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"A Quality Small Town"
|• Mayor||Mark Windschitl|
|• Total||17.84 sq mi (46.20 km2)|
|• Land||17.02 sq mi (44.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.81 sq mi (2.11 km2)|
|Elevation||732 ft (226 m)|
|• Density||1,633.48/sq mi (630.70/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0641129|
Chaska is a city and the county seat of Carver County, Minnesota, United States. An outer ring suburb of the Twin Cities, Chaska is home to the Hazeltine National Golf Club and is known for its historic downtown area located on a bend of the Minnesota River. The City of Chaska merged with Chaska Township in 2006. The city still has some remaining agricultural land.
The population was 28,047 at the 2020 census.
Chaska's history reflects the influence of the Native American culture. The first inhabitants are believed to be the Mound Builders, whose ancient communities are marked by mounds in City Square. Later, the Dakota (commonly known as the Sioux) were the primary nation in this region known as the Big Woods. Although the Indian mounds located in Chaska City Square indicate the immediate area was inhabited years before 1769, the year Chaska's recorded history began.
In 1776, Jonathan Carver explored the lands along the Minnesota River and chronicled his journeys. French Canadian fur traders traveled the waterways, trading with the Dakota in the early 19th century. During this time, Jean-Baptiste Faribault established a trading post in Chaska.
In 1851, the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux officially opened Little Rapids, as Chaska was then known, to settlement. Soon after, speculators moved into the new territory. Among the earliest was Thomas Andrew Holmes who, in August 1851, claimed a 20-acre (81,000 m2) clearing as the Chaska townsite.
The name "Chaska" is derived from a Dakota word often given as a name to the first born male child. Records show that David L. Fuller purchased the "Shaska" townsite from Holmes in 1852. In 1857, the townsite was platted by the Shaska Company. In the same year, construction began on the original Carver County Courthouse located where the post office and KleinBank now stand in downtown Chaska. Chaska was incorporated as a village in 1871 and, by special legislative charter, as a city in 1891.
An abundance of high quality clay led to the start of brick making in 1857. By the 1880s, as a result of the clay resources, Chaska was a thriving brick manufacturing center. Bricks were shipped by boat to Saint Paul and, although the city grew as a result of steamboat trade, it was not until the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway was built through town in 1873 that rapid expansion began.
With the advent of the 20th century came other industries, including the processing of beet sugar and other agricultural products; flour making, butter making, the canning of peas, corn, and tomatoes, and the curing of sauerkraut and pickles.
In September 2016, Chaska hosted the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course, and in March 2018, the PGA of America, with help from the U.S. Curling team, announced Hazeltine would be the first American venue to host a second Ryder Cup in 2028.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.77 square miles (46.02 km2), of which 16.97 square miles (43.95 km2) is land and 0.80 square miles (2.07 km2) is water. The downtown portion of Chaska lies on the Minnesota River.
|Climate data for Chaska, Minnesota|
|Average high °F (°C)||22
|Average low °F (°C)||4
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||.73
|Source: The Weather Channel|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Chaska's population averaged about 2,000 and the nature of the city remained unchanged. The city retained its small-town image until the 1950s when the transition to a metropolitan community began. The expansion of the seven-county metropolitan area reached Chaska in the 1960s. With that expansion came the introduction of the Jonathan New Town design concept in 1966. The Jonathan "new town" development within Chaska brought new land, new jobs and new people to the community.
This period of transition and expansion continues today. Dozens of modern industries have located to Chaska and continue to do so; residential construction adds 300 to 400 new homes per year; commercial business continues to expand offering a variety of retail and service opportunities to its residents; redevelopment of commercial areas in the downtown began in the 1980s and still continues. Although the community has seen much growth, development regulations and sound planning have ensured Chaska's small sense of community and the preservation of its rich heritage.
In early 2005, the city of Chaska annexed the remaining portion of Chaska Township. Current plans for the area include a 600-acre (2.4 km2) residential "smart growth"-styled development.
A new spike in the population occurred after the construction of the Highway 212 freeway passing through the heart of Chaska, serving as a fast, direct, link to the heart of the Twin Cities. This freeway includes a bus rapid transit route serving Chaska with fast, efficient mass transit, along with convenient access to the Light Rail system which connects the southwest suburbs to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul.
As of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $60,325, and the median income for a family was $69,612. Males had a median income of $45,401 versus $32,312 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,368. About 3.4% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 23,770 people, 8,816 households, and 6,188 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,400.7 inhabitants per square mile (540.8/km2). There were 9,290 housing units at an average density of 547.4 per square mile (211.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.1% White, 2.5% African American, 0.4% Native American, 3.7% Asian, 3.4% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population.
There were 8,816 households, of which 41.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.8% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.22.
The median age in the city was 33.8 years. 30% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30.8% were from 25 to 44; 25.7% were from 45 to 64; and 6.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.
Starting in 2004, the city government offered low-cost, high-speed wireless internet service for residents, businesses, and government entities throughout the community through a service called Chaska.net, but the program was canceled, after more than 10 years, in 2015 due to a decreasing customer base and large costs to upgrade equipment. Chaska is the home of numerous industrial and manufacturing concerns. Among them are TPI Specialties, Update Ltd, Wigen Water Technologies, Beckman Coulter and Hartman Homes.
