Sartell: began as a small river town relying on lumber and a paper company for its existence. The present site of the City of Sartell was first known as “The Third Rapids”, this name was given by the French fur traders because it was the third “rapids” they would encounter as they traveled north up the Mississippi River from St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis. One of the first settlers of the community was Joseph B. Sartell who arrived in 1854 who worked as a millwright at a local sawmill. In 1877 Joseph B. Sartell opened a flour mill on the Watab River, near the present day Watab Creek Park, and in 1884 he and his sons started the Sartell Brothers Lumber Company.
In 1905, a dam across the Mississippi near the “third rapids” was begun, and finished in 1907. Seven people were killed during the construction of this first dam. Also in 1905, construction began on the Watab Pulp and Paper Company. The paper mill was completed and began making paper in 1907. This was to become the St. Regis Paper Company in 1946 and finally Champion International in 1982.