After several years at Lake Calhoun and a series of battles with the Ojibwe (Anishinabe), Chief Cloud Man (Marpiyawicasta) moved to the banks of the Minnesota River. In 1843 Gideon and Samuel Pond followed Cloud Man to this river bluff location. Gideon Pond, assisted by Eli Pettijohn, built a log mission house on this site later that year. The two Pond families lived in the log house, which was used as a church and school for Dakota, mixed blood and white students. Nearby were the villages of Cloud Man, Good Road, and Kahbodaka (The Drifter) on this side of the river. Black Dog's village was across the river, near the present-day River Hills neighborhood of Burnsville. The Ponds continued their work at the mission house, including publication of "The Dakota Friend", one of the first religious newspapers in the state and one of the earlier native bi-lingual (Dakota-English) newspapers in the country. Gideon Pond continued to serve members of Cloud Man's band until 1853, when the treaty of Mendota led to the relocation of the Dakotas to a strip of land further west along the Minnesota River. At this time, Samuel and Gideon Pond resigned from the Dakota Mission and began churches for the white settlers who were flooding into the Minnesota Territory. The Pond brothers remained sympathetic to the Dakota, though skeptical of their future
under the annuity system. In 1856 the Gideon Pond family moved into their newly built brick house, and the mission house was dismantled. The mission house timbers were used to build a barn to the east of the brick house.
In the Words of Samuel Pond Jr
"The site of the Old Mission House at Oak Grove, now in the town of Bloomington, was a beautiful and commanding one. The house was built on the high bluff of the Minnesota, sheltered from the north winds by a rising ground in that direction, covered with a fine growth of ancient oaks. It was flanked at a little distance on either hand by deep ravines, through which flowed ever-living streams of pure cold water. To the south the beautiful valley of the Minnesota stretched away on either hand as far as the eye could see, and often when clothed in vernal beauty must have resembled the fertile plains of Jordan... Here and there the eye of the observer caught glimpses of silvery reflections, where the rays of sparkling sunlight fell upon the silent lake or winding river." Quote from "Two Volunteer Missionaries" (1893)