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The city of Houston is in northern Houston County, in southeastern Minnesota. Platted in 1852 by William McSpadden, the village was named for Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, who McSpadden had served under during the Mexican-American War. When McSpadden arrived, a band of Winnebago Indians were living on a bend in the Root River. After platting the town, McSpadden returned to La Crosse, where he operate a ferry, dividing his time between the two places while encouraging immigrants to located in his Root River settlement. By 1854, he had settled in Houston permanently. Other early settlers include Ole Knudson, Walter Webster, Lars Johnson, David Johnson, Henry Hyatt, and Charles Gainer. In 1854, there were about forty buildings in the new settlement, including stores and a school. Houston was incorporated as a city in 1874. An area just outside of the city is known as Houston Township, organized in 1858. The Root River enters the township at its most western section, flowing east through the southern part of the township, passing just north of the city, while the South Fork of the Root River enters the main stream just east of the city. A ferry across the Root River was established in 1858, which was later replaced by a bridge. The first manufacturing business was a sawmill, built on the bank of Silver Creek by McSpadden in 1855, in an area where there was a natural falls that could provide water power. The original village of Houston was south of the current townsite. Its business interests moved beginning in 1866 after the Southern Minnesota Railroad was constructed through a point north of the current downtown section. Nearby communities include Bratsberg, Brownsville, Caledonia, Choice, Highland, Hokah, La Crescent, Money Creek, New Hartford, Peterson, Rushford, Sheldon, and and Yucatan. La Crosse, Wisconsin is about twenty miles east of Houston.



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