Looking southwest along Main Street (State Hwy. 108)
Location of Ottertail, Minnesota
|• Total||5.10 sq mi (13.21 km2)|
|• Land||4.28 sq mi (11.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.82 sq mi (2.12 km2)|
|Elevation||1,352 ft (412 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||580|
|• Density||133.6/sq mi (51.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0649060|
Long before there were roads in this area of the country, the best method of travel was by water. Two of these water highways are the Leaf Lake chain, which drains south to the Gulf of Mexico, and Otter Tail Lake, which drains north to Hudson Bay. Because of its strategic position, Native Americans and early explorers often held meetings on the shores of "La Queue de Loutre," so named because of the long sand bar separating the lake from the river, which looked like – and still looks like (two centuries later) – an otter's tail. In the mid-19th century, a fur trader named Donald McDonald started a trading post on the east shore of Lake Ottertail, which he called Ottertail City.
Otter Tail City is in the heart of Otter Tail County, a very popular tourist destination to enjoy Minnesota's vast outdoors to golf, swim, fish, hike, hunt, and much more. In fact, Ottertail City saw a 27-percent population spurt — the greatest in Otter Tail County for the 2010 US Census. Ottertail City’s population was 451 in 2000 but grew to 572 by 2010. In the summer, however, Ottertail City swells to over 1,200.
Located on Minnesota highways 108 and 78, it is nestled among many streams and upwards of a thousand lakes, the largest of which is the namesake, Otter Tail Lake. The base population increases dramatically in the summer, yet it still does not reach the levels that it attained in the 1870s when residents numbered around 1200. During its heyday Ottertail had its own weekly newspaper, five hotels, 27 saloons, and many other types of enterprises necessary for pioneer life.
In the mid-1990s a developer of a trailer park built among ancient Indian burial mounds located within the city limits and shortly thereafter had to settle with the group that sued to protect their ancestral cemetery. Many neighbors have multiple small upthrusts in their backyards which mark one of 23 ancient burial sites located within the trailer park, about 200 miles northwest of Minneapolis. The park still remains on the original grounds but has agreed to preserve and protect the sites to the greatest extent possible (no sites have been destroyed in its development). A few incidents of restless Indian spirits were said to be disturbing families shortly thereafter.
As of the census of 2010, there were 572 people, 245 households, and 171 families residing in the city. The population density was 133.6 inhabitants per square mile (51.6/km2). There were 401 housing units at an average density of 93.7 per square mile (36.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.0% White, 0.2% Native American, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.
There were 245 households of which 22.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 30.2% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.75.
The median age in the city was 47.7 years. 18.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.4% were from 25 to 44; 35.2% were from 45 to 64; and 19.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.2% male and 48.8% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 451 people, 190 households, and 133 families residing in the city. The population density was 102.7 people per square mile (39.7/km²). There were 323 housing units at an average density of 73.6 per square mile (28.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.56% White and 0.44% Native American. 42.8% were of German, 23.7% Norwegian and 7.7% Swedish ancestry.
There were 190 households, out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.2% were married couples living together, 3.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 32.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 115.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,188, and the median income for a family was $43,750. Males had a median income of $23,750 versus $18,438 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,612. About 10.2% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- East Otter Tail History Volume I 1977
- Ottertail City Homepage http://www.ottertailcity.com/historypage_2.htm
- Controversy looms over sacred grounds - Native American cemeteries http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_n7_v31/ai_15989953/pg_2/?tag=content;col1