Becker County, Minnesota

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Becker County
1913 Prairie School Carnegie library designed by Claude and Starck in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.
Map of Minnesota highlighting Becker County
Location within the U.S. state of Minnesota
Map of the United States highlighting Minnesota
Minnesota's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 46°56′N 95°40′W / 46.93°N 95.67°W / 46.93; -95.67
Country United States
State Minnesota
FoundedMarch 18, 1858 (created)
1871 (organized)[1]
Named forGeorge Loomis Becker
SeatDetroit Lakes
Largest cityDetroit Lakes
Area
 • Total1,445 sq mi (3,740 km2)
 • Land1,315 sq mi (3,410 km2)
 • Water130 sq mi (300 km2)  9.0%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total35,183
 • Density25.9/sq mi (10.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district7th
Websitewww.co.becker.mn.us

Becker County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 35,183.[2] Its county seat is Detroit Lakes.[3] Part of the White Earth Indian Reservation extends into the county. The county was created in 1858 and organized in 1871.

History[edit]

Becker County became a county on March 18, 1858. It was named for George Loomis Becker,[4] one of three men elected to Congress when Minnesota became a state. Since Minnesota could only send two, Becker elected to stay behind, and he was promised to have a county named after him.

Colonel George Johnston founded the city of Detroit Lakes in 1871. It grew quickly with the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Johnston led settlers from New England to settle in this region.[5] An 1877 election decided that Detroit Lakes, then known as Detroit, would become the county seat. Detroit won the election by a 90% majority. Frazee, Lake Park, and Audubon were also in the running.

Soils of Becker County[6]
Soils of Callaway WMA area
A country road in Becker County in summer

In 1884, Detroit Lakes had many businesses, including two hotels, a bank, a newspaper, and an opera house. The first courthouse was built that year. In 1885, the first county fire department was constructed. In 1903, the Soo Line Railroad built a line through the county.

Detroit Lakes hosts a park dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic. The city rededicated the park on April 15, 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the death of President Lincoln. Colonel Tom Mortenson and his wife, Pam, sponsored the rededication, representing the Women's Relief Corps, which spearheaded community support for the effort that included new signage for the park and a time capsule to be opened on the 200th anniversary.[7]

Geography[edit]

The county terrain consists of low rolling hills, tree-covered and dotted with lakes and ponds.[8] The terrain slopes to the west and north. Its highest point is a hill 2.1 miles (3.4 km) northeast of Wolf Lake, the site of the USFS Wolf Lake lookout tower, at 1,861' (567m) ASL.[9] The next highest point is near its northwest corner, at 1,631' (497m) ASL.[10] The county has an area of 1,445 square miles (3,740 km2), of which 1,315 square miles (3,410 km2) is land and 130 square miles (340 km2) (9.0%) is water.[11]

Becker County has diverse topography. It is home to several hundred lakes, many acres of fertile farm land, and forested areas. Much of the land consists of hills and deciduous trees.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Protected areas[edit]

  • Atlanta State Wildlife Management Area
  • Becker State Wildlife Management Area
  • Callaway State Wildlife Management Area
  • Frank State Wildlife Management Area
  • Greenwater Lake Scientific and Natural Area
  • Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge
  • Hasca State Park (part)
  • Lunde State Wildlife Management Area
  • Melbye State Wildlife Management Area
  • Ogema Springs State Wildlife Management Area
  • Pednor State Wildlife Management Area
  • Riparia State Wildlife Management Area
  • Smoky Hills State Forest
  • Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
  • Teiken-Dalve State Wildlife Management Area
  • Two Inlets State Forest
  • White Earth State Wildlife Management Area

[8]

Climate and weather[edit]

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
0.8
 
 
19
−2
 
 
0.5
 
 
26
3
 
 
1.1
 
 
37
17
 
 
1.9
 
 
56
32
 
 
3.5
 
 
69
45
 
 
4.4
 
 
78
55
 
 
3.8
 
 
82
60
 
 
3
 
 
81
58
 
 
3.6
 
 
71
47
 
 
3.1
 
 
56
35
 
 
1.2
 
 
38
21
 
 
0.7
 
 
23
5
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[12]

