Tracy D. Swanson
Tracy D. Swanson is a life-long Chaska resident. She served as Chaska's first female mayor from 1978-1984 and went on to become Carver County's first female County Commissioner, a position she held from 1986-2002. She is the president of the Chaska Historical Society.
Why should people care about history?
Understanding history is essential to living a balanced and centered life because if we do not learn from the past, will we feel that, in the long run, it doesn't really matter what we do today? Life in a community is a continuum and the understanding and appreciation of the past coupled with the expectations of the future contribute to a healthy, vital community today. With the expected growth in all of the cities in Carver County, an appreciation of where we have been is more important than ever.
What people or events helped spark your interest in history?
My interest in history is rooted in my own heritage. My family, the DuToits, were pioneers who arrived in Carver County in 1855. Through the years my father instilled in me an appreciation not only of my family history but also of Carver County history through his wonderful story telling laced with enough irreverent humor to capture the interest of a young girl.
What are compelling stories from our communities, in this case Chaska?
Chaska, my hometown, is the seat of government in Carver County and as such has had county government buildings and thousands of employees living and working in the community for 150 years.
Chaska's other major contribution to Carver County can be seen in the widespread use of the cream colored "Chaska Brick" in farmhouses, churches and other buildings throughout the area. Over 3,000,000 Chaska brick were used in the construction of our State Capitol which is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2005. For 100 years Chaska's clay deposits produced millions of the distinctive brick and the brick yards employed thousands of Carver County residents.