Flooding the Town of Beaver
(pg 1 of 5)
Even in the days before European settlement,
when the Whitewater River in southeastern Minnesota
ran through hardwoods and patches of prairie and
savanna, the stream ran cloudy after heavy rains.
In fact, Dakota Indians named it for its occasional
But during the late 1800s white settlers of the
area switched from wheat, which held soil
comparatively well, to corn, which protected it
hardly at all, especially when hills were plowed up
and down the slope. With the advent of tractors,
farmers plowed steeper slopes. Hills too steep to
plant were logged and put to pasture.
By the early 1900s gullies crept up the slopes
and cleaved the hillsides. Rain cascaded off the
fields and pastures, washing topsoil into the
rivers. Once-prosperous farms, covered by sand and
mud, were abandoned.