City of Lakeville: A Brief History

Tagged: City of Lakeville, Dakota County, Enngren's Grocery, Hastings and Dakota Railroad, J.J. Brackett, Lakeville,

The Sioux people were the earliest inhabitants of southern Minnesota, including the present day City of Lakeville. In 1853, Captain William B. Dodd designed and directed the construction of a road that served as a practical land route connecting the military forts in Saint Paul to southern forts. In the year 1855, J.J. Brackett, a Saint Paul lumber baron and mail carrier who was using this road, decided to plat a site halfway between Saint Paul and Saint Peter on a lake he named Prairie Lake.  The village was established in 1858 as Lakeville Township.

When the Hastings and Dakota Railroad line construction was completed in 1869, railroad officials bought 20 acres of land a half a mile east of Lakeville to build a depot. The area was named Fairfield and it wasn’t long before businesses flocked to the new town site. It took 9 years for business owners and residents to change the name of the town to the Village of Lakeville, which is the current day location of downtown Lakeville. Agricultural was the main industry with several grain mills and creameries in the town. The population of the town at the turn of the 20th century was 373.  

Because of its rural landscape, early settlers to the area were mostly Scandinavians farmers. Other settlers included groups of Irish, English, and Scots who spread out from Hamilton Landing and Burnsville. From 1840 to 1895, Danes reportedly outnumbered Norwegians and it was common for residents to travel to Minneapolis. One of the staples of the rural township was the Enngren’s Grocery, which opened in 1906. The store was founded by Jerry Enggren and it was an icon to the community, as was its founder, who sold locally grown produce and made sure that seniors and those in need got free turkey’s for Thanksgiving.

In 1910, Colonel Marion Savage expanded his entertainment business into constructing Antlers Amusement Park in the township of Lakeville. Antler Amusement Park experienced  great success for both Colonel Savage and Lakeville. The lake was renamed Lake Marion and the rail servicing the park was named the Dan Patch Railroad Line.  

Much like other outer-ring suburbs of the Twin cities in the late 20th century, Lakeville township was officially incorporated as the City of Lakeville in 1967. The city’s agricultural industry continued to be its main source of revenue as postwar development did not immediately absorb the city. However, in the early 21st century Lakeville became a boom town with housing and populating increases due to rising land costs in the metropolitan area.       

If you have any questions regarding the city of Lakeville, Minnesota, or if you would like to sell or buy a house in the area, please feel free to visit TwinCitiesPropertyFinder.com or call 1-800-909-1953.


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