Upper Sioux Agency State Park
By Jim Umhoefer
It’s hard to imagine the events of a long-ago summer while strolling on the park lawn, reading historical markers. But by piecing together facts from these signs, a story emerges. Today, visitors to Upper Sioux Agency State Park can reflect on the shared history of early settlers and the Dakota while they walk the land, which was once part of the Yellow Medicine Agency, US government outpost.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park is located 8 miles southeast of Granite Falls on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway in Minnesota’s Yellow Medicine County.
One of three tipis sleep six each and offer an unusual camping experience.
In 1861 the Dakota suffered from hunger brought on by a poor harvest and their plight worsened when US Indian Agents did not distribute food rations. The situation reached a boiling point in the summer of 1862 when four Dakota men killed five settlers in Meeker County. This set off a six-week war known as the US-Dakota conflict.
The Yellow Medicine Agency was destroyed during this conflict. The only remaining building, the restored brick employee duplex, is now a historic site inside Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Foundations of other agency buildings are a reminder of the historic importance of this place.