Minnesota’s Oldest Tourist Attraction Is…
With the advent of social media we are constantly being bombarded with the latest this, or newest that. Last week we even gave Minnesota's biggest "tourist trap". But what about Minnesota's oldest tourist destination? The answer to the oldest tourist destination in Minnesota is some place that a lot of people drive by every time they go to the Minneapolis International Airport. Fort Snelling!
According to the website Business Insider, which listed the oldest tourist destination for each state, Fort Snelling's construction began in 1820, and it was completed by 1825. It was originally built to keep British fur traders from expanding into the northwestern US, but it wasn't until 1858 that it went into service as a fort. 1858 is when Minnesota became an official state and the US government had built outposts further to the west.
According to the Fort Snelling website in 1805 the United States Army ordered Lieutenant Zebulon Pike to explore the Mississippi River and select sites for potential military posts. When he arrived at the junction of the Mississippi and St. Peters (present-day Minnesota) rivers, Pike made an agreement with several Dakota representatives to acquire land on which he promised a US fort and government "factory" (trading post) would be built.
For comparison the Faribault Woolen Mill Company began in 1865.
Fort Snelling now offers visitors tours, a shop, exhibits, and camps and youth programs.