MONTEVIDEO — The Chippewa County Historical Society will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 25, at the Lac qui Parle Mission.
The Lac qui Parle Mission overlooks the beautiful "Lake that speaks." The Dakota name for this lake was Mdaeyaydan, “lake that connects.” The Mission was begun in 1835 by the Congregational and Presbyterian ministries. The original church building was built in 1840 and is known as the first church and school erected in the Minnesota River Valley. The present wooden chapel, a Works Projects Administration building, stands on the site of the original adobe structure.
The Mission is proud of its many "Minnesota firsts" such as the first English school held in the Minnesota River Valley, the first corn mill, the first woven cloth and the first church bell that tolled. At this historic site the Dakota alphabet was formulated, a spelling book in Dakota was written and the Bible was translated into Dakota. The well-known tune, “Lac qui Parle” for the hymn “Many and Great, Oh God, Are Thy Things,” was composed here.
Less than a mile north of the Mission is the site of Fort Renville built by Joseph Renville, a prominent force behind the Lac qui Parle Mission and an explorer who once led Zebulon Pike to the Upper Mississippi.
The Mission is located 6 miles north of Montevideo on Highway 59 and 2.2 miles west on Chippewa County Highway 13. There is no admission fee. After Sunday the museum will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Labor Day weekend.