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Pipestone, Minnesota is the county seat of Pipestone County. Situated in the southwestern part of the state, US Highway 75 and Minnesota Highways 23 and 30 are the main routes through the city. Nearby communities include Airlie, Cazenovia, Hatfield, Ihlen, and Trosky. Egan, South Dakota is about seventeen miles west of Pipestone. The area was inhabited as early as 8,000 BC. A large spearhead known as a Clovis point was discovered in Pipestone County. Petroglyphs created about 2,000 BC were found in the area, some of which were found in the pipestone quarries. Around 200 BC, the Fox Lake Culture inhabited the area, leaving behind mounds and pottery samples. They were followed by the Great Oasis Culture, who lived in the area from 900 to around 1,400 AD, and were likely the first to make use of the pipestone from the quarries, creating tablets with figures that resembled crosses, as well as pipes from the stone. They were replaced by the Oto and Iowa people, and then the Yankton Dakota in the 1600s and 1700s, who settled near the location of the current city, and also made use of the soft red stone. The first Europeans to come into the area were the French, but they were transient. The land passed into American control in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Soon after that, the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through, noting the quarries in their journals. Pipestone County was organized in 1857, but white settlers didn’t come to the area until after the Civil War. The town of Pipestone was platted in 1873, and incorporated in 1891, Charles H. Bennett and Daniel E. Sweet being instrumental in its founding. Population growth waited until 1879, when the Minnesota and Black Hills branch of the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad came through to Woodstock, and was extended to Pipestone in 1881. The town was largely built with rock quarried from the large deposits of local Sioux quartzite. Pipestone’s peak population was 5,328 in 1970, and has been in a slow decline since.


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