In recent years, average temperatures in Detroit Lakes have ranged from a low of −2 °F (−19 °C) in January to a high of 82 °F (28 °C) in July; a record low of −46 °F (−43 °C) was recorded in February 1936 and a record high of 107 °F (42 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 0.53 inches (13 mm) in February to 4.44 inches (113 mm) in June.[12]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860386
1870308−20.2%
18805,2181,594.2%
18909,40180.2%
190014,37552.9%
191018,84031.1%
192022,85121.3%
193022,503−1.5%
194026,56218.0%
195024,836−6.5%
196023,959−3.5%
197024,3721.7%
198029,33620.4%
199027,881−5.0%
200030,0007.6%
201032,5048.3%
202035,1838.2%
US Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2020[2]
Age pyramid of county residents based on 2000 US census data

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 30,000 people, 11,844 households, and 8,184 families in the county. The population density was 22.8/sqmi (8.81/km2). There were 16,612 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.35% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 7.52% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. 0.77% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.2% were of German, 26.0% Norwegian and 5.2% Swedish ancestry.

There were 11,844 households, of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.02.

The county population contained 26.6% under age 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% 65 or older. The median age was 39. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,797, and the median income for a family was $41,807. Males had a median income of $29,641 versus $20,693 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,085. About 8.5% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.4% of those under 18 and 11.8% of those 65 and over.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Townships[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

[8]

Lakes[edit]

  • Big Cormorant Lake (Minnesota)
  • Middle Cormorant Lake
  • Upper Cormorant Lake
  • Little Cormorant lake
  • Nelson lake
  • Erickson Lake
  • Lake Melissa
  • Detroit Lake
  • Lake Sallie
  • Lake Maud

[17]

Government and politics[edit]

Becker County voters have voted Republican in recent decades. As of 2020, the county has selected the Democratic nominee for president in only one election since 1980.

Presidential election results
Presidential elections results[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 64.1% 12,438 34.0% 6,589 1.9% 374
2016 63.2% 10,880 30.2% 5,208 6.6% 1,134
2012 56.2% 9,204 41.7% 6,829 2.1% 349
2008 52.2% 8,851 45.3% 7,687 2.5% 427
2004 58.3% 9,795 40.2% 6,756 1.5% 250
2000 56.9% 8,152 36.7% 5,253 6.5% 928
1996 40.8% 5,461 44.2% 5,911 15.0% 2,002
1992 39.6% 5,430 36.2% 4,958 24.2% 3,314
1988 53.3% 6,738 45.7% 5,787 1.0% 126
1984 57.7% 7,553 41.7% 5,456 0.7% 92
1980 52.1% 6,848 39.8% 5,221 8.1% 1,065
1976 44.7% 5,611 52.5% 6,597 2.9% 358
1972 55.4% 6,033 43.1% 4,695 1.4% 156
1968 46.4% 4,728 47.8% 4,875 5.8% 593
1964 36.7% 3,751 63.1% 6,453 0.2% 16
1960 49.0% 5,090 50.6% 5,257 0.4% 42
1956 49.8% 4,608 49.9% 4,619 0.3% 24
1952 55.8% 5,815 43.6% 4,539 0.6% 60
1948 35.9% 3,495 60.5% 5,885 3.6% 347
1944 43.5% 3,803 55.9% 4,889 0.7% 58
1940 39.7% 4,292 59.5% 6,432 0.9% 92
1936 28.3% 2,683 68.4% 6,473 3.3% 310
1932 28.0% 2,299 67.6% 5,547 4.4% 364
1928 55.5% 4,273 42.2% 3,253 2.3% 177
1924 45.5% 2,936 6.7% 429 47.8% 3,087
1920 75.8% 4,811 14.2% 901 10.0% 637
1916 50.4% 1,761 41.6% 1,453 7.9% 277
1912 16.8% 509 24.1% 732 59.1% 1,796
1908 64.4% 2,058 22.8% 728 12.8% 410
1904 79.5% 1,872 13.2% 310 7.4% 173
1900 64.6% 1,790 27.8% 771 7.6% 209
1896 58.8% 1,479 39.2% 985 2.0% 51
1892 55.4% 853 17.3% 266 27.3% 420
County Board of Commissioners[19]
Position Name District Term Ends
Commissioner Larry Knutson District 1 2022
Commissioner and Chairperson Ben Grimsley District 2 2022
Commissioner John Okeson District 3 2020
Commissioner Donald Skarie District 4 2020
Commissioner Barry Nelson District 5 2020
State Legislature (2018-2020)
Position Name Affiliation District
  Senate Paul Utke[20] Republican District 2
  Senate Kent Eken[21] Democrat District 4
  House of Representatives Steve Green[22] Republican District 2B
  House of Representatives Paul Marquart[23] Democrat District 4B
U.S Congress (2018-2020)
Position Name Affiliation District
  House of Representatives Collin Peterson[24] Democrat 7th
  Senate Amy Klobuchar[25] Democrat N/A
  Senate Tina Smith[26] Democrat N/A

