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Sauk Centre, Minnesota is the birthplace of Sinclair Lewis, a novelist whose book, Main Street, was inspired by Sauk Centre, although he used the fictional setting of Gopher Prairie.

Sauk Centre is situated in Stearns County, roughly in the geographical center of Minnesota. The main routes through the city are Interstate 94, US Highway 71, and Minnesota State Highway 28, with US Highway 71 forming the city's Main Street.

West Union is about eight miles northwest of Sauk Centre, Melrose ten miles southeast, Elrosa twelve miles south, and Round Prairie thirteen miles to the north.

Sauk Lake is a large body of water that forms the city's northern border to the east, while a large portion of the lake extends into the center of the city on the west. The Sauk River extends from the lower part of the lake, flowing through the southeastern part of the city. Several other lakes are just outside of Sauk Centre, including Fairy Lake, Birch Lake, and Cedar Lake. The abundance of lakes makes Sauk Centre a popular destination for vacationers interested in boating or fishing.

Sauk Centre was settled in the 1860s. Most histories suggest that the choice of a name for the town was done by lottery, with each of the eight original landowners submitting suggestions. Sauk Centre was submitted by Alexander Moore, the man who platted the town. Although Sauk was the name of an Indian tribe, it is not known that they had ever inhabited the region that became Sauk Centre. At the time that it was settled, it was known to have recently been Dakota land ceded in the Treaty of 1846.

Although the city is situated near the geographic center of the state, Centre, in its name, was a reference to its being centrally located between many Native American trails and next to the Sauk River, which was then essential to trade. In the 1940s, the town lobbied for the right to retain the original British spelling.

Some early Sauk Centre business included the Capser Store, which was operated by Joseph Capser, a European immigrant who established it as a store and saloon.

The Sauk Centre House was the third business building in Sauk Centre. It served as a hotel, saloon, and brothel before burning to the ground in 1900. The Palmer House Hotel was built on the site of the Sauk Centre House and is still in operation.

The Great Northern and Northern Pacific rail lines (now owned by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway) extended their lines to the city in 1878, once offering freight and passenger service.

Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre in 1885, spending the first thirteen years of his life there. Today, the Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home is a National Historic Landmark. Other properties on the National Register of Historic Places include the Palmer House, constructed in 1901, the Minnesota Home School for Girls, and the Original Main Street Historic District, built between 1920 and 1947.

Sauk Centre has never been a large city but, except for slight declines in population between 1900-1910 and 1970-1990, it has enjoyed modest growth, reporting a population of over 4,000 in 2010.

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