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The city of White Bear Lake, Minnesota is named for one of the largest in the Twin Cities area, for which it takes its name. This is a guide to the city of White Bear Lake.

The city is situated on the western, northwestern, and southwestern shores of White Bear Lake, and its boundaries include the entirety of Birch Lake, Goose Lake, Priebe Lake, Varney Lake, and other smaller bodies of water. Manitou Island, just off the shore of White Bear Lake, is also within the city.

White Bear Lake is bounded by White Bear Township, as well as the cities of Birchwood Village, Gem Lake, Maplewood, North Oaks, and Vadnais Heights. Nearby cities include Dellwood, Little Canada, Pine Springs, and North Saint Paul. The city of Saint Paul is 12.5 miles south of White Bear Lake, and Minneapolis is 17.8 miles southwest..

The main routes through the city are Interstate Highways 35-E and 694, Minnesota State Highway 96, US Highway 61, and County Highway 96.

Several American authors, including Mark Twain, have suggested various stories as to the origins of name of the lake, each having to do with various Indian legends.

The earliest inhabitants of the area were the Dakota and Ojibwe, although they probably used the region for migratory hunting and food gathering, as there was no evidence of a Native American village there. In 1825, the United States government designated the land as Dakota land. However, the US government later purchased all of the Dakota territories east of the Mississippi River, opening it for white settlement.

Settlers were attracted to the region for its lakes, but also for the rich soil and game. By the time that Minnesota became a state in 1858, there were enough people on the land to form White Bear Township, a thirty-six square-mile township.

The first settler in what is now White Bear Lake was V.B. Barnum, who came from Connecticut to farm in 1852, and ended up building the first resort hotel on the lake. The James F. Murray family came from Pennsylvania with three grown sons, buying property along Lake Avenue and the island. James was elected the first town board chairman. One of his sons, Thomas F. Murray, was the first road overseer, and James C. Murray was the town's first postmaster. John B. Murray built an elaborate resort hotel.

In 1868, the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad opened an extension of its line to White Bear Lake. In celebration, ten platform cars of three hundred men and four passenger cars with two hundred women made the trip from Saint Paul. The railroad turned what had been a three-hour ride by horse and buggy into a twenty-minute train ride, opening the area up for tourism and recreational visitors.

During the resort era, Barnum's hotel became the Leip House, with a ballroom, billiard room, dance pavilion, bowling alley, and boats for rent. The Williams House was opened by F.C. Williams on what had been the Murray property on Lake Avenue, and James Waters established the White Bear House at the railroad depot. The Ramaley Pavilion opened in 1879, and other resorts opened at Bald Eagle Lake, just north of White Bear Lake.

In 1871, the downtown site was platted, and White Bear Lake's commercial center began with a meat market, a boat-building operation, a blacksmith shop, and a livery stable.

White Bear Lake was incorporated as a village in 1881 and reincorporated in 1884. Land was bought for a village hall in 1892, and a library was approved in 1889. A.H.S. Perkins began publishing The Lake Breeze in 1887, a newspaper known for its promotion of White Bear Lake as something more than a summer resort. The village prospered as a resort area until the early 1900s when its popularity gradually decreased, largely due to changing vacation trends and road improvements that opened up other areas to tourism. Some of the village's more famous hotels burned, and were not rebuilt, while others were converted to other uses or allowed to deteriorate.

The village became a city in 1921. Today, the city continues to be popular for its lakes and recreational opportunities, but it also enjoys industrial and commercial success. Smart Carte, an international supplier of baggage carts to airports, is headquartered in White Bear Lake, as is Magnepan, a loudspeaker manufacturer. International Paper Company operates a facility in the city.

The focus of this category is on White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Appropriate topics include websites representing the municipal government, as well as any industries, businesses, schools, places of worship, organizations, individuals, or events within the city.


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