After leaving Fort Ridgely State Park, we wandered around the countryside a little bit, taking the “scenic route,” which means “Mom’s not lost, but she doesn’t exactly know how she’s going to get where she’s going.” With gas at almost $4 a gallon, this isn’t the most economical thing to do, but I was hoping to lengthen our trip so the 2-year-old would fall asleep in the car. (It didn’t work.)
We stopped at the Golden Gate Historic Marker just south of the Minnesota River on State Highway 4. Golden Gate is one of Minnesota’s ghost towns. At one time, it was a thriving community, but now the cemetery is the most visible reminder of its existence.
The historic marker said that parts of a dam and mill run were still visible on the creek, so we decided to try to spot them. The most obvious road to the area was closed, but we went around to the other side of the creek to see what we could find. At the corner of 270th Avenue and Golden Gate Road, 270th Ave. continues on in a very narrow fashion, so I decided to give it a try. The road was rutted (and did I mention, narrow?) but it does indeed end at the creek, and some concrete pieces led me to believe that this was part of the Golden Gate operation, although I couldn’t decipher exactly what they were.
I will advise, however, that if you consider sleuthing out Golden Gate, you park the car near the beehives in a clearing and walk the rest of the way. This isn’t a road that you’d want to try to back up, and turning around at the end of it was possible but not easy.
I’ve always thought that lost towns were interesting, and it was certainly an adventure to try to find the remains of Golden Gate.