SAUK RAPIDS -- Municipal Park along the Mississippi River on the north end of Sauk Rapids is a very popular park. However, at one point that was a completely different townsite.

Osauka was established and platted from about 1848 until about 1857. The area that encompasses Municipal Park and Fisher's Mobile Home Park was included in the town.

It didn't have much except for a trading post and a hotel. Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby says it also boasted the claim of having one of the very first ferries across the rive in this area.

That was part of the Ox Cart Trail.  There were only select zones where you could cross the river and ultimately one of the first ferries in the Sauk Rapids area was down in that area. If you go to Municipal Park today, and you look hard enough down there, you'll find a big rock with a metal ring.  That was the ferry line.

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The other rock with the metal ring can be found on the other side of the river along some private property.

Ostby says the financial panic of 1857 pretty much destroyed the dreams of the founders of creating an established town of Osauka.

At Fisher's, there is a granite monument that marks the area.

Also, Osauka Road Northeast out by the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School is named after the townsite.

Image Courtesy of Benton County Historical Society

It is just farmland today but back in the early days of Benton County, some settlers had big dreams of creating a town called Medora in Gilmanton Township. Ostby says they found some prime land along the Elk River.

Medora was laid out as a development platt. They planned to use a small pond there for a dam and build all kinds of businesses.  But, it never even amounted to more than just agricultural property surrounding this little pond.

It was platted as a town site in the late 1840s. A newspaper article announced its official demise in 1900. The panic of 1857 crushed the plans for the plat of Medora.

Once a month Ostby comes on the News @ Noon Show to talk about the forgotten history of Benton County.

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