Altura, Minnesota

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Altura is a town in Winona County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 417 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Altura started out as a hunting ground for the Sioux Indians. They hunted deer, bear, wolves, quail, and other game native to the area. They also trapped mink and muskrat in the streams that now run through many of the farms. The Sioux Indians were here until 1853 when they signed the Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux, and the Treaty of Mendota, which made the territory available for settlement.

When the Sioux Indians left, the government offered the land for $1.25 an acre to the settlers for staking their claims.

Settlers started to come and stake their claims, but many didn't have the money to even buy 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land at $1.25 an acre. The settlers who could not afford to buy were allowed to come and choose what land they wanted and stake their claim. There was trouble with other settlers coming along and jumping their claims of land. Staking the land did not give them title to it, because they have not paid for it. There were groups of settlers that would form "claim clubs", which would hire a rough looking character to guard the claims of the settlers in that certain group or club. They would build a shack for him to stay in and he would patrol the land and would likely shoot any person coming in to jump a claim. Mean while the settlers would then go to either relatives or to a loan shark in Winona, who would charge them 18-20% interest, and get the money they needed.

In early days towns were usually built four to six miles (10 km) apart so that a person could journey to a town at the slow pace of an oxen, and return home again before night fall. Oxen were a common animal in that time and well into the 1870s when they were finally replaced by horses.

This land worth $1.25 an acre was well publicized, even in Europe. A farm of 30 to 40 acres (160,000 m2) in Europe was considered good sized, with usually half of the land terraced becausxe of the hilly terrain. This land drew many immigrants mainly from the countries of Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

Surrounding Area Let us take a look at the surrounding area: Elba, MN, with its two mills in 1878; and Beaver, MN, with its bluffs towering 400 to 500 feet (150 m), was established in 1865. Whitewater Falls, MN, literally washed away had been established in 1857. Bethany, MN platted in 1891, was located southeast of our Altura location.

Notable residents and natives

Location

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.7 km2), all of it land.

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