Nicollet Tower & Interpretive Center

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About Nicollet Tower & Interpretive Center, Sisseton

Joseph Nicolas Nicollet (July 24, 1786 – September 11, 1843), also known as Jean-Nicolas Nicollet, was a French geographer, astronomer, and mathematician known for mapping the Upper Mississippi River basin during the 1830s. Nicollet led three expeditions in the region between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, primarily in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Before emigrating to the United States, Nicollet was a professor of mathematics at Collège Louis-le-Grand, and a professor and astronomer at the Paris Observatory with Pierre-Simon Laplace. Political and academic changes in France led Nicollet to travel to the United States to do work that would bolster his reputation among academics in Europe. Nicollet's maps were among the most accurate of the time, correcting errors made by Zebulon Pike, and they provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the American interior. They were also among the first to depict elevation by hachuring and the only maps to use regional Native American placenames. Nicollet's Map of the Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi was published in 1843, following his death. Nicollet Tower, located in Sisseton, South Dakota is a monument to Nicollet and his work and was constructed in 1991.

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Overview of Nicollet Tower & Interpretive Center

As you traverse the city of Sisseton, you'll stumble upon Nicollet Tower & Interpretive Center. Although listed here, Nicollet Tower & Interpretive Center is not one of the most visited sightseeing places in Sisseton.

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Share your experience - Rate Nicollet Tower & Interpretive Center, Sisseton

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  • Out of towners really like this place. Whenever I have visitors they always want to stop here. An awesome view from the top of the tower of the great plains that you can see for miles.

  • Nicollet Tower is just a short 5 minute drive west from Interstate 29 and is right off from the pavement. Free for all to visit and open everyday during day light hours. Very clean and neat place to visit with a little local history (for all you map lovers), though I wish the interpretive center would show a little more focus on Mr. Nicollet and his work. If you need to stretch your legs for a bit, stop in and have a visit.

  • Neat view and the price was great (free). Has a nice roof so it can be a rainy day activity as well as some nice information​ about Nicollet in the building. Inappropriate graffiti has been covered up.

  • It was a fun quick stop to stretch but there was graffiti and swear words on the tower. Not super kid-friendly.

  • A must visit in the area. Good historical information.

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