Voices of Minnesota

Dakota County Gopher Ordnance Munitions Plant Oral History Project


DATE: March - July 1976

INTERVIEWERS: Tom Copeland, Helen Davis, Nancy Pilgrim and Teresa Seliga

In the summer of 1976, Tom Copeland, director of the Dakota County Oral History Research, was involved with a program called DARTS, Dakota Area Referral and Transportation for Seniors. As part of this program, a number of senior citizens in Dakota County were interviewed about what the county was like when they were young.

A special off-shoot of the DARTS program was a set of oral histories conducted by a Bemidji State student. Nancy Pilgrim and two other women who talked with and interviewed a number of people in Dakota County who had been affected by the construction of the Gopher Ordnance Munitions Plant in Rosemount.

This plant was built on some of the richest farmland in Dakota County in 1942 at the height of World War II. In the spring of that year, ninety farmers were given notice that their farmland was condemned by the United States Government for war purposes. A munitions plant was build by DuPont upon this land. Many people flocked to Rosemount to work at the plant, where pay was above average. Many of the farmers who were displaced from their land formed a coalition to bring suit against the federal government for the low amount of money they were awarded for their land.

The interviews in this series are with the farmers and their families who were displaced from their land and the lawyers who represented their suit.

For further information see the description written by Nancy Pilgrim, available in the Oral History Office.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 23 hours 14 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 129 pages