Here’s One for the History Buffs!

You’ve Always Wondered, and We’re Here to Boil it Down for You

A brief, but detailed look, inside the history of Cottage Grove

  • Prior to the arrival of European American settler-colonists, the Ojibwe and Dakota tribes, specifically the Wahpekute division of the Dakota, and the Oceti Ŝakowiŋ tribe, which was a collective of the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota people more commonly known as the Sioux Nation, lived on the land that is now Cottage Grove (Native Lands) for thousands of years.
  • Under 1837 treaties, the Ojibwe ceded their lands between the Mississippi and St. Croix and the Dakota ceded their land east of the Mississippi.
  • Most of the early settlers of Cottage Grove came from New England. Because of this, Cottage Grove was nicknamed “New England of the West.”
  • The founding father of Cottage Grove was James Sullivan Norris.
  • Most of the early settlers were grain farmers as the region had rich soil and convenient access to markets. Later, residents turned to dairying and Cottage Grove became known for its creameries and dairy farms.

We get it, you know that Cottage Grove is a rapidly growing City, we say it all the time, but this really is and always has been true!

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, Cottage Grove included about 100 residents. By 1950, the population was up to 833, and by 1960, it had grown to over 4,800.
  • In 1963, Cottage Grove was approved as an official village, and in 1965 the first City Council meeting was held. In the photo to the right, you will see the very first Town Hall for the City of Cottage Grove. In fact, it’s still standing today!
  • In the 1970’s, the population was up to 13,400.
  • Cottage Grove became an official city in 1974.
  • In 2000, Cottage Grove had grown closer to its current size, at a population of 30,000.

2020 Census data is still being reviewed, but quick insights tell us that the current population sits at 38,835 for this amazing, growing community. (

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