Our Community

 

Swift Falls is an unincorporated village located in Camp Lake Township in Swift County. Camp Lake Township was first settled in 1866 and was named from its lake, which was the site of the camp of government surveyors for this and adjoining townships.  Among the first settlers at Camp Lake were Ole Thorson, F. C. Flattin, Sander Thompson, Ole Dokkebakken and Fingal Fingalson.  In 1869, Ole Davidson Skarsten from Olden, Norway was the first settler in what is now the village of Swift Falls, which was named so because of the natural waterfall on the Chippewa River.  He was first of many Nordfjordlings (refers to a group of settlers from same district or region in Norway) to arrive.  In 1870, a J.M. Danelz , an immigrant from Salla, Sweden staked out a claim in section 10 of Camp Lake township. Detecting the presence of the waterfall, he purchased it from the railroad company.  His partner, Theodore Hanson of Benson, gave financial support of $6,000 and a mill was built with the first flour produced on June 9, 1873.  Farmers traveled form miles around to deliver thier grist to the mill, which required many to wait for days due to demand.

 

The village has seen the comings and goings of many business through its time.  Some include a Post Office (1873-1910), bank, mercantile, blacksmith, grocery store, creamery, turkey processing plant (Earl B. Olson, founder of Jennie-O began his turkey growing and processing in Swift Falls before moving it to Willmar due to lack of a railroad), and more, however one constant in the community has been the church. 

Above:  The Swift Falls dam on the Chippewa River

Below:  Flour Mill constructed in Swift Falls by J. M. Danelz