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It was exactly 148 years ago that an expedition of ten men reached what is now Wahpeton’s sister city, Breckenridge, MN. The land there was a hunting ground for the Dakota and the Ojibway, but an 1851 treaty opened it up for non-Native settlement. This particular site was chosen because it was the headwaters for the Red River, the longest north-flowing river in the country.

Two days later, the men used hand compasses and tapeline chains to plat a huge city – 18 by 36 full blocks extending over 2,500 acres. Speculators believed Breckenridge would become the next Chicago – which may have happened if the town hadn’t been destroyed and burned during the Sioux Uprising of 1862. The town rebuilt, but it didn’t really get going again until the railroad arrived nine years later.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm