|— City —|
City Hall, originally the Dakota County Courthouse
Location in Dakota and Washington Counties in the state of Minnesota.
|- Mayor||Paul Hicks (elected 2006)|
|- City||11 sq mi (28.5 km2)|
|- Land||10.1 sq mi (26.2 km2)|
|- Water||0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)|
|Elevation||725 ft (222 m)|
|- Density||1,798.2/sq mi (694.5/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|- Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0644715|
Hastings is a city in Dakota and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota, near the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. The population was 18,204 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Dakota County. The bulk of Hastings is in Dakota County; only a small part of the city extends into Washington County. The city is named for the first elected governor of the state of Minnesota, Henry Hastings Sibley.
The advantages of the location that led to Hastings' original growth are that it is well-drained, provides a good riverboat port, and is close to a hydropower resource at the falls of the Vermillion River. Sites closer to the river confluence are either too swampy (Dakota county) or too hilly (Washington county and Pierce County Wisconsin).
The area around Hastings was first settled by a military detachment sent from Fort Snelling to guard a blocked shipment of supplies in the winter of 1820. A Lieutenant William. G. Oliver camped in an area that would come to be known as Oliver's Grove. After the Treaty of Mendota of 1851 opened the area for white settlement, the Oliver's Grove area was surveyed and was incorporated as a city in 1857, one year before the admission of the state of Minnesota to the union. That same year Hastings was named as the county seat of Dakota County. The name Hastings was drawn out of a hat having been one of the suggested names placed in by four of the original founders (the middle name of Henry Sibley).
Hastings, the nearby city of Prescott, Wisconsin, and the adjacent township of Nininger were areas of tremendous land speculation in the mid 19th century, being billed by Ignatius L. Donnelly as the potential "New Chicago". The Panic of 1857 would put an end to this dream. The speculation and Panic caused the growth of the cities to be less than would be expected given the strategic location at the confluence of two significant rivers; the combined population of the three today is approximately 25,000, and all that remains of Nininger is a few buildings. Hastings is the site of the second oldest surviving county courthouse in the state (after Stillwater) which was finished in 1871 at a cost of $63,000. The county administration began the process of moving to a new facility from 1974 until 1989, when the City of Hastings purchased the old building. It was rededicated in 1993 as city hall.
A spiral bridge over the Mississippi River was built in 1895 that was designed to slow down horse-drawn traffic from the opposite side of the river as it entered downtown. The novel design became a tourist attraction for the town, but was demolished in 1951 because it could not accommodate the size and weight of modern vehicles. As a new bridge was being constructed it was determined the city could not afford to maintain the bridge at a proposed cost of around $50.00 a year. Nevertheless, the spiral bridge is still remembered as a nostalgic landmark.
Hastings would enjoy the privilege of having its name affixed to two major railroads that existed in Minnesota: the Hastings & Dakota Railway and the Stillwater & Hastings Railway.
In 1867, civic leaders William LeDuc, John Meloy, Stephen Gardner, E. D. Allen, and P. Van Auken—with financial backing from investors John B Alley, Oliver Ames, William Ames and Peter Butler—would incorporate the Hastings & Dakota Railway with the goal to "cross the Rocky Mountains and meeting the Pacific Ocean". Throughout the 1870s the H&D would be completed from Hastings all the way to the South Dakota border at Ortonville. During this time, the H&D would become part of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul Railroad (Milwaukee Road) and become known as the H&D Division of the Milwaukee Road. The H&D also built the famous "Lake Street Depression" in Minneapolis which gave the H&D two districts around Minneapolis and St Paul—the south district from Hastings to Cologne via Chaska, and the north district from Hastings to Cologne via St Paul/Minneapolis. While the H&D never made it to the Pacific on its own, the H&D Division would become the mainline of the Milwaukee's Coast Extension to Seattle which the Milwaukee completed in 1909.
In 1880, a new branch line called the Stillwater & Hastings was built between the two cities which would funnel logging and agriculture products from Stillwater to Hastings allowing Hastings to become an important railroad switching hub. In 1882, the Milwaukee Road would gain control of the S&H and operate it as a profitable branch line. The Milwaukee abandoned the entire S&H line in 1979 falling just one year short of its 100th year of service.
