St. Anthony History

The City of St. Anthony has been an incorporated city for over 50 years, but its existence goes back more than 150 years. In 1803, it was a part of the Louisiana Purchase that was negotiated between President Jefferson and France. I was then part of the Wisconsin territory known as St. Croix County. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, St. Anthony and that portion of St. Croix County between the St. Croix River and the Mississippi River was not included in the new state's boundaries. A year later, the Minnesota territory was formed and included that area between the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers that was once part of Wisconsin. It would eventually become Washington and Ramsey counties. The Territorial Legislature later extended the boundaries of Hennepin County in 1856, to encompass a portion of this area that was east of the Mississippi. In 1858, the Township of St. Anthony was organized and formalized its boundaries in 1861. Much of this area would become the future St. Anthony Village and Northeast Minneapolis.

In 1861, the Township of St. Anthony extended to the Mississippi River. The area thrived due to lumber, grain milling, shipping, farming and other trading activities. By 1887, the Township of St. Anthony was greatly reduced due mostly to annexation by the City of Minneapolis. What area remained, approximately 1,087 acres, was agricultural in nature, with much of the land being devoted to vegetable production or hog farming.

Minutes from township meetings that were held between 1858 to 1945 contain the names of numerous families who were prominent in the township's history and which includes Rankin, Kenzie, Pahl, Ramberg, McInnis, Partridge, Daniels, Lemke and Hertog. Many of these families that helped develop the community are remembered on several Village street signs.

After World War II, the demand for affordable housing drastically increased. Al Forsythe, a realtor and developer, found what he felt was a prime piece of property in the area of St. Anthony Boulevard. He petitioned to have it annexed into the City of Minneapolis in order to gain City water and sewer service. However, on October 16, 1945, the residents living in St. Anthony Township petitioned the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to allow them to incorporate St. Anthony. On November 20, 1945, an election was held in the Township and the final vote was 167 for and 57 against incorporation. The incorporation was challenged by the State on the grounds that the Township was too rural. The lawsuit was eventually appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. On March 15, 1946, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld St. Anthony Township's incorporation petition and it became St. Anthony Village.

From 1946 to 1965, the population of St. Anthony Village grew very quickly, with many residents abandoning farming as a way of life and adopting a more cosmopolitan identity. Land use planning, capital improvements planning for sewer and water lines, water production facilities and street construction occupied much of the time and talent of the Village's first City Councils. Three sections of the original St. Anthony Township in Ramsey County were annexed, giving back to the newly incorporated St. Anthony Village an addition 600 acres. A large portion of this annexed land was developed into what is now the Apache Plaza Shopping Center in 1961. In 1973, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation that required that all municipal designations be changed to "city." Hence, the official name of "City of St. Anthony Village" appears on all official documents.