NAME: Belle River
COUNTY: Douglas
CLIMATE: Snow in Winter, warm Summers.
COMMENTS: Two miles East, and 4 miles South of Miltona.
REMAINS: Goth style church and a few fallen down buildings.
Belle River took the name of the township it was in. First named Riverside because of the Long Prairie River which flows through the township. The first settler in the area was George B. Craig who arrived in 1865, and others quickly followed. Before the settlers came, both the Sioux and Chippewa indians occupped the area, but not at the same time because they were always at war with each other. The Chippewa having driven the Sioux out of northern Minnesota in the mid 18th century. In 1871 St. Nicholas catholic chuch was built on what is today the cemetery. It was also the year that, by vote of the people, the name was changed to Belle River. Perhaps the new church had something to do with the name change. A small settlement devolped just west of the church, at the cross roads, with businesses to meet the needs of the local farmers. No railroad past through. A Post Office was opened in 1885, but closed in 1906. The church burned to the ground on August 8, 1915, and was a big loss for the settlement. A new Goth style chuch was completed October 15, 1916. It had two bells, one weighting 2,000 lbs. and the other 1490 lbs. No doubt you could hear these bells all the way to the river, which is a few miles away. The church seated 800 people. Membership in 1915 was 106 families. Today there is little left. The buildings have fallen down, and most of the residents have moved away. However, the beauitful Goth style church is still in use. Duane Peterson.

Belle River Cemetery
Courtesy Duane V Peterson

Belle River Church
Courtresy Duane V Peterson