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Cottage Grove, Minnesota is situated on the north banks of the Mississippi River, north of its confluence with the Saint Croix River, and about ten miles south of Saint Paul in southwestern Washington County, not far from the Wisconsin border. Nearby communities include Afton, Inver Grove Heights, Hastings, Newport, Nininger, Pine Bend, St. Paul Park, and Woodbury. Most of the early settlers in Cottage Grove came from New England, and were largely grain farmers, although many soon turned to dairy farming. One of the town’s early settlers was James Sullivan Norris, who became known as the founding father of Cottage Grove. In 1842, he made a claim on a farm that he called Cottage Grove. During the next few years, other settled nearby, including John Furber, who established a general store, and built a two-story home on what is now Lamar Avenue. In 1871, John Furber and his brother, Joseph, platted Cottage Grove as a village at what is now known as Old Cottage Grove. Despite being an inland town, Old Cottage Grove was able to do well because it was connected by wagon roads to the river towns. In 1869, the St. Paul & Chicago Railroad built a line through the western part of the Cottage Grove Township, creating the village of Langdon. Cottage Grove Township included the eastern half of Grey Cloud Island, until Grey Cloud Township was formed in 1960. The following year, there was an effort to incorporate Cottage Grove and Woodbury into the village of Washington, an idea that was rejected by Cottage Grove voters. Instead, Cottage Grove was incorporated as a village in 1965, and became a city in 1974.

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