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The city of Ham Lake, Minnesota is in Anoka County, in the central eastern portion of the state. The chief route through the city is Minnesota Highway 65. Adjacent cities include Andover, Blaine, Columbus, Coon Rapids, East Bethel, Lino Lakes, and Oak Grove. Andover is about five miles to the west, East Bethel is ten miles north, Blaine is seven miles south, and Columbus is about thirteen miles east of Ham Lake. The area was settled by white settlers in the mid-1850s, and a town was established just south and west of a lake that was thought to be shaped like a ham, and thus named Ham Lake, although another theory holds that the lake had been named over a battle that was fought over a canned ham. At any rate, the lake was named Ham Lake, but the settlement was first known as Glen Carey, which is Scottish for “beautiful valley.” The initial development was widely promoted as a future city but, in 1857, all of the homes were destroyed by fire, and the original settlers left with whatever household goods they had been able to save. The area was resettled in 1866, after a Norwegian immigrant settled the area, and was soon followed by other Scandinavians. As these immigrants had difficulty pronouncing the name “Glen Carey,” they renamed the newly resettled town for the lake. Ham Lake’s economy was soon based on dairy farming and potato growing, and some of these farms remain. In 1894, a creamery cooperative was established, and several general stores soon followed. Ham Lake was incorporated as a city in 1974. Since its initial population of 7,832 in 1980, Ham Lake’s population has increased each census year, more than doubling its population by 2010.

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