Have you ever wondered how some of the towns here in Central Minnesota got their names?  Who came up with Sauk Centre? Where did St. Cloud come from?  What is the meaning behind Sauk Rapids?  I've got the story behind five towns and if you know how your town got it's name, well I love a good history lesson.

I did a little digging to find out how St. Cloud, Monticello, Sauk Rapids, Brainerd and Sauk Centre got their names. Here's their stories.



St. Cloud



St. Cloud Water Tower
Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News


St. Cloud seems to be a pretty basic name with not much excitement behind it, but don't be fooled. There are a couple of stories on this town's name came to be.  The most interesting comes from lakesnwoods.com, where they claim that the first settler in the area read about the life of Napoleon and discovered that the Empress Josephine spent a lot of time at a beautiful palace in St. Cloud, France.

Wikipedia claims St. Cloud was named after the town in France, which was named after a well known monk.






Sunset - Monticello, MN
Katie Kartak/TSM


Monticello sounds like a pretty fancy name but the story behind it is a little strange. According to Discover Monticello, it was called Moritzious in the early 1850's. The town was named after Moritious Weisberg, an officer with the Hungarian army. What makes it strange is I'm not sure what this man has to do with the town itself.

This is where I will make my case that they should teach a history course on your town while you're in school!



Sauk Rapids



Jim Maurice, WJON


The origin of Sauk Rapids' name is a bit interesting. The City of Sauk Rapids claims the town first became populated in the early 1850's and was named after the rapids just below the mouth of the Sauk River, where it meets the Mississippi River.





Gull Lake - Brainerd, MN
Katie Kartak/TSM


Brainerd is one of my favorite towns and the story of its name origins is kind of sweet. The town was run by a man by the name of John Gregory Smith, who was president of the Northern Pacific Railroad.  According to the city website for Brainerd, the town was named after his wife, Anne Eliza Brainerd and her father, Lawrence Brainerd.

If that doesn't scream love, I don't know what does!



Sauk Centre


Sauk Centre
Google Street View


According to lakesnwoods.com, Sauk Centre got its name because of its central location on the Sauk River. Resident, Alexander Moore suggested the name because of the town's position between the Sauk Rapids of the Mississippi River and Lake Osakis.



Some of the towns have an interesting history when it comes to their name origins, others not so much. Still, it's cool to have an idea of where they came from.

I know there must be interesting stories behind the names of other towns. Do you know the story of yours? If so, please share!


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