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Red Wing's History

The location of Red Wing was under Spanish and French ownership until 1803 when the United States bought the land lying west of the Mississippi River from France under the so-called “Louisiana Purchase.”

According to historical records, Father Louis Hennepin, an explorer and Franciscan priest, arrived here shortly after April 11, 1680, and was the first white man to visit this territory. On September18,1805, Col. Zebulon M. Pike, a United States Army officer, landed here and held a conference with the old Indian Chief who was called Hupahuduta (meaning “a swan’s wing dyed in red” which he carried as an emblem of his chieftaincy). On June 30, 1823, U.S. Army officer Major Long made his second visit to this site; and on that day, for the first time, our flag was hoisted to the breeze by him on the Indian Council House. It was Major Long who suggested the name RED WING. The location was known by several designations: Proymueche (meaning “mountain in the water”) and Hemminnicha and Hham-necha (these meaning “wood, water and hill”). In 1837 Rev. Daniel Gavin and Rev. Samuel Dentan, Swiss Missionaries, came here to teach religion to the Indians. They remained for about nine years, and later came Rev. J. F. Aiton in 1848. Our first permanent missionaries came in 1849 in the persons of Rev. and Mrs. Joseph W. Hancock.

Under a treaty made at Mendota on July 29, 1851, white people were allowed to make their homes on the west bank of the river from 1853 on. A white settlement was started here, and in 1857 Red Wing was incorporated as a city.

The city is located in a valley surrounded by various bluffs; and to the north, the grand Mississippi River flows past its levee. Many fine parks for enjoyment are located within the city limits, one of which is the Soldiers’ Memorial Park located on the top of Sorin Bluff which is over a thousand feet above sea level and easily accessible with an automobile.

Red Wing ranks as one of the leading manufacturing cities of Minnesota. Here are made such products as shoes, pottery, leather, linseed oil, safety products, and robotic products.

There is a two-unit, 550 megawatts each, nuclear power plant located within the corporate limits of the City of Red Wing.

Red Wing is surrounded by a rich agricultural territory; and the County of Goodhue, of which Red Wing is the county seat, has been known for years as the BANNER COUNTY of Minnesota in the production of farm products.

A significant governmental change occurred June 1, 1971, when the City of Red Wing and Burnside Township were consolidated into a new municipality known as Red Wing. This action combined the land area and human resources of these two communities into one unified government with the potential to bring a maximum of modern governmental service to the entire area.

For more information on our local history, please visit the Goodhue County Historical Society's website. The mission of the Goodhue County Historical Society is to collect, protect, preserve and interpret materials relating to the natural and cultural history of Goodhue County and its people.

OUR CITY

Our “Desirable City” is cosmopolitan, nestled among the bluffs bordering the “Father of Waters.” As a pleasure resort, it is unsurpassed for its scenery and the ability to view the same. Numerous boats and cruisers are owned and operated for pleasure on the Mississippi River by our citizens.

OUR CITY BUILDINGS

City Hall, T. B. Sheldon Memorial Auditorium Theatre, Red Wing Public Library, Red Wing Community Development Building, Water Works Pumping Stations, Public Works Building, Friedrich Civic Center, Goodhue County Historical Museum, Betcher Memorial Chapel in Oakwood Cemetery, Sewage Pump Stations, Disposal Plant, Solid Waste Boiler Facility, Fire Station and Mississippi National Clubhouse.

RED WING DEPOT: Construction of the depot building began in 1904 following an agreement in which the City of Red Wing provided trackage concessions and the Chicago-Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad agreed to construct the depot and donate money toward the construction of Levee Park. The building was designed by the
railroad company architect, J.M. Netterstrom, in a style influenced by the neoclassical revival of the 1893 Chicago Colombian Exposition. The depot building was acquired by the City of Red Wing and restored by the Red Wing Area Fund in 1990. It presently houses the Red Wing Visitor and Convention Bureau.

OTHER BUILDINGS

U.S. Post Office, YMCA, Minnesota Correctional Facility, National Guard Armory, Goodhue County Government Center, Fairview Red Wing Health Services, Law Enforcement Center, and Justice Center.

OTHER STRUCTURES

Blodgett Memorial Gateway at Oakwood Cemetery and Gateway to Memorial Park, both designed by noted Minnesota architect Clarence Johnson.

GOLF COURSES

A municipal 36-hole golf course. A private18-hole golf course.

VIEWPOINTS

“Barn” or La Grange Bluff, Sorin Bluff, College Hill, and points along the river.

Park System --- 930.92 Acres
A. P. Anderson Park --- 43 Acres
Athletic Field --- 25.9 Acres
Barn Bluff --- 43 Acres
Bay Point --- 15 Acres
Billings/Tomfohr Conservation Area --- 77 Acres
Birchwood --- .5 Acre
Bluff View Park --- 0.48 Acre
Briarwood Park --- 14.00 Acres