About Granite Falls

Granite Falls, Minnesota is a progressive community located on the banks of the State’s namesake river in southwest Minnesota. Named for the deposits of granite rock throughout the City, Granite Falls is famous for natural beauty, friendly community, and unique history.

Fast Facts:

  • Population: 2,897
  • Area: 3.82 square miles
  • Altitude: 919 ft. above sea level
  • Latitude: 44º48’38” N
  • Longitude: 95º32’36” W

Average Temperatures:

Lying smack dab in the Midwest, Granite Falls experiences a wide variety of temperatures throughout the year. During the fall season in southwest Minnesota you will experience some of the best weather in the entire world. Days hover around 70 degrees, while nights are cooler and perfect for sleeping with the window cracked open.This extraordinary weather compliments the changing colors of the trees and harvest. During the summer, prepare for hot days and warm nights filled with local baseball and fishing. Winter can prove to be cold one day, but turn around a feel like spring the next. Cozy nights by the fireplace are what make this season special.

 

  • Summer: High- 85ºF/Low- 60ºF
  • Fall: High- 73º/Low- 47ºF
  • Winter: High-26ºF/Low- 26ºF
  • Spring: High- 58ºF/Low- 33ºF

Major Area Employers:

  • Fagan, Inc.
  • SpecSys
  • Minnesota West
  • Prairie’s Edge Casino
  • Project Turnabout

History of Granite Falls: 

Granite Falls is named for the granite and gneiss outcroppings over which the powerful Minnesota River flows. G.W. Daniels first platted Granite Falls on May 7th, 1872, incorporated as a village in 1879, and officially became a city on April 24th, 1889. Though G.W. Daniels first platted the city, Henry Hill is the one know for being the founder of Granite Falls (however, it was his brother, Thomas Prentice Hill, who first staked claims to the land on the west side of the river). Henry Hill first built his home on the east side of the river bluff and then, with the help of a simply rowboat, he began work on a mill and dam on the west side of the river.

When the mill began to operate, it became the center of activity for the infant town. The grist mill, and its adjoining saw mill, process wheat brought in from local farmers and cut timbers into building materials which attracted settlers from all walks of life. Soon after, buildings and homes started to line up along Prentice Street and Granite Falls started to boom.

Since it’s inception, the little town of Granite Falls has been witness to much of Minnesota’s and the nation’s history. The late state senator and former Vice-President, Hubert H. Humphrey, can trace his roots back to Granite Falls (his grandmother, Ada J. Register, was a teacher at the local school built in 1872), but the best known Granite Falls resident is that of Andrew Volstead.

Andrew Volstead was a lawyer who moved his family to Granite Falls in 1886. He first served as the Yellow Medicine County attorney, then as city mayor before becoming elected to Congress in 1903. During his time in office, Andrew Volstead, co-wrote the Capper-Volstead Act which allowed for the creation of farm cooperatives. This Act is still in effect today, however it is not what Volstead is best known for.

In 1919, Andrew Volstead introduced the National Prohibition Act (also known as the Volstead Act) in order to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment which prohibited the production, sale and transport of “intoxicating liquors”. The act was ratified and went into effect in 1920. The prohibition era had officially begun. The Volstead Act was later repealed, ending prohibition in 1933.