Sauk Rapids is a city in Benton County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 12,773 at the 2010 census and is 13,631 according to 2016 census estimates. It is located on a set of rapids on the Mississippi River near its confluence with the Sauk River.
Sauk Rapids was one of the most important cities in Minnesota until 1886, when, on April 14 at approximately 4:00 p.m., a tornadostruck the town. The twister swept through the heart of the city, destroying all of the stores. In Sauk Rapids alone, 44 people were killed and several hundred were wounded. The event was a great setback for the city, and though it has rebuilt since then it never regained its former prominence in statewide affairs.
In recent years, the downtown area of Sauk Rapids has gone through substantial changes due to the construction of the New Sauk Rapids Bridge. This was primarily because the new bridge links to 2nd Street rather than 1st Street, as the original Sauk Rapids Bridge did. Also the intersection of Benton Drive and 2nd street was adjusted so the new bridge would extend over the railroad tracks and land on Benton Drive. Several buildings had to be demolished during the construction process, which meant that some parts of downtown were rebuilt. In addition, some sidewalks were repaved with cobblestone and the medians were filled with granite blocks.
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