of Chaska's history is now available. By purchasing this book, you will also receive a FREE 1-year individual membership to the Chaska Historical Society and the Carver County Historical Society.

If you preordered the book, you can pick it up at the Chaska History Center.

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Now Open!

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  • Interactive exhibit

  • Activities for kids

  • Lots of Chaska history available

  • Group appointments

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View our May 2024 Newsletter

 

Join Us!

Become a member of the Chaska Historical Society!

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Chaska History Center Hours: 

Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 1-4pm
 

The History Center follows Eastern Carver County Schools closure due to inclement weather.

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A Brief History of Chaska

by Lisa Oberski, Tracy D. Swanson and LaVonne Barac

 

With the preservation of its unique name, Chaska reflects its commitment to its oldest recorded history, the history of a community in the land of the Dakota: “Chaska” is a Dakota word referring to the “first-born son” in a Dakota family.

 

But Chaska’s cultural history dates back much further than the Dakota.  Evidence of the first residents of Chaska can be found in what is now City Square Park.  The three burial mounds located there date back 1000-1500 years to the Mid-Woodland period Natives.  Originally three of six mounds that formed a circle, the remaining mounds are cordoned off during city celebrations held in the park as a means of showing respect for the Indigenous People of Chaska, the first people of Chaska.

 

In 1776, European explorer Jonathan Carver began to map the area along the Minnesota River. At the time, the Dakota moved between their summer camp by the river and winters spent in the Big Woods in northern Chaska.  Seventy-five years later, as new territory opened for settlement in Minnesota in 1851 with the signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux by the Dakota, sites along the Minnesota River were staked out for future communities. While some never developed, others such as Chaska thrived.

 

It was in 1851 that an easterner named Thomas Andrew Holmes traveled up the Minnesota River where a 20-acre clearing in the Big Woods attracted his attention. He claimed it as the Chaska town site.  It operated as a township until 1871 when it became a village. Twenty years later, in 1891, the village of Chaska became a city.

View a timeline of Chaska History here  or  read more 

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City of Chaska Historic Building Tour Storymap

Interact with the online storymap building tour.  Historic Chaska homes and their original occupants are presented in this interactive look into Chaska history.  Historic buildings are also presented in the brochure "A Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Chaska" which can be found at the Chaska History Center.

Curating

Collecting the unique items and histories of Chaska residents and their lifestyle.

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Archiving

Reviewing, indexing, recording  items in the Chaska collection. 

Archived Item Storage

Exhibiting

Gathering cohesive facts, archived items and personal accounts to tell a story.

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Engaging

Sharing our collections  with the public to educate, understand and celebrate our history.

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