In popular culture[edit]

Becker County is the setting of the 2006 independent film Sweet Land, though it was filmed in Chippewa County.

A popular YouTube channel, CBOYSTV films, is headquartered in Becker County. CBoysTV is an American comedy and motorsports channel run by five men. The channel has amassed over a million subscribers.[27]

Images[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Minnesota Place Names". Minnesota Historical Society. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Becker County, Minnesota". www.census.gov. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on March 2, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Citizen Kane, Charles Curry Aiken (2005). "The American counties: origins of county names, dates of creation, and population data, 1950-2000" p. 18. Scarecrow Press, 2005
  5. ^ A Pioneer History of Becker County, Minnesota: Including a Brief Account of Its Natural History ... and a History of the Early Settlement of the County; Also, Including ... Historical Information Collected by Mrs. Jessie C. West. And Numerous Articles Written by Various Early Pioneers Relating to the History of the Several Townships of Becker County by Alvin H. Wilcox, Mrs. Jessie Campbell West. Pioneer Press Company 1907
  6. ^ Nelson, Steven (2011). Savanna Soils of Minnesota. Minnesota: Self. pp. 53-56. ISBN 978-0-615-50320-2.
  7. ^ Detroit Lakes: Park to be Re-dedicated
  8. ^ a b c Becker County MN Google Maps (accessed March 4, 2019)
  9. ^ Wolf Lake Lookout, Minnesota. PeakBagger.com (accessed May 4, 2019)
  10. ^ ""Find an Altitude/Becker County MN" Google Maps (accessed March 4, 2019)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Detroit Lakes MN". The Weather Channel. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  13. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 2, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  17. ^ https://www.google.com/maps/place/Becker+County,+MN/@46.7666355,-95.9640362,11.99z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x52c869ebde38259d:0xc3e648016c1529e6!8m2!3d46.9164628!4d-95.7036557
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "Becker County Board of Commissioners". www.co.becker.mn.us. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  20. ^ "MN State Senate". www.senate.mn. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  21. ^ "MN State Senate". www.senate.mn. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "Rep. Steve Green (02B) - Minnesota House of Representatives". www.house.leg.state.mn.us. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  23. ^ "Rep. Paul Marquart (04B) - Minnesota House of Representatives". www.house.leg.state.mn.us. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "Congressman Collin Peterson". Congressman Collin Peterson. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar". www.klobuchar.senate.gov. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  26. ^ "Home". Senator Tina Smith. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  27. ^ https://www.startribune.com/with-throttles-wide-open-small-town-cboys-achieve-youtube-stardom/600016309/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°56′N 95°40′W / 46.93°N 95.67°W / 46.93; -95.67