Ronald Christopher Zurek is the Benton County Coordinator for theMNGenWeb/USGenWeb Project and has developed a website for individuals with a genealogical or historical interest in this region. Ron has deep family roots in Benton County: his great-grandfather, Edmund Mark Zawacki, homesteaded in Gilmanton Township. Sauk Rapids and Benton County is 100-year journey from a primitive wilderness of the 1850s to a modern community of the 1950s.
Sauk Rapids and Benton County, Minnesota (Images of America)by Ronald Christopher Zurek, Ron Zurck
Sauk Rapids and Benton County tells the rich and interesting history of one of the oldest counties in the state of Minnesota. Benton County was named for Thomas Hart Benton, long time Senator from Missouri, for his efforts in securing the passage of the Homestead Act that helped early settlers, their families, and the descendants live and prosper in this region.
Sauk Rapids and Benton County tells the rich and interesting history of one of the oldest counties in the state of Minnesota. Benton County was named for Thomas Hart Benton, long time Senator from Missouri, for his efforts in securing the passage of the Homestead Act that helped early settlers, their families, and the descendants live and prosper in this region. Sauk Rapids, one of the five original townships created in Benton County in 1858, was named for the rapids of the Mississippi River near downtown. For several years the village was the northernmost point of steamboat navigation on the Mississippi River for passengers coming up from the Twin Cities.
Featuring nearly 200 vintage photographs, Sauk Rapids and Benton County takes the reader on a historic tour of the past from the Indian settlements of the Ojibwe, to the Great Northern Railroad, to the Sauk Rapids cyclone of 1886, to the Benton County ancestors, and to their present-day descendants with their businesses, industries, and daily activities.
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What's the best way to get people interested in history? Pictures, of course. Ronald Christopher Zurek pieces together almost 200 vintage photographs into a regional history in "Sauk Rapids and Benton County." Going back as far as the 1850s, the book explores the industries, businesses and the people that have contributed to the area's growth. James J. Hill's influence on the railroads and the tiny saloon that was to become Coborn's Superstore are just some of the highlights. Group portraits dominate the book, capturing the lifestyles of granite workers, young men leaving for World War II and operators connecting telephone conversations at the turn of the century. And we can't forget the Prohibition era federal officers reveling in their moonshine bust. The Ojibwe American Indians who originally lived in the Benton County area serve as a brief introduction to the rest of the book. One chapter focuses on Sauk Rapids' fatal 1886 cyclone, with photos of the destruction.
An excellent pictorial book on Sauk Rapids and the surrounding communities in Benton County. The photos of the aftermath from the Sauk Rapids cyclone of 1886 were facinating as were those of the early residents, their growing businesses, and prospering industries.