The written history of Maplewood begins about 165 years ago when European and French-Canadian settlers began farming in this area. Prior to this time, the land was inhabited by the Dakota Indians with occasional visits by French and English fur traders and explorers. The landscape was a mix of scrub oak and prairie with many wetlands and lakes.
In 1850, a group of families ventured from St. Paul along an Indian trail that is now Hazelwood Street. They were the Bells, Caseys, Conlins, and Vincents. At today's County Road C, they turned to the east and began to build their log cabins. The sound of their axes alerted the Dakota who had a hunting camp nearby and thought the land was still theirs. The Dakota asked them to leave and the newcomers quickly retraced their steps. The settlers made repeated attempts to claim the land they had bought for two dollars per acre from the Federal government.
Finally in 1853, after the Ojibwa defeated the Dakota at Battle Creek, the former allowed the pioneers to build their cabins. About this same time, southern Maplewood was first settled when Thomas Carver began farming in 1852 to the west of Carver Lake.
In 1887, the residents in the northeast corner of New Canada voted to withdraw from New Canada township to incorporate as the village of North St Paul. During the last half of the 19th century, the City of St. Paul repeatedly annexed land from both townships and around 1890, the remaining five square miles of McLean merged with New Canada. Annual meetings were a big event and the little town hall was packed with residents. By the early 1950s, the old town hall was sold and offices were moved to a back room of the Gladstone Fire Department with annual meetings held in the Gladstone School.
In 1955, 3M built its Central Research Laboratory on 150 acres along Highway 12 in New Canada Township. This land was outside the city limits of St. Paul, but rumors began that St Paul wanted to annex the area for the additional taxes. After much discussion, the residents of the Township voted to incorporate as a village on February 26, 1957 by a vote of 5 to 1. This kept 3M on the village tax base and also allowed the village to become eligible for a share of the state gasoline tax.
Waldo Luebben was the first mayor and many of the former New Canada Township board members became village officials. Ed O'Mara suggested the name "Maplewood" for the new village, and Warren Berger found a maple leaf in his backyard and traced the outline for the village logo. For a few years, life was much like that of the former township with offices located in Gladstone:
In the 1950s, the decision had been made to consolidate the village departments in a new municipal building. But construction was so slow that Building Inspector Oscar Londin was alleged to have grabbed a shovel and said I'll do it myself! The two story city hall was finally completed at 1380 Frost Avenue in 1965. The residents voted to adopt the council-manager system in 1968, Maplewood Mall opened in 1974 and the village became a city in 1982.
It only took 20 years to outgrow the two-story city hall, and in 1985 a new city hall was built at 1830 East County Road B. By 1990, the population was 30,954.
In the year 2000, the population of Maplewood was 35,258 and covered an area about 18 square miles - this is half the size of New Canada Township when it was created in 1858.
Housing types vary widely within the boundaries. As a first tier suburb, mid century style homes prevail, lakes within the city boundaries are Lake Gervais, Keller and Phalen. A wonderful place to live in close proximity to the metro areas of the Twin Cities, easily accessible to the Interstate system for weekend getaways onto Wisconsin or Northern Minnesota!
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Updated: 20th October, 2020 4:51 AM (UTC).