Pipestone has been quarried at this important site for hundreds of years, and was widely traded with other native communities around the country. While pipestone may not have a large impact on our culture today, it was once an extremely valuable and rare commodity that connected Minnesota to the rest of the continent. To have such an important location in our state is truly a treasure.
~Nancy Lamberger, Bloomington, MN
My mother grew up in Pipestone, MN in a family of 13 children. They enjoyed summer outings at the quarry - a beautiful, peaceful, cool oasis to escape the season's heat.
Years passed, the family slowly grew up and moved away to states all over the USA. However a tradition began in the '60s to hold family reunions. As you may imagine these gatherings were quite large - Three generations of the Frank and Gertrude Bruns family have now appreciated and enjoyed this beautiful spot. We can't visit Pipestone without stopping by. Learning the Native American history associated with this area was wonderful to share as the families grew ... it just wouldn't be Minnesota without it.
~ Eileen J. Luedtke, Phoenix, AZ
Indian people have for centuries designated the quarry at Pipestone as a sacred place of no violence or aggression, a place of peace, a place where the stone for peace pipes is obtained.
~Diane J. Peterson, White Bear Lake, MN
Pipes made from catlinite quarried at Pipestone were traded far and wide for use in ceremonies. An argument could be made that pipestone was Minnesota's first major export. Pipes were present at major treaties and were a significant symbol of agreements including major land acquisitions from Indians. That in itself is transformational.
According to the National Park Service: American Indians often traveled as much as a thousand miles by foot and horseback to obtain the unique stone from which they made their pipes. A widespread legend among the American Indians that the stone was made from the flesh and blood of their ancestors accounts for the fact that it was the object of reverence. The site of the quarry from which the stone is obtained is considered sacred ground where all American Indians meet in peace.
Long before the first white man arrived in the area, the American Indians of many tribes had come to obtain the prized red stone. Their pipes were of many styles, shapes and designs. They were used by the American Indians on many ceremonial occasions. Whenever the American Indians met to discuss war or peace, to purchase a bride or to settle land disputes, the pipe was used to solemnize the occasion.
~Barbara Averill, River Falls, WI