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Metropolitan Homes with a Rural Heart: Dakota County Real Estate
Dakota County, Minnesota rests at the confluence of the Mississippi River, the St. Croix River, and the Minnesota River, so it comes as no surprise that these three rivers play an important role in the culture and in Dakota County real estate. The area was part of a large amount of territory belonging to the Dakota tribe before European settlers moved into the region. In 1689, fur trader Nicholas Perrot proclaimed that much of Dakota, Ojibwa, and other Native American tribal territory now belonged to the country of France. Some of that land was officially annexed to France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1805.
Forty odd years later, on October 27, 1849, Dakota County became one of the nine original Minnesota counties. Kaposia took the county seat in 1853, but it was shifted to Mendota the following year. Hastings has been the county seat since 1857, though Mendota is the center of great historical importance: Mendota was the first permanent European settlement in the state. The Treaty of Mendota was signed, which opened much of Southern Minnesota up for settlement. More settlers flooded the region, and by 1858, Minnesota became an official state.
There was a large demand for real estate during the post-World War II era of the 1960s, which spurred growth along the major highways I-35W and I-35E. Today, Dakota County is the third most populous county of Minnesota, and it contributes to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. 400,675 people make Dakota County real estate their homes, and the cities of Eagan, Hastings, Apple Valley, Rosemount, Lakeville, Inver Grove Heights, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, and Mendota Heights have become an integral part of “the Cities.” Eagan and Hastings are quickly transforming from bedroom suburbia into fully developed cities.
Surprisingly, about a third of the county is suburban with agriculture and open space making up the other two-thirds. Dakota County real estate is largely considered part of the metropolitan area, but the county works hard to preserve farmland and obtain new natural lands and southern townships. There is a sharp contrast between urban and rural, which is even clearer on the outskirts of the more-developed cities. Culturally, Dakota County remains a rural community, and a little over half of its population commutes to work.
Dakota County real estate has the advantage of belonging to the state’s largest school districts. The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district educates 28,000 students, and it’s the fourth largest school district in the entire state.
It’s not all work in Dakota County. The county maintains three regional trails and six parks, and it does its part to promote a healthy relationship with the outdoors via special classes and programs. The county parks have activities for all ages, including your typical snow and water sports like skiing, boating, fishing, and snowmobiling, as well as more exotic recreation such as archery, geocaching, and tracking animals in the wilderness. Visitors and residents even have access to dogsledding and horseback riding.