Museums of Minnesota  

Museums of Minnesota

Museums of Minnesota

Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society/Depot Museum
100 Oak Street, Northwest Sleepy Eye, Minnesota 56085
Phone: (507) 794-5053
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Opening Times:

Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM till 4 PM

Seasonal Hours: May - November 16th


Admission: Free

Donations are accepted


The museum features local artifacts, and is operated by the Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society in a restored railroad depot dating back to 1902.  In 1992 the Depot was named to the National Register of Historic Places. 

The Depot - The Winona & St. Peter Railroad first reached Sleepy Eye in 1872.  A plat map for the Village of Sleepy Eye Lake was filed on September 18, 1887.  The first depot burned down in January 1887.  A second depot was built by June 1887 and was used as a freight depot for many years.  It still stands a block east of the Depot Museum.  The present depot was built in 1902 of red-faced brick and stone trimming.  It consisted of a baggage room, men's waiting room, family waiting room, and the east end lunch room.  For 87 years the Chicago and North Western Railroad had passenger rail service at Sleepy Eye.  The streamliner "Dakota 400" made its last stop in Sleepy Eye on October 25, 1960.  After that the depot served as a freight office. 

Chief Sleepy Eye - Chief Sleepy Eye was born in 1780 in a Sisseton Sioux Village at Swan Lake near Nicollet, Minnesota.  In 1824 he was made a Chief by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  He died in 1860 while hunting in South Dakota.  In 1902 his bones were brought back to Sleepy Eye and placed under the Monument erected in his honor, that now stands besides our local Depot.  The city of Sleepy Eye is named after the Sisseton-Sioux Chief, Ish Tak Ha Ba or better known as Chief Sleepy Eye who died in 1860.  He helped in many of treaties that had been written.  He signed several Treaties; The Prairie Du Chien in 1830; The St. Peters (Mendota); and reluctantly the Traverse des Sioux in 1851.  Chief Sleepy Eye was known for his friendliness to traders, missionaries and settlers.

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