Rum River South County Park, Anoka (mid-Rum River)

Metis Ox Cart Trail drivers forded the Rum River at this point.

The Red River Ox Cart Trail crossed the Rum River at two places before a bridge was built at Main Street. One spot was at the Rum River South County Park, across the river from old state hospital. There is an Ox Cart Trail interpretive sign on the east side of the river, near the bike trail.

Heading south, the trail then cut through where the Northstar Station now stands, then cut back toward the Mississippi to follow what is now Coon Rapids Boulevard.
When a mill was built near downtown in 1854, the mill dam flooded this upstream ford, but by then much of the traffic had moved to the bridge built in 1853, where Main Street now crosses the river.

In the 19th century, the Red River Métis created a distinctive way of life that combined European, particularly French, cultures with Native American, particularly Ojibwe, ones. In addition to speaking the indigenous languages, as well as French and English, Métis people had their own language, a blend of Ojibwe, Cree and French called Michif, which is still spoken today. They were known for their unique style of fiddle music and the accompanying dance, known as “jigging.” Growing up in indigenous or Métis communities, Métis children learned values important to indigenous cultures, including sharing with kin and respecting elders. Above all, Métis people were unified by a common occupational identity — whether they were buffalo hunters or company clerks, most were a part of the fur trade.

Métis dress became a style used to signify a frontier identity, even among those who were not, strictly speaking, Métis. A finger-woven sash, a long coat, called a “capote,” porcupine quilled or beaded gloves, a bandolier bag and moccasins became the standard dress of those in the fur trade.

Images

South County Park, Anoka, viewed from the west side of the rum River near the Ox Cart Trail ford.

South County Park, Anoka, viewed from the west side of the rum River near the Ox Cart Trail ford.

Creator: Reggie McLeod; photographed October 2017 View File Details Page

Interpretive sign near the Rum River Regional Trail, Anoka

Interpretive sign near the Rum River Regional Trail, Anoka

Creator: Reggie McLeod, photographed October 2017 View File Details Page

Interpretive sign near the Rum River Regional Trail, Anoka

Interpretive sign near the Rum River Regional Trail, Anoka

Creator: Reggie McLeod, photographed October 2017 View File Details Page

Text of sign

Text of sign

Creator: Reggie McLeod, photographed October 2017 View File Details Page

Audio

Commentary: Rum River South County Park

Creator: Amanda Norman View File Details Page

Amanda Norman biographical

Creator: Amanda Norman View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Reggie McLeod for the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership
(Copyright 2017, Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership), “Rum River South County Park, Anoka (mid-Rum River),” Minneapolis Historical, accessed December 14, 2017, http://minneapolishistorical.org/items/show/143.

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