Monday, March 30, 2009
The Birthplace of Minnesota
After my daughter's writing class in the cities, we took the chance to visit Camp Coldwater--the Birthplace of Minnesota. This spring is where Colonel Leavenworth moved the military encampment from their original location on the Minnesota River where the people did not have healthy water to drink the first three years while the original Fort Snelling was built.
The Bureau of Mines under the Department of the Interior built a research facility at the location. It was officially closed in 1995 and has sat unused. the main building pictured here is in relatively good condition, all things considered. I actually didn't think the building was horrible looking--though very dated. Other buildings on the site have not fared so well.
Buildings have been vandalized pretty badly and the roads, parking lots and outlying structures are hurting. A year ago we had heard about the site and had wanted to see it. We put it off because I kept forgetting my ID--which at the time we needed to be granted access. When people heard that the site may be sold to the city to create a commuter's parking lot, many organized to try to save it. The site is considered sacred by the Dakota people. Unfortunately, the site is also heavily polluted from the time of the Bureau of Mines' tenure there. The water is actually green. It is incredibly sad, but I think the site might be cleaned up. It would make a great place for a museum if it is salvageable, but think they will probably be demolished. The National Park Service seems to be working on a future for it.