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The city of Saint Francis, Minnesota is largely in northwestern Anoka County, with small portion extending into Isanti County.

The city is elongated, about twelve miles long and two miles wide.

The Rum River winds through the eastern region of the city, and Seelye Brook passes through further to the west. Saint Francis includes several small lakes and ponds, particularly in the less populated western region of the city.

Parks are situated mostly along, or in the area of the river. These include Degardner Park, Deer Creek 1st Park, Deer Creek 2nd Park, Dellwood River Park, Edgewild Park, Hidden Ponds Park, Highland Woods Park, Royal Oaks Park, Smith Lake Park, Rum River North County Park, Rum River Woods Park, Saint Francis Community Park, Stonehouse Park, Woodbury Park, and a small portion of Wickstrom Forest Park A portion of Ponds Golf Course is also in Saint Francis.

Saint Francis is abutted by the cities of Bethel, East Bethel, Elk River, Oak Grove, and Nowthen. Zimmerman and the unincorporated community of Crown are nearby, and Minneapolis is about thirty-five miles to the south.

Minnesota State Highway 47 is the main route through the city.

The area was settled around 1855, when Dwight Woodbury bought a large tract of land to build a dam to support a grist mill and saw mill. That same year, he built the first home in the region, which later served as a hotel. George Armsby and E. Fowler settled the region around the same time. In 1856, J.P. Austin and W.P. Clark came with their families.

Organized in 1857, St. Francis was named for an earlier name for the river, which had been named the Saint Francis River by Father Louis Hennepin in 1680. Prior to its incorporation as a village. Saint Francis was known as Old Jonathan, Saint Jonathan, and Otona.

Woodbury built a larger mill in the 1880s, known as the Saint Francis Flour Milling Company. John Quist, who came in 1874, was the miller. The mill burned in 1933, and the dam was also destroyed.

Other early businesses include a blacksmith shop owned by Silas W. Clements and Bud Sawyer, a drug store operated by Goodridge and Jennings, and a meat market established by Martin and Andrew Mitchell. H.T. Miller came to manufacture wagons and sleighs in 1875, and Pelutiar McClure opened a general store in 1879. Blanchette's Sample Room Beer Parlour opened for business in the early 1890s. It later became an ice cream parlour.

The first doctor to open a practice in Saint Francis was Dr. Marshall.

Before a bridge was built over the dam in 1864, the Saint Francis Ferry operated on a cable. When the bridge was destroyed in a flood, a new dam was built in 1880, and the bridge was moved slightly north of the dam.

In the 1890s, a starch factory and a canning factory were established, although the canning factory was open for only about four years.

The first schools in the community were held in homes but, by 1880, there were two organized school districts serving village students in grades K-8, while those attending high school did so in Anoka or other neighboring cities. In 1911, the school districts consolidated. A new school was built in 1914.

Saint Francis was incorporated as a city in 1962.

 

 

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