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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Ramsey in Anoka County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Itasca Village Townsite

 
 
Itasca Village Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
1. Itasca Village Townsite Marker
Inscription. Itasca grew up around an Indian trading post which was established 800 feet east of here in 1849 by Thomas A. Holmes and James Beatty. At the suggestion of Territorial Governor Alexander Ramsey, the settlement was named in honor of Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River. In 1852 a substantial hotel was built, the village was platted, and Itasca boasted the first post office in present Anoka County. There was even an unsuccessful attempt to locate the territorial capital here.

Itasca was a stopping place on the heavily traveled Red River Oxcart Trail between Pembina, North Dakota, and the steamboat landing in St. Paul. In 1857 cargoes of fur, buffalo robes, and meat valued at $120,000 arrived at St. Paul, and in 1858 more than 600 carts plied the trade. Traces of the old trail can be seen a few feet west of this marker.

The village's prosperity began to wane in 1856, when the removal of the roving Winnebago Indians from the Long Prairie Reservation took away the mainstay of local trade. By the eary 1860s the town was virtually deserted.

Itasca remained a post office until 1879, and it was the first mailing address of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the National Grange. This farm organization was founded by Oliver H. Kelley, who opened a Grange office in his home near here
Itasca Village Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
2. Itasca Village Townsite Marker
in 1868. For two years he mailed through the Itasca post office vast amounts of literature encouraging farmers to join the Grange.

seal of State of Minnesota Department of Highways
seal of The Minnesota Historical Society, Instituted 1849

Erected by the Anoka County Historical Society
1966

 
Erected 1966 by the Anoka County Historical Society. (Marker Number AN-RMC-008.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 45° 14.765′ N, 93° 30.264′ W. Marker is near Ramsey, Minnesota, in Anoka County. Marker is on U.S. 10 0.8 miles east of Cleveland Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in the eastbound Dayton Port Rest Area / Itasca Wayside along the Mississippi River. Marker is at or near this postal address: 95511 U.S. Highway 10, Anoka MN 55303, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ice Age Souvenir (within shouting distance of this marker); Grange Shrine (approx. 1.8 miles away); Geology of the Elk River Region (approx. 4.2
Itasca Village Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
3. Itasca Village Townsite Marker
east side of one-sided marker
miles away); Rum River Dam (approx. 6.4 miles away); Perseverance Needed (approx. 6.4 miles away); The Stone House / Robert W. Akin (approx. 6.4 miles away); Why Settle Here? / Time to Play (approx. 6.5 miles away); The Gathering Place (approx. 6.5 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Minnesota Department of Transportation. Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory. "The townsite of Itasca was platted on the rest area site in 1852. It competed for trade with the thriving village of Dayton, which was located on the western bank of the river and was linked to Itasca by ferry." (Submitted on November 2, 2013.) 

2. Highway 10 Overlook. National Park Service. "The first government wagon road was established in 1852 leading from Point Douglas (near Hastings) through Saint Paul, Saint Anthony, Anoka and beyond. A fragment of this oxcart trail remains in the western and southern portions of the rest area." (Submitted on November 2, 2013.) 
 
Categories. AgricultureNative AmericansRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
Itasca Village Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
4. Itasca Village Townsite Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 339 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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