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Notes on Hastings' history

Hastings came to be known as Oliver's Grove when U.S. Army Lt. W. G. Oliver and his nine-man military detachment, bringing supplies to Fort Snelling in 1819, encountered freezing water and bad weather and were forced to spend the winter here in log cabins they built.

For the next 34 years, the area was known as Oliver's Grove and almost became the permanent name of the town. The history of the area, however, would change in 1850 when Henry Bailly, a fur trader who later became a founding father of Hastings, became the city's first permanent resident.

While Bailly was supposedly located at Oliver's Grove as a trader, he was really there at the request of his father, Alexis Bailly, to hold the proposed site and be ready on the spot as the first claimant when settlement opened.

Bailly opened the Buckhorn trading post and kept on hand just enough calico and trinkets to trade with the Indians and keep his license. The name Oliver's Grove was soon shortened to Olive Grove.

In 1852, the Baillys, Henry and Alexis, sold one-half interest in two claims to Henry Hastings Sibley and Alexander Faribault. The four men are collectively known as the founding fathers of Hastings.

These four major property owners of Olive Grove decided in 1853, when the city was first being surveyed and platted, that it needed to be formally named. The elder Bailly suggested the city be named Sibley, after one of the landowners, but Sibley did not agree, saying that there was already a Sibley, Iowa.

Olive Grove was suggested, but one of the residents scoffed at the idea of an olive grove existing in the rigorous Minnesota climate.

Finally, the four each threw a name into a hat, and Hastings, Sibley's middle name, was drawn. To this day, no one knows exactly what the other three suggestions were that went into the hat.