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The Dome Top Trunk Discovery

“Mom! Mom! Mom!”

Landen burst through the door covered in snow, his cheeks red from the cold.

“We found a treasure chest!”

I was doubtful initially, thinking they had stumbled upon castaway furniture of some sort. Though I encourage their imaginations to wander as they explore the property, and the fallen leaves made the wooded areas much more open and accessible, I questioned him.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “Describe it.”

“It’s wood, and it had a round top but I broke it when I tried to move it.”

“… Can we move it?”

“No, leave it where it is.”

My gut-punch response was due to the fear and possibility of tetanus should they scrape themselves. But I admit, I was intrigued. 


(These two pictures show the area on our property where the dome top trunk was found. 
Landen now has an ideal location to metal detect once the snow melts.)

A few hours later I emerged from the house to clear our driveway of snow, and I suggested the kids bring their discovery into the garage.

The general shape had rotted away, and I immediately realized its construction was both wood and a tin-like metal material. The construction was of wood, tin and leather, with seemingly wrought-iron reinforcements, and it looked … old.

This was NOT a dresser.

You know that chest the kids told you they found?” I texted Nick, who was out flying a trip. “I think they’re on to something.”

I still tried to not jump to any conclusions, as I felt the materials needed to dry out before I could better inspect it. (Update: we speculate the trunk is from the 1930s.) But I could certainly see why my children were so excited. I immediately thought of our hypothesis that this land was once a trading post, considering the fact that Captain Dodd came through our suburb for military service. 

COULD this be a treasure chest?!

I found some old maps of our city online, and quickly identified our property’s location thanks to how easy it was to spot Dodd Blvd. Until 1871, there was a dispute between the boundary lines of Dakota and Scott Counties. Our location is in very close proximity. Present-day New Market Township in Scott County is our neighbor to the south. 

I also learned that this land was settled by immigrants from Scandinavia, who became farmers. Government treaties regarding this area with the local Native American tribes were taken advantage of, and though many were displaced to a reservation in northern Minnesota, they'd return to their hunting grounds in the summer. Then, following the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862, thousands of Native American women, children and elderly men were marched for miles to Fort Snelling to be interned. It's referred to as the Minnesota Trail of Tears, and according to maps I've found online, it's also likely to have passed through our land.

If this is the documented information I could find, I wondered what was left undocumented.

Beyond these generalities, specific details of this area are difficult to pinpoint.

So, I cannot confirm the possibility that the kids found a treasure chest but I cannot deny it either. And Landen is eager to metal-detect here too.

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