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Named for Sleepy Eye Lake, which was itself named for Chief Sleepy Eyes, who had settled his people near the lake after agreeing to a treaty the cede land along the upper Minnesota River, the city of Sleepy Eye is in Brown County, in southern Minnesota.

Although Sleepy Eye's progression from a rural settlement to an incorporated village was due to the coming of the railroad, there were people there before the railroad came. In 1862, a few white families acquired land near the lake. Thomas Allison, one of the early settlers, would later play a part in Sleepy Eye's incorporation as a village.

Like many Minnesota towns, the Village of Sleepy Eye was founded as a stop along the railroad. By May of 1872, the Winona and Saint Peter Railroad (Chicago Northwestern) had nearly completed its tracks to Sleep Eye Lake. As the area contained several sloughs, the railroad employed five hundred workers to grade the land to support its tracks. The railroad had a two-story frame building on a flatcar to accommodate its construction crews, which included a dinine area on the lower floor. By July, the rail lines had reached the lakes. Some of the railroad workers enjoyed the area enough to bring their families and settle there permanently.

By October of 1872, the railroad depot was built, and those who were going to stay had erected homes. Sleepy Eye had already been platted as a village in September by Walter Brackenridge, an attorney for the railroad, and Thomas Allison, who had bought land near the lake. The settlement was incorporated as a village in 1878.

As a response to public sentimant against Native Americans, Sleepy Eye residents voted to change the name of the village to Loreno in 1880. However, the following year it was changed again, this time to Sleepy Eye Lake, which was later shortened to Sleepy Eye.

The first hotel in Sleepy Eye was built for Christian Emmerich in 1899, and another was built by Carl Berg in the same year. The village's first store was operated by William Robinson.

Jacob W.B. Wellcome, Sr. served as the doctor for Sleepy Eye for sixty years.

A library was established by F.H. Dyckman, a local banker, in 1900. He had started the village's first bank, which later became State Bank. The First National Bank was established the following year by C.D. Griffith and W.W. Smith.

Sleepy Eye's first log school was replaced by a two-story frame school building in 1874, and later added to.

The Sleepy Eye Flour Milling Company opened in 1883, operating until 1921. At one time, it was the largest rural flour mill in the country.

A fire department was organized in 1887.

Sleepy Eye Lake, for which the city was named, went dry for a period of time in the 1880s, and again in 1931 and 1932. During the latter period, people planted gardens on the lake bed, and grew potatoes there. Today, Sleepy Eye Lake is 227 acres in size, and 21 feet deep at its deepest point.

The Sleepy Eye Golf Club is located in an isolated southwest portion of the city. Prairie View Park is nearby. Other parks and recreational spaces in Sleepy Eye include Allison Park, Burnside Park, Kiefer Park, and Sleepy Eye Sportsmens Park

The main traffic routes through the city are US Highway 14 and Minnesota State Highways 4 and 68. The unincorporated communities of Iberia and Essig are about six miles away, north-northwest and west, respectively. The city of Cobden is about seven miles west, and Evan is nine miles northwest of Sleepy Eye.

Sleepy Eye is often mentioned on the television series, Little House on the Prairie. On that series, Charles Ingalls makes deliveries from Walnut Grove to Sleepy Eye, and it is also the fictional home of the blind school that Mary Ingalls and her husband ran in the latter episodes of the series. Sleepy Eye is about forty miles east of Walnut Grove.

The focus of this guide is on the city of Sleepy Eye, as well as Sleepy Eye Lake. Websites representing the municipal government or any local schools, churches, organizations, or individuals are appropriate topics for this category.


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