The city of Maple Grove is located in the north central part of Hennepin County. At one time, it was only inhabited by Winnebago Indians who were moved from Wisconsin to Maple Grove by the Federal Government because “no one lived there.” That all changed in 1851 when Louis Gervais and Pierre Bottineau arrived and staked their claims. W.E. Evans, Harvey Abel, Patrick Defer and O. R. Champlin also settled in Maple Grove, all prior to 1855. They were allowed to buy their claims at the fair market price and could not be forced out by land speculators.
Early on, schools were an important part of the community. Originally, classes were taught in the home of P.B. Newton and taught by Mrs. Newton. The first building used as a schoolhouse was a vacant dwelling from which Delos Hawkins taught in the summer of 1858. In the late 1850s or early 1860s, the first school building was built. It was located on the southwest corner of Territorial Road and Ranchview Lane. It was known as Maple Grove School, or District 42.
In 1887, a new school building was built and still stands. It was moved back from the road in 1923 and a basement was added. It was used as a private residence until it was purchased by the Osseo Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1960s. They are still using the site.
The Eagle Lake School (District 129) still stands today and is used as a private residence. It was rebuilt in 1933 after the original wooden structure was destroyed by a fire in 1932.
Weaver Lake School (District 44) has also been remodeled into a private residence. It is located across from the Weaver Lake Cemetery on 89th Avenue North. The school was closed in 1953.
The Fish Lake School (District 46) is located at East Fish Lake Road and 73rd Avenue North. It too has been converted into a private residence.
Hennessey Hill School (District 45) was originally located on the banks of Elm Creek south of the bridge on County Road 10. The first school was supposed to have been a log building. Later, a new frame structure was built on the same site. The final structure sits on the hill above the creek and the cemetery and is east of the original site.
Elm Creek School (District 100) was located just west of the old town hall. The first school was sold and moved to another site. A new school was built on the same site, but was damaged by fire in about 1915. Classes were held temporarily in the town hall while the school was restored. In 1939, the school was damaged by a tornado and was repaired once again. In 1953, the school was closed, sold and converted into a private residence. In 1966, another tornado tore the roof off of the structure. The Village of Maple Grove purchased the building and turned it into a city office building. In 1975, the building was razed by the City, when the new City hall was built.
District 101 was located on the northeast corner of 101st Avenue and State Highway 101. It was used as a school until November, 1952, when it was destroyed by fire.
Town meetings were held in private residences from 1858 until 1863, when the first town hall was purchased. In 1877, the town supervisors ordered the construction of a new town hall and sold the original structure to the highest bidder for $23.00. The new building served as the town hall until 1939, when it was leveled by a tornado. The third town hall was constructed and still stands today, being used as a community building. The town board, consisting of three members, governed Maple Grove until 1954, when the town became incorporated into a village. In 1974 Maple Grove became a city. A new town hall was constructed on a site just north of the original town hall. The first city council meeting was held in the new building on August 4, 1975. The current Government Center opened its doors in October 2000.
Scattered throughout Maple Grove were a number of small businesses. There were creameries, sawmills and stores. The township also had three dance halls and two horse racing tracks.
Sawmills were an important part of this rural community. Maple Grove had two that we know of. The first was located on Elm Creek, just north of County Road 30 and run by Dan Hawkins. The second was located just north of 85th Avenue North on Rice Lake and was run by Con Meyer.
There were several general stores in Maple Grove. Grambert’s was located at County Road 30 and State Highway 101. It was built in 1929 or 1930 and purchased years later by Willie Bredenberg. It was then renamed Bredenberg’s Store. It was then sold and remodeled into Edie’s Country Store. The building was torn down in 2004.
There were a couple of stores on Territorial Road. There was the Mummah store at the southeast corner of Territorial Road and Ranchview Lane. The building was eventually destroyed by fire. The other store on Territorial Road was west of the Mummah’s store and was once a garage converted into a store. There was another general store, located on the northeast corner of 85th Avenue North and Rice Lake Road; it was torn down sometime in the 1940s.
A train depot, cheese factory and a rail siding completed the commercial center that once existed along Territorial Road, once the most traveled road in Minnesota. The corner of the 85th Avenue North and Rice Lake Road also had several businesses. Along with the Maple Leaf Store, there was the Blacksmith shop and the Maple Leaf Creamery.
By the late 1950s, the suburban sprawl had reached Maple Grove. The first growth was around the lakes. Then came I-94 and the population started growing again. The population in 1880 was 1,155. In 1950, the population had increased to 1,778. In 1990, the population was 38,756 and by the end of 2011, the population in Maple Grove was over 60,000 and still growing!
Maple Grove Today
Maple Grove continues to be a very vibrant community in the Twin Cities metro area. It is highly regarded for its parks and trail system and a popular spot for shopping and dining. Recent additions of the Maple Grove Hospital, Town Green, and Sports Dome show the City's commitment to making Maple Grove a great place to live, work, and play.
For more information about the Maple Grove Historic Preservation Society please call 763-494-5983.