The Centennial Monument, located in Central Park, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of New York Mills and the historical significance of the geographical setting of New York Mills, MN.
The monument, which is situated precisely on the Continental Divide, is flanked by the five flags which have flown over the area. These are the flags of England, France and Spain, the current American flag and the American flag of expansion with its 15 stars.
There is a fountain in the monument, which symbolizes rain falling on New York Mills. The smaller of the two plaques on the monument reads: “As the Water Falls and Divides Upon this Stone, the Rains Falling Upon this Park flow both North and South to the Seas.”
The Bronze Plaque
The larger bronze plaque further explains the monument’s purpose: “This marker is erected on the height of land which divides North America into vast drainage areas. The land on your left drains to the Gulf of Mexico and the land on your right drains to the Hudson Bay. For one and one-half centuries the divide also delineated the realms of nations seeking dominion over the continent’s immeasurable resources.”
The plaque goes on to explain that the west-side of New York Mills was within “Rupert’s Land” granted by King Charles II in 1672 by “Governours and Adventurers Trading in Hudsons Baye.” In 1818 the land drained by the Red River, which lies south of the 49th parallel was released by the United Kingdom.
The east-side of New York Mills was within the Louisiana Territory, which was under the rule of Spain and France at alternating times from the 16th century until 1803, when ceded to the United States by Napoleon.