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Milan is in northwestern Chippewa County, Minnesota. US Route 59, and Minnesota Highways 7 and 40 are the chief routes through the city. Nearby communities include Appleton, Big Bend City, Watson and, across Lac qui Parle Lake, Cerro Gordo and Lac qui Parle. The roots of European presence in the area that was to become Milan may go back as far as the 13th century, as an iron hatchet such as that used by the Vikings was discovered about six miles northeast of Milan in 1875. In 1825, Fort Renville was constructed southeast of the current townsite, and remained until 1846. A mission, a mill and settlers' cabins were also built there. In the mid-1800s, the future site of Milan was prairie land next to a marsh, west of an old wagon road known as the Fort Abercrombie Trail. The first settlers were largely of Scandinavian descent, and they came after the construction of the Dakota Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was laid in 1879. The town grew up around a railroad tool shed. Milan is in Kragero Township, Chippewa County. The first post office was opened in 1880, and the settlement was incorporated as a village in 1893. Most of the town's founders were farmers. There were bad years in the 1920s and 30s, but farming was good again from the 1940s through the 70s. The 1980s and 90s were tough, and town began losing population and business, although its population rose by more than 13% in the 2000s. Milan's peak population was 624 in 1940.



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