Today, the entire north H&D district remains intact from Minneapolis to Ortonville—except for the Lake Street Depression—and is operated by the Twin Cities & Western Railroad from Minneapolis to Hanley Falls and BNSF Railway operating the line between Hanley Falls and Ortonville. Nearly all of the south H&D district was abandoned over time with the last section between Shakopee and Cologne being abandoned in the early 1970s. The Canadian Pacific Railway spur from downtown Hastings to the ConAgra mill atop the Vermillion Falls is all that remains of the south H&D district. The old H&D trestle over the Vermillion River at Hastings — which was replaced four different times — is now part of a bicycle path. The H&D bridge over the Minnesota River at Chaska would remain until 1995 when it was removed by the Army Corps of Engineers when the Chaska levees were rebuilt.
Canadian Pacific Railway currently operates the former Milwaukee mainline through town as well as the ConAgra spur.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.5 km² ),of which, 10.1 square miles (26.2 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²) of it (7.92%) is water. The Mississippi River forms most of the northern border of Hastings, while the Vermillion River flows through the southern part of town, over a falls adjacent to a ConAgra grain elevator. Bluffs lie along the northern shore of the Mississippi River and there is a gorge surrounding the Vermillion River below the falls. Hastings is home to two small lakes, Lake Rebecca and Lake Isabel. Both drain into the Mississippi River. The northeast corner of town is known as "The Bottoms"; an area of soggy marshland and flood plain for the Mississippi and Vermillion Rivers.
Hastings is on the Mississippi side of the confluence with the St. Croix River, so that the St. Croix is "across" the Mississippi River. The city of Prescott, Wisconsin is located on the Wisconsin side of the confluence.
|Climate data for Hastings, Minnesota|
|Average high °F||21||28||39||55||69||78||82||80||71||58||40||26||54|
|Average low °F||2||9||22||36||48||57||62||60||51||39||24||10||35|
|Average high °C||-6||-2||4||13||21||26||28||27||22||14||4||-3||12|
|Average low °C||-17||-13||-6||2||9||14||17||16||11||4||-4||-12||2|
|Source:  2006-12-04|
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,204 people, 6,642 households, and 4,722 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,798.2 people per square mile (694.5/km² ). There were 6,758 housing units at an average density of 667.6 per square mile (257.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.16% White, 0.43% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.36% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.
There were 6,642 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $53,145, and the median income for a family was $61,093. Males had a median income of $41,267 versus $27,973 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,075. About 2.1% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
The busiest road in Hastings is U.S. Highway 61, which in Hastings is known as Vermillion Street. Highway 61 is a four lane thoroughfare that cuts through the eastern side of the city in a north-south direction. Following 61 north out of the city takes you to over the Mississippi River via the Hastings High Bridge to Cottage Grove and eventually St. Paul, and taking it south brings you to Red Wing. The current bridge, which carries 32,000 vehicles per day and is the busiest two–lane bridge in the state of Minnesota, is expected to be replaced with a new bridge beginning in the year 2010.
The other major road in Hastings is Minnesota State Highway 55; the main east-west roadway. Highway 55 is also a 4 lane highway that enters the city from west and cuts through the middle of town where it eventually comes to an end at Highway 61. Highway 55 is a major commuter route for residents of Hastings, taking them northwest to Eagan and eventually to Minneapolis.
Highway 316 is an 10 mile highway that starts at Highway 61 in southern Hastings and heads southeast. It acts as a more direct shortcut between two points of Highway 61.
Highway 291 (Minnesota Veterans Home Highway) is a short, one mile highway on the east side of town that lies host to a Minnesota Veterans Home. Other routes that lead into town are Dakota County Roads 42 (northwest side of town), 46 (southwest), 47 (southwest) and 54 (east).
Hastings is not served by the MTC public transportation bus routes, but preliminary studies are underway to bring commuter rail to Hastings via the Red Rock Corridor. Amtrak trains pass through, but do not stop in Hastings (Prospective passengers must go north to St. Paul or south to Red Wing to board).
The Mississippi River in Hastings is a major thoroughfare for barges, and they're helped upstream by Lock and Dam No. 2 on the northwest side of town. There are several access points to the Missippippi River for private watercraft.