Forest Lake, Minnesota
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City of Forest Lake
"As Good As It Sounds"
Location of the city of Forest Lake
within Washington County, Minnesota
|• Total||35.53 sq mi (92.01 km2)|
|• Land||30.54 sq mi (79.09 km2)|
|• Water||4.99 sq mi (12.92 km2)|
|Elevation||912 ft (278 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||650.94/sq mi (251.33/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0643806|
|Website||City of Forest Lake|
Forest Lake is a city in Washington County, Minnesota, United States. It is 27 miles northeast of Saint Paul. The population was 18,375 at the 2010 census. The 2018 population is 20,220. It is on one of Minnesota's 100 largest lakes. The lake serves as the source of the Sunrise River.
Interstate 35 and U.S. Highways 8 and 61 are three of the main routes in the community.
Other main routes include County Road 2–Broadway Avenue. Interstate 35 splits into Interstate Highways 35E and 35W just south of Forest Lake in Columbus. The junction is commonly called the Forest Lake Split. The Forest Lake Split was the scene of the August 11, 2003 death of Herb Brooks, coach of the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team (Miracle on Ice).
- 1 History
- 2 Popular culture
- 3 Geography
- 4 Fishing
- 5 Media
- 6 Landmarks
- 7 Other places of interest
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Politics
- 10 Public schools
- 11 Notable people
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Forest Lake began as a stop on the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. The first train reached Forest Lake on December 23, 1868. The lake was so named for the abundant timber that lines its shores. Forest Lake Township was organized on March 11, 1874; the first one-room school was built that year at the former location of city hall (220 N. Lake Street). The city of Forest Lake was incorporated on July 11, 1893 with 175 residents. In 2001, the city annexed the surrounding former Forest Lake Township.
Forest Lake was known as one of the major summer resort areas of the upper Midwest in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The village had numerous hotels, including the Marsh Hotel, on North Shore Drive, which was host to U.S. President Grover Cleveland and future U.S. President William McKinley, as well as many world dignitaries. The steamship Germania sailed the Forest Lake chain of lakes in the late 1800s, and was a major tourist draw.
Minnesota's first Boy Scout troop was formed in Forest Lake in July 1910. It was one of the first officially chartered Boy Scout troops in the United States. In the spring of 1911 every scout in the Wolf Patrol achieved the rank of first-class, making this the first all first-class patrol in the country.
Brothers Eddie and Roy Shipstad, founders of the Ice Follies, the first touring ice skating show, were residents of Forest Lake for much of their lives. Many early Ice Follies skaters came from Forest Lake.
The original 1940s manufacturing site for the Toni Home Permanent was a former one-room schoolhouse located at Garen, Minnesota, off Highway 61, just south of Forest Lake. It was destroyed by fire in February 1951.
The Forest Lake City Marching Band, formed in 1981 by Forest Lake High School alumni Steve Hursh and Brian Tolzmann and directed by longtime Forest Lake High School director Rollin Nelson, was a seven-time state, six-time Midwest region and national champion open class band. The 1983 band was later named the nation's best open class band of the decade. Willard Scott, NBC television personality, once called the band "The best band I've ever seen" during a television broadcast.
The Forest Lake High School Marching Band performed in the 1987 and 1992 Pasadena Rose Parades, and the 1989 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was later disbanded, and returned in 2016 under the direction of Forest Lake High School alumnus and Southwest Junior High band teacher Jake Matheson.
A 1920 certified proof of U.S. currency, issued by First National Bank of Forest Lake, depicting William McKinley and Hugh McCulloch, is part of the collection at the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Forest Lake Split was seen in the original 1970 opening title sequence for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, when the "St. Paul to the left/Minneapolis to the right" sign was shown. Mary Tyler Moore Show writer Lorenzo Music, who grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, often traveled through Forest Lake, and thought a decision-making east/west sign would be ideal for the show's opening.
The Hitching Post Motel, one mile (1.6 km) north of downtown Forest Lake, was featured in the 1996 Coen brothers film Fargo. It substitutes for a motel set in Bismarck, North Dakota where William H. Macy's character, Jerry Lundegaard, is arrested by the police.
Portions of the 2012 film Best Man Down, starring Justin Long, Shelley Long, Tyler Labine, Addison Timlin and Jess Weixler, were filmed in Forest Lake early in 2011. One of these locations was the Forest Motel, near downtown Forest Lake.
Forest Lake is squarely bound between the north–south lines formed by Lyons Street NE and Keystone Avenue North, and the east–west lines formed by 240th Street North and 180th Street North. Interstate 35 and U.S. Highways 8 and 61 are three of the main routes in Forest Lake.
Other main routes include County Road 2–Broadway Avenue.
