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Oak Park Heights is in Washington County, in lower eastern Minnesota, separated from Wisconsin by the St. Croix River, and adjacent to Stillwater to the north and Bayport to the south. Minnesota Highways 5, 36, and 95 are the chief routes through the city. Other nearby communities include Lake Elmo and Grant, as well as the Wisconsin towns of Hudson and North Hudson. The area now known as Oak Park Heights was first occupied by John Parker, William Dorr, Gold and Mary Curtis, Olive Anderson, and William M. McLuer in 1857, and the settlement was platted that year. Settling the area between Stillwater and South Stillwater, they called their settlement Oak Park. South Stillwater was later renamed Bayport. In the 1880s. a sawmill and barrel production company was built along the Oak Park waterfront, using the river as a source of power. In the 1930s, Highway 36 was built, connecting Oak Park to Stillwater. Tara Hideaway was built to cater to tourists, and is still there, now known as Phil’s Tara Hideaway. Also in the early 1930s, the US government built a scenic overlook on Lookout Trail, which still exists. In 1938, the area was redesigned, re-platted, and renamed Oak Park Heights, which became a city in 1959. Today, the city boasts several miles of paved hiking trails and several acres of prairie land and wooded hills and parks. The Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights opened in 1982, and has the highest custody level in the state’s DOC system, housing mostly those classified as maximum custody or as extreme risks to the public.

 

 

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