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The generations have left an imprint on the land now known as UMore Park. Long before the Europeans arrived, it was the exclusive domain of the Mdewakanton band of Dakota Indians. Geographical surveys began with French astronomer and cartographer Joseph Nicollet in 1838.
By 1870, local farmers had about 80 percent of the land in Dakota County in production. Farm families began vacating their homes in May of 1942 for the federal government’s site preparation for the Gopher Ordnance Works, a facility to produce “smokeless powder,” the basic propellant for American military ordnance. World War II ended just as the initial facility came on line, and in 1947-1948, the U.S. government deeded about 7,686 acres of the Gopher Ordnance Works land to the University of Minnesota.
Since then, researchers from across the University – from the aeronautical engineering department to the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences – have conducted research at the site. A detailed history is presented in A Historical Interpretation and Preservation Plan for UMore Park by John Lauber, Historic Preservation and Community Planning, published April 2006 (11.5 MB PDF).
To learn more about specific milestones in UMore Park history, view the UMore Park timeline.
Over time, various analyses of aspects of and uses for the property have been undertaken including strategic planning launched in 2006 and the creation of a concept master plan for UMore Park completed in 2009. View select UMore Park publications to see vision reports and assessments for the property.
View select UMore Park maps to see the location and existing land use of the property.