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Minnehaha County is one of the most historically rich regions in the state of South Dakota. With its beautiful landscapes, deep roots in farming, and a rich cultural heritage, there is certainly no shortage of interesting facts that highlight the county's unique past. Here are seven interesting facts that you might not have known about Minnehaha County in South Dakota history.

1. The name "Minnehaha" is taken from the Dakota Sioux language, which means "laughing water." The name was given because of the county's stunning waterfalls, including the iconic Minnehaha Falls, which is located in Falls Park in Sioux Falls.

2. The county is home to the easternmost point of the Missouri River. The river flows over 2,500 miles from Montana to its confluence with the Mississippi River, which is located in neighboring South Dakota county of Union.

3. The first Euro-American exploration of the region took place in 1743, when French Canadian trader Paul Marin de la Malgue led an expedition along the Big Sioux River. It was almost 100 years later, during the 1830s, that the first permanent Euro-American settlers arrived in the area.

4. During the Civil War, many Minnehaha County residents joined the Union Army. In fact, between 1861 and 1865, over 500 men from the county served in the military.

5. In the late 1800s, a number of Jewish families settled in the county, primarily in Sioux Falls. These families played an important role in the development of the town's retail and industrial sectors, many of their descendants continue to live in the area to this day.

6. Minnehaha County was hit hard during the Great Depression. Between 1928 and 1933, a series of droughts caused widespread crop failure, and many farmers lost their land. Despite this difficult period, the county's residents showed remarkable resilience, working hard to rebuild the region's economy and infrastructure.

7. Perhaps the most unusual fact about Minnehaha County is the story of W.H.H. Beadle, a former superintendent of South Dakota's Deaf and Blind School who spent years collecting snakes, lizards, and other reptiles from around the world. In 1896, Beadle opened the Sioux Falls Zoo with a collection of 12 snakes, which marked the beginning of one of the country's oldest zoos.

In conclusion, Minnehaha County is a fascinating part of South Dakota, with a diverse and dynamic history. From the beautiful Minnehaha Falls to the first explorers and settlers, and right through the economic struggles of the 20th century to the present day, it has always been a fascinating place to live and visit.

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