The United States did not do much to occupy the land until 1819, when Lieutenant Colonel Henry Leavenworth was ordered to establish a military post in the area.The following year, Colonel Josiah Snelling established a permanent fort at a blufftop site overlooking Pike Island and the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

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This list is of the properties and historic districts that are designated on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as a list of those that were formerly designated, in Hennepin County, Minnesota; there are 165 entries as of July 29, 2016.

A significant number of these properties are a result of the establishment of Fort Snelling, the development of water power at Saint Anthony Falls, and the thriving city of Minneapolis that developed around the falls.

Many historic sites outside the Minneapolis city limits are associated with pioneers who established missions, farms, and schools in areas that are now suburbs in that metropolitan area.

Father Louis Hennepin was the first European explorer to visit and name Saint Anthony Falls, the tallest waterfall on the Mississippi River, in 1680.

While the falls were familiar to the Ojibwe and Sioux Indians who lived in the area, Father Hennepin spread word of the falls when he returned to France in 1683.

The land east of the Mississippi came under England's control in 1763, and then became American territory after the American Revolutionary War in 1783.

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the western side of the falls became American territory as well.

Zebulon Pike explored the Mississippi River in 1805 and made a treaty with the Sioux to acquire land on either side of the Mississippi River from its confluence with the Minnesota River to Saint Anthony Falls.

Within the next ten years, he established a sawmill at the falls, and lumbermen from the north began cutting trees and sending them to Steele's sawmill.

In 1849, Steele subdivided his property and filed a plat for the town of Saint Anthony.

Sawmilling and early flour milling attempts proved successful, and by 1855 the fledgling town of Saint Anthony had more than three thousand residents.) of land on the west side of the falls in exchange for maintaining a ferry at the falls.