The landscape and geology of the Shakopee area were influenced by a number of factors, one of which was the movement of four great glaciers into the area thousands of years ago. When the final glacier melted, the mighty rush of water created a massive glacial lake called Lake Agassiz. As the enormous lake retracted, the Minnesota River was formed by the outlet of water flowing toward the Mississippi River.
The first human inhabitants of the Shakopee area were members of the great Dakota Sioux nation. In the late 18th century, Chief Shakopee’s village rested near the site of modern-day Shakopee. The natives were pushed to the south and west first by the Chippewa and later by white settlers. Fur traders Oliver and Harriet Faribault built the first log structure in the area and used the Minnesota River as a natural travel route. The Faribault cabin is now located at a historical site east of Shakopee called Murphy’s Landing. Shakopee survived the Sioux Uprising, sent soldiers to fight in the Civil and Spanish-American wars, and made it through a series of natural disasters in the late 1800s. The fledgling town rose above these adversities and began to grow, particularly after a railroad was built from Mendota to Shakopee.
Shakopee has come a long way since the early days. It is a thriving suburban community offering proximity to the exciting Twin Cities metropolitan area. Higher education, employment opportunities and recreational facilities are all within easy reach, as are nationally renowned cultural, entertainment and sporting events. Shakopee is home to an annual Renaissance Festival and the Derby Days. There are plenty of interesting educational attractions in Shakopee as well. The living history museum at Murphy’s Landing tells the story of Shakopee during the pioneer days. The Stans Museum features exhibits honoring Maurice H. Stans, entrepreneur, African adventurer and public servant. Other exciting Shakopee diversions include a visit to the horse races at Canterbury Park; a day of gaming at the Canterbury Card Club, Mystic Lake Casino or Dakota Country Casino; dinner at a Chanhassen Dinner Theatre performance; or a thrilling ride on a roller coaster at Valleyfair Amusement Park.
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