A Brief History of Chaska
The area of Chaska was originally inhabited by Native Americans called the “Mound Builders” around 1200 BC. Three of the mounds still exist and are marked in Chaska's City Square. The Mound Builders were soon superseded by the Dakota and in 1796, the first recorded year of Chaska's history, were the dominant tribe in the area.
Chaska's name is the Dakota word meaning “first-born son.” The site was first occupied by Europeans in 1700 by French explorer Pierre-Charles Le Sueur who was charting the Minnesota River, then called St. Peter's River. The area was first opened for settlement in 1851 after the signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and was settled by Thomas Andrew Holmes.
As County Seat, the town grew quickly and became established due to agriculture, bricks, and lumber. The city further grew as the sugar industry rose to prominence in the 1950's, nicknaming the city the “Sugar City.” Since then the city has been experiencing rapid growth, first with the Jonathan New Town design concept, and now with the completion of highway 212, a near-direct route to Minneapolis, and the annexing of the remaining portions of the Chaska township for a 600-acre “Smart Growth” styled development. Chaska is now home to several modern industries but holds fast to its heritage and the maintenance of its small town charm.