Plymouth, Minnesota

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Plymouth is the sixth largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. Located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of downtown Minneapolis in Hennepin County, the city is the second largest suburb of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, which is the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.2 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 72,878 in 2009.[1]

The city was ranked at the top of Money magazine's "America's Best Places to Live 2008"[4]. Plymouth is the hometown of Minnesota's U.S Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Once named for Medicine Lake, the city's name was chosen by Hennepin County Commissioners during the county's inception.[5]

Contents

History

Plymouth's history can be traced back to the pre-Colombian period, 1400-1500 AD. The original inhabitants were the Dakota. Their encampment was at the north end of Medicine Lake. The name Medicine Lake is derived from the Native American word "Mdewakan", meaning "Lake of the Spirit." The Dakota named the lake after a warrior overturned his canoe and his body was never recovered.

Antoine LeCounte, a guide and explorer, was the first settler to this area. He arrived in 1848, but did not settle until 1852. He carried mail from the Red River country to points south, trading goods to Native Americans for horses on the way. LeCounte built the first cabin at what is now East Medicine Lake Boulevard at 29th Avenue North.

Plymouth's beginning as a town occurred in 1855 on the northwest shores of what is now known as Parkers Lake. A gristmill and other structures were built in the area. In the spring of 1857, when Parkers Lake flooded, the mill was taken down and moved to Freeport, Minnesota. Freeport is now called Wayzata.

As new settlers arrived in the area, they decided to organize. The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners named the new settlement Plymouth. On April 19, 1858, a group of townspeople met at the home of Francis Day to open elections for town offices. On May 11, 1858, the group voted to change the town's name to Medicine Lake. This was used once at the town meeting, but for reasons, which were not recorded, it was never used again.


During the Dakota War of 1862 between white settlers and the Dakota at Fort Ridgely, near New Ulm, the settlers of Plymouth formed a militia. When the Civil War started, Plymouth paid its volunteers $25 to enlist. At about this time, Plymouth's growth began to take on a new look. Schools and churches were built and a post office was located in Plymouth. By 1863, hotels were being built.

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