About This Place
Fergus Falls is a city in and the county seat of Otter Tail County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,138 at the 2010 census.
Fergus Falls features many different parks (tallgrass prairie and eastern woodlands), stores, and other tourist attractions. The Union Avenue Bridge spans the Otter Tail River, and was recently reconstructed in 2004. Just below the bridge is part of scenic River Walk Park, which spans about a mile of the river. The part nearest the Union Avenue Bridge was redone along with the bridge. The town hall was modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Once the city fire station, the building later became the city hall. Some other points of interest include: the county museum, Lake Alice, George B. Wright Park, Pebble Lake Golf Course, and Veteran's Memorial Park. Founded in 1914, the Victor Lundeen Company is still an important business in Fergus Falls today. The arts in Fergus Falls are booming with a wonderful community theater program situated in the downtown area. Many local as well as professional talents perform at A Center for the Arts.
The falls from which the city gets part of its name were discovered by Joe Whitford (a Scottish trapper) in 1856 and were promptly named in honor of his employer, James Fergus. It is not known whether James Fergus ever visited the city, but Joe Whitford did not live to see the city develop, as he became one of the many victims of the 1862 Sioux uprising in western Minnesota. In 1867, George B. Wright was at the land office at St. Cloud and found Whitford's lapsed claim, purchased the land, and built what is now the Central Dam in downtown Fergus Falls around 1871. After Wright died in 1882, his son Vernon would move from Boston to Minnesota and take over his father's interests in the town. Vern Wright would also be one of the two people who established the Otter Tail Power Company in 1907. The city was incorporated in the late 1870s and is situated along the dividing line between the former great deciduous forest of the Northwest Territories to the East, and the great plains to the West, in a region of gentle hills, where the recent geological history is dominated by the recession of the glaciers from the last great Ice Age, with numerous lakes and small rivers about.