As one of the first white settlers in Maple Grove, Pierre Bottineau (1817–1895) stands out as one of the most prominent figures in the history of the area. In fact, before claiming its current name, Maple Grove was referred to as Bottineau’s Prairie. Of French and Native American descent, Bottineau spoke English, French and a variety of Native American dialects. He served as a voyageur, hunter, trader and entrepreneur, and his contributions were of great importance to trade and land acquisition, the early development of the state of Minnesota and the Maple Grove area. He was revered as a guide and interpreter who personally assisted Governor Ramsey and led expeditions with General Henry Sibley. Married twice, and the father to 23 children, Bottineau’s family name has carried on quite the legacy.
Bottineau Blvd.—also known as County Road 81—was laid along a trading route where Bottineau eventually built the first wood-frame house in what would become the city area of Maple Grove. Over the years, the house has been repurposed as a granary and later used to store farming equipment. It was restored to its 1854 appearance and relocated permanently to Elm Creek Park Reserve in 2009. Visitors to the structure can learn more about Maple Grove’s history and Bottineau’s life as a frontiersman.
The Pierre Bottineau House is located directly inside the front entrance of Elm Creek Park Reserve, 12400 James Deane Parkway. Visit threeriversparks.org for information on scheduled programs.