Post by ● Sep 9, 2015

City of Prior Lake: A Brief History

Tagged: Community Profiles, Minnesota History, Prior Lake Minnesota, , , , , , , ,

The first people to inhabit Prior Lake were Native American Indians. They remained in the area until the Mendota Treaty allowed European settler to occupy the land. Named after General Winfield Scott, Scott County was established by the State Legislature in 1853. Many settlers had been in the area previously in order to trade with the natives.  Here they took a stretch of land south of the Credit River then southwest to Prior Lake. This is the route early settlers followed to get to the Credit River and Spring Lake areas.

A man by the name of William H. Calkins, a New York native, made a claim between Spring Lake and modern day Prior Lake in 1852. He made this claim based on the purpose of attempting to establish a community that would rest along the halfway point of the route so that travelers had places to stay on their long journeys.

It was during this period that one of the most historical and memorable of Prior Lake’s business was developed. The Grainwood House opened in 1879. The Grainwood hosted its own station and water tower. During this period, only a few people were employed through businesses. All others made their living off of agriculture.

The Village of Prior Lake was officially incorporated in 1891. Three farms were brought into the borders of the village in order for it to be large enough to be incorporated. In 1894 the Grainwood House burned down. However, not long after a bigger and better one was built in the same spot. in the early 1900’s, baseball became a popular town sport and it would continue to be even in present days. The city wanted to be able to create something that the entire town would love, so they built several parks that were dedicated just to having baseball fields.

In 1930, fire got a hold of the second Grainwood Hotel. However, this time the damage was not terminal to the building. Up to this point, the children in Prior Lake went to high school in either Shakopee or Farmington. However, the Savage and Prior Lake communities built their own high school.

Another popular building was built in Prior Lake in the year of 1969, the public library. This library has served as the centerpiece for the downtown area for many years. Although housing was established in large quantities during that time, Prior Lake remained isolated. With the city being cut off by the Minnesota River, and not having any major access to larger highways, the city’s growth suffered. However, the integration of State Highway 13 and the addition of the bridge of U.S. Highway 169 over the Minnesota River solved all of the city’s developmental issues. In no time at all, Prior Lake experienced a residential boom. Its downtown area also found its place on the map as State Highway 13 runs right past it.

If you have any questions regarding the city of Prior Lake, 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