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Howard Lake, Minnesota is in Wright County, situated on the south shore of Howard Lake. Other lakes in the area include Mallard Pass Lake, Lake Ann, Dutch Lake, and Smith Lake. US Highway 12 is the main route through the city, and Howard Lake is east of Smith Lake and Cokato, and west of Waverly. Other nearby communities include Highland, Rice Lake, and Stockholm. Minneapolis is about forty miles east, and St. Cloud is forty miles north of Howard Lake. One of the first settlers in Wright County was Morgan V. Cochran, who was hired by a town site company in 1855 to set up a village named Lynden. He built the house and set the claim, but was never paid for his work. The following year, he too papers out on the tract and made his own improvements. The first house that he built became the community’s first school, and later a church. In 1863, Cochran sold his land to Charles Goodsell, who farmed the land until the railroad completed its tracks to the area in 1869, after which he platted the town site, originally naming it Howard. A post office was established under that name in 1870, but changed to Howard Lake in 1892. Since 1880, the city’s population has increased every census year except for 1910, when it decreased by 15.1%, and currently has a population of around two thousand.


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