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History of Falcon Heights

John Lindig at Farm, 1875 West Larpenteur

John Lindig at Lindig Farm, 1875 West Larpenteur. Year unknown.
 

The present City of Falcon Heights originally was contained within the boundaries of the old Rose Township, which also included the cities of Lauderdale and Roseville, as well as sections of St. Paul, Minneapolis and St. Anthony.

Settlement of the area began as early as 1843, six years before Minnesota became an official territory. Credit for the first settlement is generally granted to Stephen Desnoyer, who established his home on the banks of the Mississippi River near the present site of the Town and Country Golf Course. The family of Isaac Rose also settled in the area in 1843. Rose Township was named after Isaac Rose as a reward for his assistance in the federal land survey of 1850.

Soon to follow the Rose family in settlement was Heman Gibbs, who established his home on a land grant west of Cleveland Avenue, and north and south of Larpenteur. In his home, Gibbs established the first school in Rose Township, which was to remain in service until 1959, one of the longest periods of use in the state’s history. The original sod house built by Heman Gibbs is no longer standing, but the second house built for the family in 1854 still remains on the site. The Ramsey County Historical Society purchased the Gibbs’ farm in 1949, and operates it as a museum, while the homestead itself is listed on the National Register as a designated historical site.

Photo of Whaley residence

Idaho Avenue, late 1940s
 

In 1859, one year after Minnesota was granted Statehood, Rose Township organized a voting precinct, and with all 22 legal voters present, town officers were duly elected and taxes were levied for the coming year. Nearly half of the original Rose Township was absorbed by St. Paul in 1881. Of the remaining area, the first urban area to arise was Rosehill, now known as Lauderdale.

It was in the 1930’s that the area known as Falcon Heights received its name. The secretary of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M), John Cable, owned a larger parcel of land in the present City. Cable made plans to plat the area with his real estate agent, a gentleman named Faulkner, who named the development after himself. The land owned by Cable was bought by the Keller Corporations in 1936. They retained the name of the development, Falcon Heights, completed the platting, and constructed the first house in 1937.

Photo of old City Hall

Falcon Heights Fire Department at old station, 1644 Larpenteur
 

In the early 1940’s, retail business construction began in the area, with development centering on the intersection of Snelling and Larpenteur and on Hamline between Hoyt and Iowa.

With the incorporation of Roseville in 1948, and the continued development of the area, the residents were forced with a choice regarding the form of government they desired to serve their needs. On April 1, 1949, by a vote of 5 to 1, the citizens rejected petitioning either Roseville or St. Paul for annexation, and chose instead to establish their own independent village government. The incorporation of the Village of Falcon Heights brought in all of the remaining unincorporated areas of Rose Township, including the State Fairgrounds, University of Minnesota Campus Golf Course, and Test Fields. These public lands comprise two-thirds of the total land area in our City. In 1973 the State Legislature mandated the Village to become a City.

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