About Us

Jackson County, Minnesota was first established in 1857, and a permanent government was established in 1866. The Jackson County Historical Society was organized in 1931 when a few exhibits were located in the basement of the courthouse in Jackson. By 1972, a new location was needed, and we made our new home in the former Jackson County Farmer's Exchange Building in Lakefield. Throughout our history, we have been dedicated to discovering and collecting materials that illustrate the history of Jackson County, preserving them, and making them available for study and enjoyment.

"The Lone Tree"

As one of the few prominent trees among a vast sea of prairie grassland, the Lone Tree on the south shore of South Heron Lake served as a navigational tool for Native Americans and pioneers alike as they traversed the plains. It is rumored one of Inkpaduta's men scaled the tree as a lookout after the Springfield Massacre of 1857. This tree stood as a prominent fixture in the heart of Jackson County until August 31, 1925 when it was burned to the ground by vandals.

Though gone for almost a century now, the spirit of the Lone Tree nevertheless stands tall in the minds of Jackson County residents, and it remains today a powerful symbol for Jackson County history. It represents the county's roots: small communities on the prairie standing tall through the winds of adversity. Although it is part of the past, history continues to cast its shadow on the present, influencing and informing decisions we make each day. Its status as a navigational guidepost for earlier residents of Jackson County calls to mind how we use history as a way to navigate our lives. History reminds us of our greatest successes and our most shameful mistakes and instructs us how to create a better future for ourselves. The Lone Tree, in short, epitomizes the work of the Jackson County Historical Society and the ongoing project that is history.

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots" - Marcus Garvey