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Ham Lake

City of Ham Lake

Ham Lake is a city in Anoka County, Minnesota, United States. It is a suburb in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. The population was 15,296 at the 2010 census. It is in the Anoka-Hennepin School District boundaries, one of the largest school districts in Minnesota.

Geography
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.71 square miles (92.49 km2), of which 34.39 square miles (89.07 km2) is land and 1.32 square miles (3.42 km2) is water.

Ham Lake is located in the central part of Anoka County.

Adjacent cities

  • Bethel (north)
  • East Bethel (north)
  • Columbus (east)
  • Lino Lakes (southeast)
  • Blaine (south)
  • Coon Rapids (southwest)
  • Andover (west)
  • Oak Grove (northwest)
    The community of Soderville is located within the northern part of the city of Ham Lake.

Transportation
Minnesota State Highway 65 serves as a main route in the city.

History
The earliest record of settlers in the Ham Lake area goes back to 1855, and in 1856, the settlers established a town located just south and west of a lake shaped like a ham. The settlers platted and sold lots for a community they named Glen Carey, a Scottish name meaning “beautiful valley”. The location was widely advertised as a future city. However, in 1857, all of the houses were destroyed by a prairie fire. Some of the inhabitants barely escaped with their lives saving only a very few household goods. The settlers soon left the area as they had nowhere to live.

There was no more settlement until 1866, when a Norwegian man settled in the area. He was soon followed by other Scandinavians. The Scandinavian settlers found it difficult to pronounce the Scottish name of Glen Carey. Since no official name had been chosen by the people, the commissioners named it Ham Lake, after the lake which had acquired that name on account of its shape.

The early settlers found the soil well suited to farming as it was not as rocky as they had been accustomed to in Scandinavia. Through the years, dairying became an important industry. The pioneer farmers soon found the soil well suited to growing potatoes and this became an important commodity for both cash sales and trading. Ham Lake Township would split from Grow Township (Andover) in 1871. In 1872, immigrants build the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church.

From the early 1900s through the 1930s, potato farming was at its peak in then named Ham Lake Township. Some of the farms remaining today are the sod farms in the southeast part of the city, where the ground is low and the soil black and heavy making it well suited to this crop as well as corn and potatoes in some places.

In 1894, when the population was over 400 people, a group of farmers joined together to form a cooperative and built a creamery. Several general stores were built there shortly afterwards. What became the main store in town, Soderquist’s, was built on land sold to the Soderquist family by the Olson family, who had extensive landholdings along what would later become Highway 65. Like many small American communities, over time all the “old” families became related through marriage. Although many of the establishing families have since moved away from Ham Lake due to increasing property taxes and crowding, these familial connections remain firm, and many members of the families are still in close contact.

In 1922, a service garage was opened in the northern part of Ham Lake.

A Fire Department was established 1969, with Eldon Hentges as the first Fire Chief.

Ham Lake officially became a city on January 8, 1974, with Eldon Hentges serving as the first Mayor.

References:

“Ham Lake, Minnesota” │ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ham_Lake,_Minnesota

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