Minnesota: Benton County

To reach Benton County from Todd County, you can drive east from Long Prairie on State Highway 27 through Little Falls and Morrison County (we’ve already been there), then south on State Highway 25 to Foley, the Benton County seat.

This route avoids the big-city traffic of St. Cloud.

Benton County (pop. 38,451) was named for Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton – not for his painter-nephew with the same name.

“The Twist” (1964)

Benton County is on the east side of the Mississippi River, and Stearns County is across the river on the west side. The city of St. Cloud is divided by the Mississippi, but most  of it is in Stearns County.

St. Cloud and the Mississippi River (looking south)

Foley (pop. 2,603), the county seat, is not the largest city in Benton County. Sauk Rapids, adjacent to St. Cloud, is considerably larger, with 12,773 people.

Foley in 1940

The Sauk River, a 90-mile tributary of the Mississippi River, flows into the Mississippi just south of Sauk Rapids.

Sauk Rapids Bridge

The Sauk Rapids Tornado on April 16, 1886, was the deadliest tornado in Minnesota history, killing 72 people in the area. Before the tornado, Sauk Rapids was one of the most important cities in the state; it never recovered that position, and St. Cloud became the largest city in the region.

The business district was destroyed.

The Benton Beach Disc Golf Course in the town of Rice (pop. 1,275) was the site of the 2008 Minnesota Disc Golf Championship.

NEXT: STEARNS COUNTY

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One comment on “Minnesota: Benton County

  1. John Dodds says:

    So excited I just caught up and read this one! I’ll have to go there and disc golf.

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