Hay Creek, south of Red Wing, attracted German-speaking settlers including the founders of Hawkeye Mills. By 1870, eighty percent of Hay Creek township residents were German, the second highest concentration in Minnesota at the time.
The rough Goodhue County first home of Norwegian settler Mikkel Finnegaard is pictured in 1934. Finnegaard settled in Holden Township in the county's southwest corner, described in 1874 as a "compact mass of Norwegians."
G.O. Miller's first store in Vasa, the Swedish colony founded in 1853, is the building to the left. Immigrants from Sweden made Vasa the center of their Goodhue County settlement. The community retains its Swedish heritage to the present day.
By 1880, Goodhue County held within its borders four significant Euro-American immigrant enclaves: Minnesota's largest group of Swedish settlers and the second largest assembly of Norwegians, as well as one of the most densely populated German tracts. There was also an Irish colony at the county's center. The settling of Goodhue County serves as a case study of the state's early immigration patterns.
Emile Julien Amblard, known as the "Duke of Clearwater Lake," became one of Coney Island's leading residents. He bought his first piece of land there in 1893. The western edge of the island and a building in Waconia would become his passion for the next twenty-one years.