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Saint Louis Park is a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis, which it borders on the east. The city also abuts Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Plymouth.

Before white settlers came, the Saint Louis Park area was one of rolling hills, marshes, a few lakes, and a large creek. The Chippewa and the Dakota Sioux frequented the area, but the nearest Indian village was at Lake Calhoun.

In 1853, the Indians were forced to cede their land, and the land that was to become Saint Louis Park was surveyed and subdivided. Many of those who wished to get land were living there when the surveys were completed. Within a year, most of the available land in Hennepin County was claimed.

Early on, the new community had to deal with the American Civil War, which took most of its young men, some of whom would never return. Then, while the Civil War was still in progress, there was the Sioux Uprising, although most of the settlers fled their homes until it was over.

During this time and in the years after the Civil War, the railroads were busy. By 1872, two railroads passed through the area of Saint Louis Park, the Minneapolis and St. Louis and the St. Paul and Pacific, but there was no depot.

In 1886, there were 350 people living in the area. Thirty-one landholders signed a petition to incorporate a village. The originator of the movement for incorporation was the St. Louis Park Land and Improvement Company. When it came to a vote, sixty-five voted in favor and three opposed. The new village was platted by Rufus Cook. The Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad built a depot that year.

A post office was developed, although the name was Elmwood. When Joseph Hamilton established the first business in the village, a general store, the post office was moved there.

Three years after incorporation, there were few roads and none that were graveled. There was no water system, gas mains, electricity, or telephones. There were no doctors, and there had been no significant increase in its population.

In the furor of the competition between nearby Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Saint Louis Park was able to secure an industrial niche for itself in the 1890s. An industrial area was built where a large swamp once was. One of the first was the Monitor Manufacturing Company. Others soon followed. These included the Minneapolis Jarless Spring Carriage Company, the Thompson Wagon Company, the Minneapolis Malleable Iron Company, and the Minneapolis Esterly Harvester Company.

By 1890, the village had more than six hundred industrial jobs, mostly related to the manufacture of agricultural implements. Soon, the village's downtown area had three hotels and several newly established businesses.

Although many of these early companies didn't last long, others took their place. The Minnesota Beet Sugar Company was created in 1897. The beets were raised in the rural areas west of Hennepin County and were shipped by rail on the Minnesota and St. Louis and Milwaukee lines, which had built a spur to the track. Its plant covered 36-acres and included six large brick buildings, two of them three floors high.

Several elevators were built and, in 1899, the world's first concrete, tubular grain elevator was constructed in Saint Louis Park. It is now on the Historic Landmark registry.

World Wars One and Two brought a decline in the city's industries and, with improved transportation, people began to view Saint Louis Park as a place to live rather than as a place to work. Schools, libraries, parks, and service businesses were established and, although there were fewer jobs, the village's population continued to increase. Retail stores replaced manufacturing plants.

The population of Saint Louis Park increased by more than 100% between 1920 and 1930, by nearly 65% in the next decade, and by nearly 200% between 1940 and 1950. In 1954, voters approved a charter that gave Saint Louis Park the status of a city. At that time, the city was engaged in updating its zoning and construction codes, improving its water and sewer system, paving streets, establishing parks, and building schools.

Today, most of the city is developed and, while the city is home to both commercial and industrial concerns, it is largely a bedroom community. Its current population is approaching 50,000. There are more than 2,700 businesses in Saint Louis Park.

The chief routes through the city are Interstate Highway 394, US Highway 169, and Minnesota State Highways 7 and 100.

The focus of this guide is the city of Saint Louis Park, in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Sites representing the municipal government or any other government agency located in Saint Louis Park, as well as local businesses, churches, schools, organizations, or individuals, are appropriate for this category, or any of its subcategories.


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