Hastings, Minnesota

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Hastings is a city in Dakota and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota, near the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. The population was 18,204 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Dakota County.[3] The bulk of Hastings is in Dakota County; only a small part of the city extends into Washington County. The city is named for the first elected governor of the state of Minnesota, Henry Hastings Sibley.

The advantages of the location that led to Hastings' original growth are that it is well-drained, provides a good riverboat port, and is close to a hydropower resource at the falls of the Vermillion River. Sites closer to the river confluence are either too swampy (Dakota County) or too hilly (Washington County and Pierce County, Wisconsin).

U.S. Route 61 and Minnesota State Highways 55 and 316 are three of the main arterial routes in the city.



The area around Hastings was first settled by a military detachment sent from Fort Snelling to guard a blocked shipment of supplies in the winter of 1820. A Lieutenant William. G. Oliver camped in an area that would come to be known as Oliver's Grove and in 1833 a trading post was opened at the same location.[4] After the Treaty of Mendota of 1851 opened the area for white settlement, the Oliver's Grove area was surveyed and was incorporated as a city in 1857, one year before the admission of the state of Minnesota to the union. That same year Hastings was named as the county seat of Dakota County. The name Hastings was drawn out of a hat having been one of the suggested names placed in by four of the original founders (the middle name of Henry Sibley).

Hastings, the nearby city of Prescott, Wisconsin, and the adjacent township of Nininger were areas of tremendous land speculation in the mid 19th century, being billed by Ignatius L. Donnelly as the potential "New Chicago". The Panic of 1857 would put an end to this dream. The speculation and Panic caused the growth of the cities to be less than would be expected given the strategic location at the confluence of two significant rivers; the combined population of the three today is approximately 25,000, and all that remains of Nininger is a few buildings. Hastings is the site of the second oldest surviving county courthouse in the state (after Stillwater) which was finished in 1871 at a cost of $63,000. The county administration began the process of moving to a new facility from 1974 until 1989, when the City of Hastings purchased the old building. It was rededicated in 1993 as city hall.

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