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City Spotlight

Lake City, Minnesota

Population: 5,005

Motto: What you need when you need it

Lake City, located on the Lake Pepin, the widest point of the Mississippi River, is known as the birthplace of waterskiing and is a popular recreation and tourist destination in both summer and winter. The city hosts a huge, multi-day celebration, Water Ski Days, each June.

Lake City is home to a variety of businesses and industry including Hearth and Home Technologies, the largest manufacturing plant of gas fireplaces in the world. Another prominent business is Valley Craft, which manufactures hand trucks, carts, trailers and storage equipment.

Father Louis Hennepin camped on the shore of what is now Lake Pepin in 1680 where he christened the lake Lac de Pleurs or Lake of Tears after observing Sioux Indians weeping near the lake over the death of a chief's son. The town was platted in 1855 and served as a popular port town for a variety of industries. The city became incorporated in 1872. Lake City is known as a great place to fish while surrounded by beautiful bluffs. Lake City is known as the birthplace of water skiing. In 1922, at the age of 19, resident Ralph Samuelson headed to Lake Pepin and strapped on some snow skis. His brother Ben drove the motorboat. Later, Ralph became the first ski jumper and speed skier.

Lake Pepin offers a great opportunity to head outdoors and try some activities. Boating, fishing, ice fishing, swimming, sailing, golfing, hiking, biking, and bird watching are all popular along with, of course, water skiing.



  • Valley Craft

  • Wild Wings

  • Hearth and Home Technologies




Famous Residents of Lake City include:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder – Author

  • Ralph Samuelson – inventor of water skiing

  • Randy Breuer – NBA player

  • Mark McKenzie – Movie Composer

  • Fritz Cronin – NFL Player



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