Diverse Geographical Area
Rosemount is situated in a geological area, the terminal moraine of a glacier. The northern area is filled with pot hole ponds created by departing chunks of ice, while southern Rosemount is the glacial flood plain. There are numerous sand and gravel deposits in this area as well as acres of flat, open farmland.
The southern region of Rosemount was once part of a treeless prairie. Early pioneers were hesitant to venture into the prairie and settled in the wooded regions, yet soon realized that the prairie was better suited for farming. Often more than one family would settle together on land located in the woods and on the prairie to make the best use of both parts of the land.
The Rosemount area was originally inhabited by the Lower Band Mdewakanton of the Santee Sioux tribe. On August 5, 1851, Chief Little Crow, the leader of the New Ulm Indian uprising, signed a treaty at Pilot Knob in Mendota, turning the land over to the federal government.
It does not take a visitor long to realize that there is a strong Irish tradition in Rosemount. The Rosemount high school teams use the nickname the Irish and a shamrock is featured on the Rosemount City flag. Leprechaun Days, an event celebrating the community’s Irish heritage, is held annually at the end of July. The Rosemount area phone book is filled with names such as Corrigan, Duffy, Dunn, McDonough, McMenomy, and Neary.
How is it that Rosemount has this strong Irish tradition? In 1853, the first settlers, William and Walter Strathern and C. H. Carr, came from Scotland by way of New York to stake a claim. They were followed soon after by many immigrants, most of whom were Irish Catholics. As the number of settlers increased, there came a need for community organization. On May 11, 1858, settlers met at the home of Thomas Dowd for the first township meeting. Coincidentally, this was the same day that Minnesota became a state.
From Township to Village to City
The main issue discussed at the first town meeting was the naming of the town: Rosemount or Saratoga? Years earlier, in 1855, the first post office had been named Rosemount by Andrew Keegan. Because of strong Irish sentiments and the fact that there is a village in Ireland of the same name, Rosemount was chosen.
The first major road in the area was Dodd Road, commissioned by the State of Minnesota to be built by Captain William B. Dodd to link Mendota with St. Peter, Minnesota. The first town itself was located along Dodd Road, but when the railroad was planned there was a disagreement between the railroad and some landowners. As a result, in 1864, the railroad was built a half-mile east of Dodd Road and the business area moved over along the railroad. The railroad line at that time was the Minnesota Central, which ran between Mendota and Faribault.
The railroad put a 40,000 bushel capacity grain elevator in town in 1867 and the new business district developed around it; the elevator is still being used. The village was laid out in its present location by J.A. Case in 1866 and incorporated in 1875. In 1876 the first town hall was built and by the 1880 census the population of Rosemount was 964.