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Forest Lake is one of Minnesota’s one hundred largest lakes. The city named for the lake sits on the western shores of the lake. Clear Lake is also within the city limits, while Mud Lake is just west of the city. The town began as a stop along the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. The first train reached Forest Lake in December of 1868. Forest Lake Township was formed in 1874, and the city was incorporated in 1893, annexing the township. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Forest Lake was a popular summer resort, boasting several hotels. Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and William Taft visited Forest Lake on more than one occasion. The city was also home to the gangsters, Ma Barker and Bugs Moran in the early 1930s. Forest Lake was the birthplace of Log Cabin Syrup, as Patrick J. Towle, the company’s founder, lived in Forest Lake at the time. The first Boy Scout troop in Minnesota was formed in Forest Lake in 1910, one of the first chartered in the United States. Eddie and Roy Shipstad, founders of the Ice Follies, were residents of Forest Lake for much of their lives, as were several early Follies skaters. The four chief routes through the city are Interstate Highway 35, US Highways 8 and 61, and County Road 2. Forest Lake is bordered by Columbus, Maple Island, Weston, and Wyoming. Minneapolis is about thirty miles southwest of Forest Lake.


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