Franklin Steele, 1856

Franklin Steele


Franklin Steele was Fort Snelling's sutler, and made a fortune by staking claim to the eastern side of St. Anthony's Falls and building sawmills and a toll-bridge on the site of what would soon be Minneapolis. With the help of Congressman Henry Rice, his former assistant sutler, he purchased the 8,000 acres of land surrounding the recently decommissioned Fort Snelling from the federal government for $90,000 in 1857, hoping to make a profit selling prime land situated between Minneapolis and St. Paul. While the Panic of 1857 put these hopes on hold, he made more than $100,000 by renting the property back to the government during the Civil War.

© Minnesota Historical Society

Holding Location

Photograph Collection: Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

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