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Crookston is the county seat of Polk County, and located in northwestern Minnesota. There is no evidence that the area upon which the town was located was occupied prior to its settlement by European-Americans, as it is not connected to any verifiable Native American settlement in the 1870s, although it likely served as a hunting ground. The area was visited by trappers and traders, including Ojibwa and Lakota Indians, Métis, and other mixed-race people between 1790 and 1870. The area was settled around 1872, and became the site of a federal land office in 1876. The town was incorporated as Queen City in 1879. The Great Northern Railway came through the town around 1880 and shortly afterward, the town was renamed to honor Colonel William Crooks, a soldier and railroad man. At one point, eight different railroad lines were serving Crookston, which had become a center of commerce and manufacturing. In recent years, the town has declined in population somewhat, as it has suffered from increased competition from nearby Grand Forks, North Dakota. Crookston is located in the Red River Valley, which was once part of glacial Lake Agassiz, which left rich mineral deposits when it receded. Grains, sugar beets, and potatoes grew well in the area around Crookston. The Red Lake River runs through the area, making several twists and turns. The city is served by US Highways 2 and 75, and Minnesota Highways 9 and 102, and Crookston is the northern terminus of the Agassiz Recreational Trail, a 53-mile trail that follows an abandoned railroad grade, beginning in Ulen. Nearby communities include Bygland, Climax, Dorothy, Eldred, Euclid, Fisher, Gentilly, Greenview, Harold, Huot, Key West, Mallory, Melvin, Red Lake Falls, and Tilden Junction.

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