A Rich History

At the extreme northern tip of Wright County, near the junction of the Clearwater and Mississippi Rivers lies our wonderful city of Clearwater.  Clearwater was one of the first towns


Although much of Clearwater's past is now only a memory, it remains a thriving community.  We invite you to tour our city and enjoy its rivertown atmosphere. in the county and celebrated its Sesquicentennial in 2005.  The natural beauty of the area, as well as the dedication of the residents, are what gives Clearwater the reputation of being one of the finest cities around.
From its very beginning Clearwater has been an active and innovative town.  Clearwater residents possess the qualities of hard work, dedication and perseverance to make the city a roaring success.  Clearwater's population is about 1735 people.  Even though it is a small town it sports a "big city" attitude.  The people of Clearwater strive everyday to make the community the best it can be without destroying the "hometown" feeling.


Years ago Franklin Curtiss Wedge stated that Clearwater had the reputation of being one of  the "prettiest little villages in the state."  It is the home of the Octagon House, which was built in the late 1800's and is one of the few remaining such structures in Minnesota.  The Octagon House shows clear evidence of Clearwater's former prominence.  The Congregational Church, which is located on Bluff Street, shows the New England Heritage of the earliest settlers.   These are just a few reasons to make Clearwater part of your travel plans.


Known as "Suland" to the Indians and "The Big Woods" to the newcomers, the settlement of this region west of the Mississippi began after a treaty with the Sioux Indians in 1851.
Alonzo Boyington and Asa White had claims on site as early as 1854 and proposed the name of Eldorado.  Simon Stevens, Horace Webster and John Farwell arrived a year later with claims of their own by "peaceful" settlement resulted in favor of Stevens and company.  Beautifully situated on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi and Clearwater rivers, new the townsite was named Clearwater.


The new settlement grew rapidly and was well populated by 1856.  The Clearwater River provided enough power for a saw mill and two flour mills.


The first settlers, mostly of New England and Canadian origin, brought with them remembrance of their New England architecture and soon constructed Victorian homes and churches in their favorite style:  Gothic, Greek Revival or Italianate.
During the Civil War when the pioneers were destitute for cash.  Whiting Store provided a market for locally gathered ginseng, an herb, which was widely distributed for medicinal purposes.
At the time of the Sioux uprising the frontier settlements were in a panic and alarm spread.  A stockade was built around the Congregational Church, and soldiers garrisoned there to protect settlers.


In 1897 a "cloud burst" destroyed the Clearwater mill dam and the railroad bridge.  Fourteen inches of rain fell in four hours.


The ferry was an important part of Clearwater's rivertown history.  In 1856 the first ferry cable, a three inch manilla rope, was strung across the Mississippi.  Clearwater has the distinction of having had the longest operating ferry on the entire Mississippi River.