CHASKA HISTORY CENTER IS CLOSED.

The History Center is closed until further notice.  While we understand this  may impact your research pathway, we want to ensure the health and safety of our patrons and volunteer staff.  We remain available by email and phone for research assistance.

CEMETERY STORIES

Wandering through Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, it’s hard not to wonder about those who are buried here. Every dearly departed has a story and so many of them are from a time and culture vastly different from our own. We chose five residents of Mt. Pleasant, researched them and wrote a narrative of their life.  The events are factual and historical, but the narratives are our words, doing our best to bring their thoughts to life.

 

1.  Nellie Baxter: Successful store owner 

2.  Lucius Howe: Vermont brick maker 
3.  Emmaline Noble Lee: Teacher

4.  Katherina Greiner: Hotel owner

5.  William Spoerner: WWII pilot FEATURED

View All Stories

William Spoerner

WWII pilot.

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 Mound Builders, 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.

~ our 2020 virtual exhibit ~

"Why Chaska?"

Stories from the present and the past . . . coming to Chaska from across the Twin Cities, the state, the country and the world!

View our May 2021 Newsletter

 

Join Us!

Become a member of the Chaska Historical Society!

E Newsletter Signup

Chaska History Center Hours: 

Tuesday - Friday, 1pm - 4pm

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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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