The study of the Northern Suburbs begins before Minneapolis and St. Paul were even founded. This project follows the development of the area from before white settlement until the present.
White settlement began in the early part of the Railroad Era, which began mid 19th century. The railroads were the dominant form of travel in the area from 1870-1920. The central cities were booming during the Railroad Era. The study area was growing as a farming and milling hinterland of the booming central cities during the Railroad Era.
Starting in 1920, the Early Auto and Roads Era was a time of beginning highway development.
The Advanced Auto and Roads Era started in 1960. After the Interstate system was built, suburbanization in the area expanded.
This study will examine the developments in industry, commercial activity, and residential patterns during these eras. The development of the study area is a story which includes first ring suburbs, rural townships, and the movement of the growing edge of the city. The study will focus on several towns to provide examples of changes over time.
First, Anoka was an early settlement in Minnesota. The metro area grew out and surrounded it during the Advanced Auto and Roads Era. It is currently in a redevelopment stage of its commercial, residential, and industrial areas.
Second, Blaine was a rural township until the 1950’s, when suburbanization began to bring in new residents. In the last 15 years, it has experienced a building boom and is currently working to bring in new commercial and residential projects.
Lastly, Ham Lake is a town that is still outside the MUSA boundary. There have been some low density residential developments, but mostly it has remained rural. Unlike Blaine, Ham Lake is attempting to hold onto its rural identity and retard growth.