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Situated near the confluence of the Root River and the Mississippi River, across from La Crosse, Wisconsin, Hokah is in Houston County, Minnesota. Prior to the coming of white settlers, the area was inhabited by the Dakota people, and the town was named for Dakota Chief Wecheschatope Hokah. The first white settler was Edward Thompson, who came with his wife and family in 1851 and built a flour mill and dam on Thompson Creek, a tributary of the Root River. The new settlement was incorporated as a village in 1871 and, by 1875 there were four flour mills, cooper shops, and a railroad depot for the Root River Valley Railroad, which employed as many as five hundred people, building as many as three hundred railroad coaches in a year. By 1880, the town had a plow factory, furniture factory, three blacksmith shops, a shoe shop, two drug stores, and six general stores. However, the Root River Valley Railroad was acquired by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad in 1880, closing the depot in Hokah. The village became a city in 1923. From 1858 to the 1930s, Hokah was home to Lake Como, a 90-acre man-made lake that was created through the construction of a dam on Thompson Creek at Como Falls. However, the dam failed during a flood in 1909, draining the lake. It was rebuilt in 1922, but soil erosion caused the lake bed to fill in, and the former site of Lake Como now hosts a community park, a pool, and a baseball field. Apart from La Crosse, Wisconsin, other nearby communities include Brownsville, Caledonia, Dresbach, Houston, La Crescent, Money Creek, New Hartford, Sheldon, and Yucatan, as well as the Wisconsin localities of Barre Mills, Medary, Onalaska, and Shelby. Winona, Minnesota is about thirty miles northwest of Hokah.

 

 

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