History

*Information courtesy of the City of Roseau

Roseau, the North Star City, is an energetic, progressive community located just ten minutes from the Canadian border. Roseau is a small community; however, we enjoy an excellent public school system, diverse employment opportunities, comprehensive health care options, diverse civic and community organizations and a strong retail area.  This is why Outdoor Living Magazine ranked Roseau 20th best city in the nation for outdoor enthusiast to live.

One of the most notable facts about Roseau is that it was the birthplace of snowmobiling and Polaris Industries. Today Roseau is still home to the snowmobile and Polaris Industries. Although Polaris is most famous for building snowmobiles they now actually produce more All Terrain Vehicles or ATVs than snowmobiles. Visitors are invited to visit the Polaris Industries assembly plant in Roseau and watch snowmobiles and ATVs being built. Plant tours are Monday through Friday at 2 p.m. Also visit the Polaris Experience Center located just north of the assembly plant and take a trip back to the very beginnings of Polaris in Roseau and the very first snow machines that are the predecessors of today’s snowmobiles. The Experience Center highlights the changes and growth of Polaris to the company it is today with approximately 8,000 employees worldwide and six locations in the Midwest. The Experience Center contains a gift shop where various Polaris items can be purchased. Admission to the Experience Center is free with regular hours Monday through Saturday. Call 218-463-4999 for more information.

Roseau is located in an environmental transition area of Minnesota where the coniferous forest gives way the prairies of the Red River Valley. As a result of this unique location, wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate Roseau’s outdoor paradise. Surrounding Roseau are tamarack bogs to the north, prairie grasslands to the west and sandy pine forests to the east. Nearly forty percent of Roseau County is open access State or County parks, forests or wildlife areas. These areas provide ample opportunity for hunting, wildlife watching, ATV riding, horseback riding, snowmobiling, berry picking, hiking and cross-country skiing.  Roseau is a prime stop on Minnesota’s premier bird watching trail, the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail.

Two of the most visited Roseau outdoor recreation areas are Hayes Lake State Park and the Roseau City Park. Hayes Lake State Park is located 18 miles southeast of Roseau on Co. Rd. 4. This quiet park consists of 3,000 acres of pines, lake and wildlife. The park also features a day use area with fishing pier, sand swimming beach, and playground equipment. Also located at the park are overnight campsites and camping cabins. Hayes Lake is a non-motorized lake where canoeing is a popular activity on the Roseau River feeding the lake. Hayes Lake is also a good fishing lake, particularly for Northern Pike and pan fish. Hayes Lake also provides visitors with an opportunity to view rare birds such as bald eagles, great grey owls, sandhill cranes, and a variety of warblers. Other wildlife found in the area include: elk, moose, bear and wolves.

The Roseau City Park is located on 40 wooded acres in southeast Roseau along the Roseau River. The park provides a variety of activities including: camping (RV and tent sites-with water and electric), walking trails, various playground equipment, sand volleyball, picnic shelters, boat launch, fishing pier, horseshoe pits, shuffleboard, and Frisbee golf. The park also provides an indoor shelter with restrooms and hot showers and a dump station for convenience of campers.

Roseau claims one of the area’s finest 18-hole championship golf courses. Oakcrest Golf Course, designed by prolific golf course architect Joel Goldstrand, offers a challenging layout that incorporates a links style course on the front nine and a traditional layout on the back nine adjacent to the Roseau River. Some of the amenities at Oakcrest include a fully stocked pro shop, bar & lounge area, putting green and driving range. Oakcrest has everything you need to have a great day on the course at extremely reasonable rates. Check out Oakcrest Golf Club, you’ll be glad you did.

Another Roseau summer tradition is the 100-year old Roseau County Fair. The Roseau County Fair is considered one of the top five county fairs in Minnesota. Activities at the fair include excellent exhibits, entertainment, and food. Young and old alike enjoy the various activities and large midway. The Fair is a Roseau getaway favorite.

Winter brings hockey to Roseau. Roseau is home to the Roseau Rams who are seven-time state high school hockey champions (a state record). Inside the historic Memorial Arena visitors can take in the beginnings of hockey in Minnesota. Photos, displays, trophies and banners adorn the imposing wood frame structure which has been the home rink for various Olympic and NHL greats for over sixty years. A winter visit to Roseau is not complete without attending a Roseau Ram Hockey game at the old Memorial Arena.

Year round entertainment in Roseau involves unique shopping and dining, various historic sites, arts, gardens, and music. Highlighting just some of the many activities consider these ideas for your Roseau visit:

If you have seen one mall store you have seen them all so why not try something different, Roseau features a thriving old style downtown district with unique stores. The entire downtown has been revitalized with paver sidewalks, old style street lighting and music playing all day long. Small pocket parks add to the quaint character of the downtown district. On many Thursdays in the summer local musicians set up to play music in the park. The heart of the downtown however is the unique combination of stores offering gifts, candles, jewelry, books, apparel, footwear, furniture, variety items, and much more. After an enjoyable day of shopping Roseau offers a number of entertainment options including bowling or watching a new release movie at the art deco Roso Theatre. For a good meal Roseau offers a variety of diners, sit down supper clubs, bar & grilles, fast food restaurants, pizzerias, ethnic food, drive-ins, and cafés.

Roseau enjoys a thriving arts and music scene. Throughout the year various art and music venues offer opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy a wide selection of music and art experiences. Many of these events are held a various public areas in Roseau including the Riverview Park Gazebo, Pioneer Farm & Village, Roseau City Center, and the Roseau School Theater.

History buffs will enjoy the Roseau Pioneer Farm and Village as well as the Roseau County Museum. The Pioneer Farm showcases various buildings that have been moved in from across the area and restored. Visit an actual one room school house, a print shop, mercantile, and church among other buildings. Each fall a Pioneer Farm festival is held showing many old time demonstrations along with music and other activities for the whole family.  The Roseau County Museum and Interpretive Center located in the Roseau City Center offers a look back at the history of Roseau County and the people who settled this region. The Roseau County Museum is a first class museum specializing in research and genealogy. The Roseau County Museum also hosts a number of traveling exhibits of interest, including Smithsonian exhibits, to Roseau residents as well as visitors.

Roseau has something for every interest. You will enjoy the beauty of Roseau along with the great people who call it home. That is why Men’s Journal Magazine named Roseau: “The friendliest place in America.”

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