Wooden sign mounted between stone pillars
January 22, 2021

History of Lake Shetek State Park


Tensions escalate between the Dakota and white settlers leading to a group of Dakota attacking the Lake Shetek settlement in the early days of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.


The bodies of the 15 white settlers who were killed in the attack are buried within the current park boundaries by military officials.


A 25-foot granite monument is erected at the burial site to honor the white settlers; it does not mention the genocide of the Dakota people.


The park is established with legislation authorizing the purchase of 10 acres surrounding the monument and stating that it is “hereby declared a state park.”


An additional 181 acres is acquired for the park and laborers from the Works Progress Administration and a National Parks Service-directed transient camp build an entrance road, picnic grounds, sewage system, parking area, water system, bathhouse and beach, campground, group camp with a mess hall and causeway to Loon Island.


The park is re-established in recognition of development work, many consider this the official establishment date of the park.


Park is enlarged to 397 acres.


Park’s statutory boundary further enlarged to 1,175 acres, but only 708 were owned by 1971.


The park owns 938 acres and a key peninsula is secured for the park by Parks & Trails Council.

Lake Shetek Land Portfolio Page

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