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European settlement of the area that was to become Richfield, Minnesota began around 1820, when small settlements were established around Fort Snelling, then known as Fort Saint Anthony, at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The fort served as both a destination and a stop for newcomers, mostly lumbermen, farmers, missionaries, and travelers. By the late 1830s, the fort’s garrison made up most of the area’s population, followed by those who were employed by the American Fur Company, which the US government had authorized to locate its base at what is now Mendota, across the Mississippi from the fort. Other communities of farmers, traders, farmers and missionaries developed around the fort, mostly without permission of the government, and it was these communities that would later form Richfield. When Minnesota became a state in 1858, representatives of the newly established town of Richland met near Richland Mills to form a municipal government. At the first town meeting, the people of Harmony and Richland Mills chose to combine their settlements to form Richfield Township, named for the town of that name in Maine, as about 35% of the town’s population had come from that state. Over the years, parts of Richfield were lost to neighboring towns or by annexation. Saint Louis Park was formed from parts of Richfield in 1886, while Edina was created in 1889, for example. The City of Richfield was first known as the City of Fort Snelling, after Franklin Steele purchased the fort and land from the government, incorporated as the Village of Richfield in 1908, and its population boomed after World War II, largely as a residential community for people commuting to the Twin Cities. Today, Richfield is an inner-ring suburb of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, bordered by Minneapolis to the north, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to the east, Bloomington to the south, and Edina to the west. Best Buy has its headquarters in Richfield.


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