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This print of the mountain which stands above the present city of Winona, MN, is from Chris Miller's collection of “WINONAVIEWS,” Vintage Views of Winona, Minnesota.

Originally, the mountain was known as "Wapasha's Cap" in honor of the hat worn by Wapasha (Wabasha), Chief of the Dakotahs (Sioux). The tale is that after it was quarried for its limestone, it became known as "Sugar Loaf" for the unique form which remained. However, Chris Miller has found information that suggests the name "Sugar Loaf" was used before the mountain was mined.

Chief Of Sioux
Born About 1816 ~ Died April 23, 1876
From The Book, History of Wabasha County, page 1273

"The picture of Wah-pa-sha was taken from a painting in the possession of the family of Alexis Bailly, Esq., now deceased. This is the chief the place was named after. He was a noted man in his day, and was recognized as head chief of the River bands of Sioux. During the troubles with the Winnebago Indians, at Prairie du Chien, at an early day, Wah-pah-sha was invited by them to a council. After listening to the Winnebago chiefs, and what they proposed doing to the whites, Wah-pah-sha arose, and, pulling a hair from his head, blew it away, telling the council that if they harmed a white man he would blow them from the face of the earth as he had blown the hair. The chief with his band made their summer residence on what is now called "Sand Prairie," or, as it was called by the old voyageurs, 'La Prairie au Cypre.'"


This beautiful painting of Wabasha Prairie was contributed by Chris Miller who also collected the images on "WinonaViews" this site.

Through 1851, the entire area of Minnesota Territory from Wabasha County down to the Iowa state line and from the Mississippi to the Dakotah Territory line was known as Wabasha County or Wa-pa-sha Prairie. This book was written only thirty-three years later, and the practice of referring to this entire area as Wabasha was probably still in effect. That is probably why Winona County wasn't included in this site's source book title.

To learn more about the Wapasha Dynasty, click HERE. The author, Dale Ebersold, is a direct descendant of Joseph Rocque and La Bleu, sister of Wapasha I.

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