Over the years, Chaska has also been the birthplace of several well known products and companies, including Softsoap, NordicTrack, and Heartland America. One such company, My Pillow, has received significant media coverage for multiple lawsuits as well as controversial issues focusing on its founder, Mike Lindell.
Opening in December 2015, the Chaska Curling Center has exceeded expectations as becoming a landmark in the city. The Center has helped with not only expanding Chaska community engagement and positively impacting downtown businesses, but also bringing the city national and international recognition as well as tourism. In 2016, to commemorate the start of the international Ryder Cup tournament, hosted in Chaska, the Norwegian and American Olympic teams squared off for an International Bonspiel, again bringing international eyes to the community. In 2018, the Chaska Curling Center was named a USA Curling National Training Center for the United States Curling Association, which means the Curling Center is able to host national events with USA Curling, and the USA Curling High Performance Program and Development Program can use the Chaska Curling Center for practices, camps, and events.
According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|3||ISD #112/Eastern Carver County||880|
|6||The Bernard Group||646|
|7||Lake Region Manufacturing Co., Inc||600|
|8||Old National Bank||560|
|9||City of Chaska||509|
|10||Apex International, MFG||400|
Chaska is governed through a city council/city administrator system. The council consists of four council members, each representing the residents of a ward that contains approximately 25% of the population of the community, and a mayor who is elected at large. Each council member serves a four-year term, while the mayor is elected for a two-year term. The city council formulates city policy and the city administrator and staff are responsible for city administration. In 2019, the mayor was Mark Windschitl, and the council members were: Jon Grau (Ward I), Taylor Hubbard (Ward II), McKayla Hatfield (Ward III), and Mike Huang (Ward IV).
|2020||53.19% 8,476||44.27% 7,054||2.54% 404|
|2016||43.53% 5,827||46.14% 6,176||10.32% 1,382|
|2012||44.96% 5,727||52.80% 6,726||2.25% 286|
|2008||46.96% 5,598||51.35% 6,122||1.69% 202|
|2004||41.10% 4,416||57.82% 6,212||1.08% 116|
|2000||40.45% 3,121||53.29% 4,111||6.26% 483|
After circa 1995 Republicans won presidential elections in the city. In the 2016 United States presidential election in Minnesota, Donald Trump won the city by three points. In the 2020 United States presidential election in Minnesota, turnout increased from 2016 and Democrat Joe Biden won the city by nine points.
Children attend the Eastern Carver County School District (public). The school district used to be called District 112, but the name was changed when the district expanded. Elementary schools located in Chaska include Clover Ridge Elementary, Jonathan Elementary, and La Academia Spanish Immersion. The District 112 middle schools, all of which are in Chaska, are Chaska Middle School East, Chaska Middle School West, and Pioneer Ridge Middle School. Chaska High School and Chanhassen High School are the district's two high schools. Southwest Christian High School, which is a private high school, is also in Chaska. Several private grade schools are also in town, including St. John's Lutheran Church and School, and Guardian Angels Catholic School.
In the 1996 film Fargo, written by Minnesota's own Joel and Ethan Coen, Chaska was represented by two of the supporting characters, real-life Tony Denman (who played Scotty Lundegaard), a Chanhassen native, attended Chaska High School, and a young prostitute (played by Larissa Kokernot) who claimed not only to have serviced Carl Showalter (played by Steve Buscemi), but also to be from Chaska, Minnesota.
Chaska was also featured in the film Drop Dead Gorgeous. The scene in the furniture store takes place at the old Schniedermen's Furniture store in downtown Chaska. The building has since become a fitness center and was razed in 2018 to make way for a small strip mall.
Cheryl Strayed briefly lived in Chaska during her early life, and mentions so in her popular book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Chaska is also home of the "World's Largest" 3D printed "Mustache" found at 516 N Pine St. in downtown Chaska. The mustache is nearly 12 feet wide and took over 300 hours to print. Previously a bright red, the mustache was painted purple as the first contribution to the “painting the county purple” public art project honoring Prince.
- Phillip Bartlett, actor, voice of Mewtwo in the first Pokémon movie
- Andy Bisek, American Greco-Roman wrestler, two-time World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian
- Greg Boe, Representative, District 47-B, Minnesota House of Representatives
- Tony Denman, actor
- Ryan Dungey, Professional motocross rider for team Red Bull/KTM
- Brad Hand, MLB pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies
- Kris Humphries, NBA power forward for the Phoenix Suns
- Jeff Isaacson, a two-time American Olympic curler
- Charles H. Klein, Minnesota state legislator and businessman
- Jerry Koosman, MLB pitcher, two-time All-Star for the New York Mets
- Mike Lindell, conservative businessman and founder of My Pillow
- Howard G. Ottinger, businessman, farmer, and Minnesota state legislator
- Gordon Paschka, former NFL player
- Erik Paulsen, United States Congressman, MN 3rd Congressional District
- Mike Reilly, defenseman for the Boston Bruins
- Howie Schultz, MLB first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, NBA power forward for the Minneapolis Lakers
- Dave Snuggerud, former NHL player and 1988 Olympian
- Edward Van Sloan, actor
- Chaska Town Course
- Walnut Street Historic District
- Hazeltine National Golf Club
- Jonathan, Minnesota
- FSI International, now TEL FSI and Dark Waters (2019 film)
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