Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Minnesota » Cities & Towns » Prior Lake

Prior Lake, Minnesota is about twenty miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis. Located in Scott County, the city surrounds the shores of Lower and Upper Prior Lake, the city is south of the Minnesota River in an area known as South of the River, and is considered the urban fringe of the south-southwest part of the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Arctic Lake, Blind Lake, Jeffers Pond, Mystic Lake, and several smaller bodies of water are within the city. The eastern part of Spring Lake is also in Prior Lake, and several other lakes border the city limits. Surrounding communities include Barden, Credit River, Marystown, Savage, Shakopee, and Spring Lake. Spring Lake was surveyed in 1857 because there was speculation about a railroad coming through, but that didn’t occur until much later. A grist mill was built in 1859, and a sawmill soon afterwards. The Civil War intervened, and the new settlement did not get its first store until Joseph Thornton opened one there in 1865. The Hastings and Dakota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was completed in 1872, and a post office was established that year. Prior Lake was primarily an agricultural community from 1870 to the 1920s, but its lakes were also attracting summer residents. In 1879, the Grainwood House was opened, with a grand ball for distinguished guests throughout the state. Mr. W.E. Hull offered rides on the lake in his sailboat, and maintained a fleet of fishing boats for guests. The Grainwood had its own rail station and water tower. Prior Lake was incorporated as a village in 1891. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Prior Lake was a typical small town dealing with major events surrounding two world wars. Moderate growth began after World War II, increasing from 1960 on, as the town became a suburban community. Its population increased by more than five hundred percent between 1970 and 1980, and has increased by large percentages every census year since.

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