American Indians & Settlers

American Indians & Settlers (HM2MKF)

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N 43° 22.025', W 95° 8.203'

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American Indians called the Lakes Region home for thousands of years. They were enticed to the lakes for many reasons: the tallgrass prairie provided ample grazing for an abundance of buffalo and elk; the lakes were a flyway for flocks of migratory birds including the magnificent trumpeter swans; there were over 40 varieties of fish in the lakes; and the prairie landscape was covered with a giant garden of wildflowers.

Early European explorers traded with the Oneota (Ioway & Otoe) and the Dakota Sioux Nations in the region. People still find arrowheads and other Indian artifacts on the lakeshore and surrounding areas. Hunters and trappers preceded the settlers who arrived in 1856.

Tragically, in 1857, 42 of the lakes' first settlers were killed in a conflict known as The Spirit Lake Massacre. Thirteen-year old Abbie Gardner survived three month's captivity and years later returned to the area to share her story.

Today the Gardner log cabin still stands. A pioneer burial plot, a 55 foot tall granite monument and visitor center complement the site. The cabin, operated by the State Historical Society, is located two blocks to the west in Pillsbury Point State Park. The public is welcome to visit and learn more about the early residents.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 at 5:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 326877 N 4803797
Decimal Degrees43.36708333, -95.13671667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 22.025', W 95° 8.203'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 22' 1.4999999999999" N, 95° 8' 12.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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