Becker County, MN

County in Northwest MN

Becker County is located in west central Minnesota, 30 miles east of the Fargo/Moorhead MSA. Established by an act of the legislature, Becker county was approved on March 18, 1858. The county is situated in the heart of what is known as Park Region and is considered one of the state's most beautiful and versatile recreation areas. The county contains more than 400 lakes and encompasses 11 communities, including the county seat, Detroit Lakes. It encompasses 1440 square miles, divided into 37 townships, and stretches 30 miles north to south and 48 miles east to west. It is the only Minnesota county containing all the Minnesota state symbols: loons, pink and white lady slippers, wild rice, Norway Pines, blueberries and eagles.

Becker County was named for Brigadier General George Loomis Becker of St. Paul. in 1857, when Minnesota was a new state, Becker was one of three men elected as members of Congress. Minnesota could only send two, so Becker stayed in Minnesota, and authorities promised him they would name the next county after him. Thus, when the county was formed, it was named Becker after the General.

For 10 years after the establishment of Becker County there were no white settlers. The Chippewa (Ojibwe) Indians occupied nearly all of the county. The Sioux Indians had about one half of Cormorant Township and a small part of the corner of Lake Park Township. In 1867, a treaty was signed establishing the White Earth Reservation, a large tract of land in the northern part of Becker County, to be home for the Chippewa Indians.

Colonel George Johnston, the founder of Detroit Lakes, selected the area in 1871 for settlement. He built a flour mill on the Pelican River, and as the Northern Pacific Railroad was constructed through Becker County, the city quickly grew.

As the population of Becker County grew, it became necessary to choose a county seat. There was considerable controversy over the matter. Detroit, Frazee, Audubon, and Lake Park each felt they were the most desirable location.

During 1874 and 1875, the County Commissioners used Lake Park as their meeting place due to the fact that the County Auditor owned a store and had his office in Lake Park, and all of the Commissioners lived west of Detroit.

In August 1875, the Becker County Commissioners resolved to obtain offices in Detroit. The matter was finally decided at an election in the fall of 1877 and resulted in a victory for Detroit by about a ninety percent majority, which settled the county seat contest.

In 1881, the village was incorporated and named Detroit - which is French for strait. By 1884 businesses in Detroit included the elegant Hotel Minnesota, and Lakes Hotel, a bank, a newspaper, and an opera house. Also in 1884, the foundation for the first Courthouse was laid. The first major industry was the Fargo-Detroit Ice Company which bottled and sold pure spring water. In 1885, the village hall was built which housed the County Fire Department. In 1926, Detroit was renamed Detroit Lakes to eliminate postal mix-ups with Detroit, Michigan.

In 1941 a State Fire Marshall described the Courthouse as a very serious fire hazard and a menace to public safety. In a short time, the Courthouse was sold to Gopher Lumber and Wrecking Company of St. Cloud for $531.00. On September 18, 1941, there was a ground-breaking ceremony for the present Courthouse, built by the WPA. Additions and changes have since been made to many parts of the Courthouse.

The only book published on the complete history of Becker County, "History of Becker," by A.H. Wilcox, appeared in 1907. A great deal of history has occurred since that time, but no other edition has been printed to attempt to bring that history up to date. Originally sold at the price of $2.50, the edition is still for sale at the Becker County Museum.


Sponsors of Becker County, MN

Since the founding of our communities, organizations, businesses and citizens have stepped forward to build and serve their community. Click on any of the logos below to learn about those who made this website possible! If you would like to learn about becoming a sponsor CLICK HERE!

Towns of Becker County, MN

The small towns of the Midwest are rich in history and a great way of life! Below you can visit and learn about the small towns we call home! Towns that have their name highlighted have become FEATURED TOWNS. Businesses/organizations from these towns have stepped forward as SPONSORS enabling us to include (or will include as acquired) stories and website links to ALL their community organizations (chambers, groups and departments, etc.), stories and website links to ALL their points of interest, annual festivals/events and stories done about their citizens, veterans and faith community. To learn how to become a featured town CLICK HERE!

Businesses of Becker County, MN

The businesses of our towns are truly the lifeblood of each community, click on any businesses below to learn about them, to learn how to add your business to your town and county page CLICK HERE!