City of Apple Valley: A Brief History

Tagged: Charles Verrill, Henry Verrill, Lebanon Township, Orrin Thompson, Union Township, Apple Valley, City of Apple Valley, Dakota County,

Apple Valley’s historical roots lead back to the mid-1800’s when it was a part of the Lebanon Township farming community. The first settlers were believed to have come in the year 1855 from the east coast.

Lebanon Township’s first settlers were Henry J. and Charles Verrill and their wives. Each took a claim of 160 acres. Henry settled in the northwest in what is now Pilot Knob Road and County Road 42, where he built the first frame log house in Lebanon. Charles, on the other hand, made his claim in the western region in what is now Johnny Cake Ridge Road.

As more people settled in the community, it was time for Dakota County to organize it as a town. However, Lebanon chose to remain a part of a larger town called Union.

On April 26th, 1858, Dakota’s county board of commissioners met and changed the boundaries of Union Township and created Lebanon Township out of most of it.

Nearly a century after the first settlers arrived in Lebanon, the township’s population had remained much the same, growing from 252 in 1881 to 585 in 1960. However, a new kind of community began to take form. Instead of farms and rural fields, residential neighborhoods began to spring up all over the township. In 1955, the Knottywoods plat began development. It was followed by the Oak Ridge addition in 1957 and developed on Farquar Lake in 1959. It wasn’t until 1963, however, that a housing boom was created by Orrin Thompson in Lebanon, which would make it one of the fastest-growing communities in the Metropolitan region.  

Thompson chose the name “Apple Valley” for his plats in the southwest side of the city on both sides of County Road 42. He named the development after the city of Apple Valley, California and because the community was a part of the Minnesota River Valley. Thompson also had an apple tree planted at each home in his development. However, the township was still called Lebanon.

In 1966, a volunteer fire department was organized. In the general election of 1968, residents voted to incorporate the town of Lebanon as the village of Apple Valley, which was a name  prefered more by newer residents. Apple Valley finally became a statutory city on January 1, 1974 and presently has around 49,000 residents.

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

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