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Stewartville stockade was refuge during Dakota War

Oh great man of knowledge and wisdom, can you tell us about Fort Buck, which was located southwest of Stewartville? It was supposed to have been a shelter for pioneers during the Dakota War of 1862. — Jim S.

You've come to the right place, as so many people have before you, for information. Remember this name: Answer Man. Always at your service.

The Buck Stockade, as I wrote in a 2009 column, was a tiny, temporary structure to which settlers in the area fled during the Dakota War . It was about 1 1/2 miles southwest of the current go-go city of Stewartville, and the ruins survived into the 1970s. The stone walls on which the wooden stockade had stood were cleared at that time, but a stone farmhouse was still on the site, last I heard.

It’s private property, so as I cautioned three years ago, don’t go poking around on someone else's property without permission.

It's one of the few sites in our area that has a link to the Dakota War, which erupted on the frontier 150 years ago this summer. If you don't know much about the Dakota War, you're like just about every other Minnesotan — and if you're a Minnesotan of a certain age, you know it by the name "Great Sioux Uprising," a name that was appropriately retired a while back. The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul has an exhibition on the war that opens on June 30. For details, call (651) 259-3000.


In my tireless research on this topic, I discovered a movie called "The Great Sioux Uprising" that came out in 1953. Like most movies, it has almost no basis in fact. The synopsis on the Internet Movie Database says, "During the Civil War, Southern agitators and a crooked horse dealer endanger the peace between the Union and the Wyoming Sioux."

I'll leave that one undisturbed at Netflix.

If you have questions or tips for me related to the Dakota War, let's hear them.


Dear Answer Man, was Rochester's St. Marys Park once called College Park or College Hill Park? — Thomas F. Landherr, Byron

What's now called Pill Hill was once called College Hill, and what's now a leafy little park with a big, somewhat unattractive but historic water tower was called College Hill Park, as far as I can tell.


Dear Answer Man, is it true that the city of Rochester will help you pay for a raingarden? Does it make sense that you can get public money for a garden on private property?


I'll leave the policy question for others, but it's true that you can get help from the city to develop a raingarden on residential property. It's called the Realize Raingardens Rochester program, it's on a cost-share basis and you can get up to $750 in grant money. Grant recipients also agree to open their raingardens to public visits.

There were seven recipients last year, including Rochester City Council Member Michael Wojcik and his wife, Lisa. The complete list is on the web at www.rochesterstormwater.com .

In case you're daydreaming about that city money, the grant period for this year has closed, but for more information, call Megan Duffey, the city's Storm Water Educator, at 328-2440.

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