The National Park Service is closing down one of Minnesota's most historic locations today, with plans to return it to the way settlers found it nearly 200 years ago.
"We're going to be restoring the site," said Alan Robbins-Fenger, of the National Park Service. "Demolishing all the buildings, and the primary infrastructure, the road system and the parking lots, and restore the site to a more natural condition -- Oak savannah, primarily.
Coldwater Spring was first settled permanently by U.S. Army soldiers as they built nearby Fort Snelling. The site later hosted a small civilian community outside the fort, the first established by whites in the state.
The Army later abandoned Coldwater Spring, and it served as a Bureau of Mines research facility from 1959 to 1996. It's been abandoned and vandalized in the years since.
There are no plans for now to restore the spring house or reservoir, which served as the fort's water supply from 1820 to about 1920, Robbins-Fenger said.