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History - Then & Now

The SouthWest Metro area is a place where signs of great progress and a rich history coexist. Carver County was officially organized in March 1855, taking its name in honor of Jonathan Carver, an explorer who had previously traveled through the area. The county seat was originally designated at San Francisco Township, but was permanently moved to Chaska in 1856. Chaska was incorporated as a village in 1871, then as a city in 1891. Carver predated the county’s organization, as it was originally established in 1852, followed by incorporation in 1877. The community of Chanhassen was incorporated in 1896 and Victoria in 1915.

The county’s earliest settlers came from the eastern states, but by the 1860s the majority of the area’s inhabitants were immigrants from Germany and Sweden—residents who left their mark in the names of many county communities. With its location on the Minnesota River— a site that offered quality clay deposits ideal for brick making—some residents found employment in the brick industry. However, farming was the chief economic component in Carver County and remained a leader for over a century.

This once rural area has evolved into a prosperous suburban region of more than 86,000 residents—a number projected to more than double by 2030. The SouthWest Metro strives to maintain its heritage through three local historical societies, while simultaneously preparing for future growth—a characteristic that is seen through such developments as the Chaska BioTech Center and the upcoming EdCampus Twin Cities.

The SouthWest Metro is bursting with opportunity and emanating with the friendly hometown spirit its communities were founded upon. With all of the great features discovered here, there’s no wonder two of the area’s communities have been ranked among Money magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Live 2009: Chanhassen at #2 and Chaska at #20. It is also important to note that Chaska also earned the #8 spot in 2007 and Chanhassen the #16 ranking in 2005.

Residents and businesses are proud to call the SouthWest Metro home and visitors are invited to explore all the wonderful aspects that make this such a great place to be.

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