Post by ● Aug 8, 2016

City of Mahtomedi: A Brief History

Tagged: Mahtomedi, , , , , , , ,

The name Mahtomedi originates from the Dakota name for White Bear Lake, which is mato meaning grey bear, and mde, meaning lake. The city was originally a part of Lincoln Township, which was also comprised of the present day cities of Dellwood, Wildwood, and a small portion of White Bear Lake.

Mahtomedi was platted as a village in 1883 by the First Mahtomedi Assembly of Chautauqua Association, which originated in New York to train Sunday school teachers. The association later broadened its mission by focusing on adult education. Most of the housing in the village consisted of summer homes and cottages built by the assembly. Many of the Association’s members also set up tents in Mahtomedi and in one summer, over 3,000 tents were set up in the area. A large amphitheatre was also built by Ham Lake and later, the YMCA constructed a clubhouse on the lake with a dock, boathouse, and dining room.

The community of Mahtomedi saw more visitors in 1892 after the arrival of the Minneapolis & St. Paul Suburban Railroad Co. in the area. In 1899, the Twin City Rail Transit Company started regular service to Mahtomedi and the neighboring city of Stillwater. The company’s largest contribution to the city, however, was the establishment of the Wildwood Amusement Park and picnic grounds. The park was located on southeast shore of White Bear Lake and was extremely successful in drawing in residents of St. Paul to the growing village. Wildwood Amusement Park featured a rollercoaster, plane rides across the lake, and other rides.

The city’s lakefront also became a popular attraction to visitors. Bathing houses, a water chute, and spring boards were built on the waterfront. Visitors also enjoyed fishing on the city’s rental boats and experiencing tours on the steamboats that made regular rounds on the lake. The park’s dance pavilion was also a popular entertainment spot that included a restaurant with a view of the lake.   

Mahtomedi is also known for its dealing with gangsters, including Ma Barker and her gang. The gang was said to have rented a cottage on the lake before departing when the FBI made inquiries in the village. Other gangsters like “Baby Face” Nelson, Gus Nicholas, and “Bugs” Moran also resided in the town for a time.

In 1931, residents of Mahtomedi voted to incorporate as the City of Mahtomedi. Later, in 1972, Mahtomedi and Lincoln merged together and has grown from 5,000 residents to its present day population of almost 8,000.      

If you have any questions regarding the city of Mahtomedi, 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.