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City of Medina

Medina is a rural city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States. Medina is covered by farmland, woodlands, and lakes. The population was 4,892 at the 2010 census.

On May 11, 1858, the city was named after the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia, which had been in the news that year.

Medina was a part of the “Big Woods,” a vast region of hardwood forest, broken only by lakes, marshes, and streams. Its Dakota people lived on game, fish, berries, wild rice, and maple sugar and traded with other bands in the region.

In 1853, the Traverse de Sioux Treaty opened up the region to white settlers, who were attracted by the huge stands of timber and the availability of land for farming.

The first settlers arrived in Medina in 1855. On April 10, 1858, County Commissioners gave the City an official designation as “Hamburg Township.” Local residents preferred the name, “Medina,” after the Arabian holy City that was in the news that year. On May 11, 1858, 37 residents met in the home of Valorius Chilson and voted unanimously to change the name.

Medina’s early European settlers were chiefly German, Irish and French-Canadian and had names still common in Medina, like Scherer and Reiser; Mooney and Crowe; Hamel and Fortin. The first generations tended to group according to their language ties and to help each other through the long hard winters.

Townships were always divided into 36 sections, each consisting of a square mile. This meant that the City of Excelsior extended beyond the north shore of Lake Minnetonka to Medina’s southern border. Excelsior’s northern residents tolerated this inconvenience until 1868, when Excelsior’s north shore residents voted to become a part of Medina. This expanded Medina to over 50 square miles.

In 1889, George A. Brackett led a successful drive to carve the City of Orono out of the southern 11 sections of Medina. Later, the City also ceded away land to Loretto, when it incorporated in 1940. Loretto had been platted since 1886 at the time the Minneapolis & St. Paul and Sault St. Marie railroad came through.

The Hamel area of Medina was platted as a City as early as 1879, but its efforts to incorporate failed, in part, because of the complication of straddling the borders of both Medina and Plymouth. The town might have been called Lenz after Leander Lenzen, who built a mill on Elm Creek and set up a post office in the name of Lenz in 1861. But, when the Lange Hamel family gave land to the railroad for the train depot in 1884 they asked that it be called “Hamel,” and the name took root. To this day, people call this area of Medina, Hamel.

Built on the road from Minneapolis to Rockford, Hamel was a busy town. At the turn of the century Hamel boasted a school, two hotels, the Church of St. Anne’s, a hall for the Ancient Order of United Workman and numerous stores. The town decreased to its present size after TH 55 bypassed it in the 1950’s. As it grew, Medina graduated from “township” status to become a “village” in 1955; it incorporated as a City in 1974.

Now Medina is a prosperous, suburban edge City and, as its population rises past 6,000, its residents are eager to preserve its rural heritage.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.00 square miles (69.93 km2), of which 25.45 square miles (65.92 km2) is land and 1.55 square miles (4.01 km2) is water. Minnesota State Highway 55 serves as the main route. Other routes include County Roads 19 and 24. The city of Loretto is completely enclaved by the city of Medina; Loretto is located in the northwestern corner of Medina.

Notable People

  • Brian Burke – former National Hockey League general manager and executive
  • Caden Clark – professional soccer player for RB Leipzig
  • Steve Hutchinson – retired, all-pro guard for the Minnesota Vikings
  • Corey Koskie – retired, former Major League Baseball third baseman
  • Greg LeMond – former Cycling World Champion and three-time Tour de France winning bicycle racer. LeMond is the only American to ever win the Tour de France.
  • John Randle – retired, Hall of Fame NFL player
  • Flip Saunders – former NBA basketball head coach, and former President of Basketball Operations
  • Ryan Saunders – NBA head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Carlos Silva – professional Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Karen Philipp – American singer and actress
  • Karl-Anthony Towns – Player for the Minnesota Timberwolves


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“History of the City of Medina” │

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