Osakis, Minnesota

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Osakis is a city in Douglas and Todd counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The population was 1,567 at the 2000 census. Osakis was founded in 1857. The town takes its name from the beautiful lake on which the town is located.. The name Osakis is thought to mean place of the Sauk and commemorates a small group of Sauk Indians who lived near the lake in the early 19th century.

The main part of Osakis is in Douglas County; only a small part of the city extends into Todd County.

Osakis is situated on the southwest shore of Lake Osakis, on Minnesota State Highway 27. Osakis is about one mile (1.6 km) from exit 114 of Interstate 94.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²), of which, 2.0 square miles (5.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (5.63%) is water.

Notable natives

  • The "Sauk Valley Man" (or "Sauk Valley Skeleton") found a few miles outside Osakis is an important Archaic Period archeological find and has been dated to approximately 2300 B.C..
  • Gar Wood, inventor of the hydraulic-lift dump truck, boat designer, boat racer, and world water speed record holder was raised in Osakis, and it was a steamboat race on Lake Osakis that got him into racing.
  • Peter Rutten, born in the Netherlands in 1880, founded the Osakis Silo Company in 1922. He designed and patented a new kind of silo roof and in 1953 founded the Railoc Company in Plainfield Illinois to manufacture it.
  • Tommy Gibbons and his brother Mike Gibbons, members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, had a summer home on Osakis Lake. Tommy gave money from his last fight to build Osakis's Church of the Immaculate Conception.
  • John Tax of Osakis (1894-1967) is famous for his handmade fish and duck decoys, one of which has sold for over $100,000. He has been called "The Last of the Prairie Carvers".
  • Ron Weinhold's River Glen Gardens, a 75-acre (300,000 m2) arboretum he developed over the period of six decades, is well known to horticulturists throughout Minnesota.
  • Bill Peterson, Washington Post political reporter and author of several books, including CoalTown Revisited, grew up in Osakis.
  • William Fezler, PhD, author of The Good Girl Syndrome, Creative Imagery, and other books on psychology, graduated from Osakis H.S. in 1963.
  • Leif Enger, author of the best-selling novel Peace Like a River was born and raised in Osakis.

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