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City of Isanti

Isanti is a city in Isanti County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 6,804 at the 2020 census. The name Isanti is composed of two Dakota words: isan (“knife”) and ati (“camp”), and refers to the Santee Dakota people.

Minnesota State Highway 65 and Isanti County Road 5 are the main routes in Isanti.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 4.85 square miles (12.56 km2), of which 4.81 square miles (12.46 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water. The Rum River flows through Isanti’s western edge.

The Minnesota Owls was a Tier III junior hockey team based in Isanti. It played in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League for over 20 seasons.

Notable People

  • Grace McCallum, Olympian

History of Isanti
Excerpt from Preserving a Sense of Heritage: Isanti, Minnesota Centennial 1899-1999 by Maryls Wickstrom and R.W. Dutch Schoenecker

“The name Isanti has its origin in Native American culture. Isanti County and the city of Isanti are named for a nation of Dakota (Sioux) Indians. They lived in the Mille Lacs Lake area and along the Rum River and are sometimes referred to as the Santees. Isanti is a derivative of that name.”

“Originally Isanti was located about three miles north of its present site. Referred to as “Old Isanti” the crossroads community was once a busy settlement which dates back to the 1860’s (Bergstrom, 82). Old Isanti extended to about one-half mile south of the intersection of State Highway 65 and County Road 19. …(N)o trace of the settlement remains…”

“About the time Edward and Albert Norelius moved their first store building into the new townsite in 1899, Wilfred D. Oleson arrived to build a new store. He and his new wife stayed with the Norelius family until the building was completed.”


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