The earliest inhabitants of the Forest Lake area were the Chippewa Indians to the North and the Dakota Indians to the south. The lake was coveted by both tribes because it was rich in wild rice, hunting, and fishing. A treaty in 1825 set boundaries for the Indians, the Chippewa were to stay on the North side of the Lake while the Dakota were to stay on the south. The treaty with the Indians opened up room for pioneers to settle in the area around Forest Lake.
The first pioneers to settle in Forest Lake found the land covered with timber along with rolling hills, meadows, and marshes. In 1855, a German Immigrant named Louis Schiel moved north from St. Paul and settled south of Forest Lake. Schiel started a stage coach line, which ran from St. Paul to Duluth, allowing people to move north from St. Paul and settle in the northern part of the state. By 1863, Schiel helped bring 47 families and a school teacher to Forest Lake Township. Forest Lake started out as a fuel stop for the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroads running from St. Paul to Duluth. Forest Lake was platted in 1868, which helped bring a woodyard, water tank, and depot to the city.
In 1868, a man by the name of Michael Marsh opened a resort hotel, post office, mercantile shop, and boat landing on the northwest shore of Forest Lake. The Marsh House quickly became a famous resort, entertaining the wealthy from St. Paul as well as others including presidents William Mckinley and Grover Cleveland. The summer resort could hold 75 guests and provided each one with boats and fishing tackle. The hotel also provided games and a small steamboat that offered tours around the lake.
As Forest lake became a popular tourist destination, the town center began to grow as well opening several stores. The city established a post office, blacksmith’s shop, a school and much more. In 1876, a general store was opened, and by 1880 the city had milling facilities. Forest Lake was incorporated in 1893 with 175 residents.
In recent decades, Forest Lake has become one of the most attractive communities in the northern suburbs. The city’s population has continued to grow over the years and today is home to over 7,000 households, 5,000 of which are families. The community offers excellent schools with high-quality education. The city has a small town atmosphere with the amenities of a big city, including easy access to Minneapolis and St. Paul. Forest Lake is a beautiful city with a family-friendly community, making it the perfect place to call home.
If you have any questions regarding the city of Forest Lake, 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.