Land Ownership: Historical and Educational Resources
A number of online and printed maps, atlases and reports reveal historical land ownership patterns and describe underlying forces influencing the ownership landscape we see today.
Public Land Survey plats of Minnesota: View or download digital copies
of historic Minnesota township plat maps collected during the original
Public Land Survey.
- Field Notes:
Minnesota’s General Land Office (GLO) Field Notes have been scanned,
indexed, and published online
- Field Notes: Minnesota’s General Land Office (GLO) Field Notes have been scanned, indexed, and published online
and Minerals Division publications, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
- Public Land and Mineral Ownership in Minnesota: A Guide for Teachers (PDF, 4.5 MB, 40 p.): Not just for teachers! This clearly written guide explains the evolution of land and mineral ownership in the state -- numerous maps illustrate the text.
- State Owned Lands in Minnesota by Land Type (PDF, 1.5 MB, map).
Minnesota's School Trust Lands: Look in the "Fact sheets and maps" section for biennial reports starting
with fiscal years 2002-03.
The Treaty Story, Minnesota Historical Society:
presents a series of historical
maps and description of how the U.S. Government acquired Minnesota lands
from the Dakota, Ojibwe, and Ho Chunk Native Americans.
Minnesota Historical Society's
Map Collection: Contains 1,350 historical county atlases and plat books
showing land ownership, as well as fire insurance maps showing
Borchert Map Library,
University of Minnesota:
The library maintains a print collection of current and historical plat maps for
all the counties in Minnesota.
- A Guide to the Records of Minnesota's Public Lands, (124 p., 390K, PDF) by
Gregory Kinney and Lydia Lucas, Minnesota Historical Society, Division
of Archives and Manuscripts, 1985.
"The records described in this guide document the state of Minnesota's acquisition, sale, and management of its trust fund, railroad grant, and related lands, as well as the federal land survey of Minnesota and the initial transfer of title to public lands from the federal government to the state or to private parties. The approximately 800 cubic feet of records were created primarily by four agencies: the State Land Office, the Land Department of the State Auditor's office, the U.S. General Land Office in Minnesota, and the U.S. Surveyor General for Minnesota. The guide also summarizes land-related records in other state agencies, with individual descriptions of particularly pertinent records series."
- Windows to the Past: A bibliography of Minnesota county
atlases, by Mai Treude, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs,
University of Minnesota, 1980, Pub. No. CURA 80-3, 187 pages. This
publication is out-of-print, so look for it at your library, check
interlibrary loan or contact
directly. As time permits, CURA staff may be able to photocopy
listings for a particular county of interest.
"A comprehensive listing of Minnesota's county atlases and where they are available. Published from 1867 to the present, these atlases contain records of land use and land ownership, directories of businesses and residences, photographs of buildings and people, genealogies, county histories, and advertisements. In an introduction to the bibliography, a brief history of the county atlas and how it developed in Minnesota is presented along with a number of illustrations from Minnesota atlases."
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