Forest Lake has a high population of northern pike, largemouth bass, walleye, and many pan fish (bluegill, crappie, and perch). It also holds muskie, while the numbers are relatively low, the average size is becoming quite large, making for a trophy fishery. The city formerly hosted an annual ice fishing tournament known as Fishapalooza. Forest Lake was known as the bass capital of Minnesota during the 1960s and 1970s, with the official Minnesota bass opener taking place at Forest Lake several times. The ice fishing contests held on Forest Lake in the mid-1990s were reported to be the largest in the country.
The first newspaper, The Enterprise, was printed in 1903. It was changed in 1907 to The Forest Lake Advertiser and later to The Forest Lake Times, in 1916, as it remains to this day. The Forest Lake Lowdown is another local paper.
- The Tin Man (the old Forest Lake water tower) was dismantled on November 9, 2006.
- Lakeside Park (Located on the northwest side of the lake.)
- Cedar Park, with its "Forest Dragon", installed in 2015.
- Just north of the Hitching Post Motel was the site of a Minnesota Highway Department historic marker which had this inscription: "Through this point from southeast to northwest extended the Indian Boundary as defined by the Prairie du Chien Treaty of 1825 as surveyed and marked by the government. To the south was Sioux country, to the north, Chippewa, but neither tribe paid much attention to the line."
- Forest Lake is home to Minnesota's biggest black ash tree, which stands near Sunrise Creek, on North Shore Drive. The tree, which has held the title since 1998, stands 65 feet (20 m) tall and has a 47-foot (14 m) crown spread.
- The Ballpark at Schumacher Field, located on one of the Independent School District 831 campuses, was named the 2016 Field of the Year for the state of Minnesota, and is one of eight 2016 finalists in the U.S. for High School Baseball Field of the Year.
Other places of interest
- Just outside Forest Lake is the Wildlife Science Center, an internationally-known research and education facility that studies numerous wildlife species, specializing in wolves, the Wildlife Science Center has the largest captive population of privately maintained wolves in the United States.
- Forest Lake is home to the 23,000 acres (93 km2) Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area. When it opened in 1938 it was said to have the most diverse wildlife population of any urban area of the United States.
- Forest Lake is home to St. Croix Forge, the largest horseshoe manufacturer in North America.
- Running Aces Harness Park is five miles (8 km) from downtown Forest Lake.
- Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area is located along Interstate 35, two miles (3 km) from downtown Forest Lake. This site is the oldest known Native American settlement in the state of Minnesota, containing Hopewell tradition culture burial grounds that are believed to date back more than 2,000 years.
- Acqua Restaurant, on the shores of Forest Lake, was named by users of OpenTable as being one of the top 100 scenic view restaurants in the U.S. between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Median household income for 2017 was $76,904. Average household income was $93,296. Per capita income was $35,334.
As of the census of 2010, there were 18,375 people, 7,014 households, and 5,044 families residing in the city. The population density was 601.3 inhabitants per square mile (232.2/km2). There were 7,508 housing units at an average density of 245.7 per square mile (94.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.7% White, 1.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.
There were 7,014 households of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.1% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age in the city was 37.4 years. 26.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.1% were from 25 to 44; 27.7% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.
Forest Lake is located in Minnesota's 6th congressional district.
- Mayor: Mara Bain
- Council: Kelly Monson, Sam Husnik, Kathy Bystrom, Paul Girard 
- City Administrator: Patrick Casey
- State Senator: Karin Housley
- State Representative: Bob Dettmer
- County Commissioner: Francis Miron
The Forest Lake Area school system includes 9 elementary sites, 1 junior highs site, and 1 high school site. In addition, an independent district – North Lakes Academy. There is also an area learning center located at the former Central Junior High School site.
Elementary schools (grades K–5)
- Central Montessori
- Columbus Elementary (K-6)
- Forest Lake
- Forest View
- Lakes International Language Academy
- Lino Lakes
- North Lakes Academy
- St. Peter's
Junior high schools (grades 6-8)
- Forest Lake Area Learning Center (ALC): grades 6 – 9
- Forest Lake Area Middle School: grades 7-8
- North Lakes Academy: grades 5-12
- Lakes international language academy(LILA): grades 6-8
High schools (grades 9–12)
- Forest Lake Area High School: grades 9–12
- Forest Lake Area Learning Center (ALC): grades 10 – 12
- North Lakes Academy grades 5–12
- Lakes International Language Academy: grades 9-12
- Robert Carothers, president of the University of Rhode Island, 1991-2009, was a resident of Forest Lake.
- Tim Robinson (psychology), professor, leading psychology researcher, raised in Forest Lake and is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
Arts and entertainment, journalists, writers
- Dan Andersson, Swedish author, poet and composer, lived in Forest Lake in 1902.
- John Caddy, poet and naturalist is a resident of Forest Lake.
- Carol Muske-Dukes, poet and novelist, grew up in Forest Lake.
- Douglas Harper, sociologist, author, photographer, is a resident of Forest Lake and graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Rich Matteson, jazz artist, educator, was born in Forest Lake.
- H. Keith Melton, author, is a resident of Forest Lake.
- Anni Rossi, is a singer, violist and keyboardist and recording artist on 4AD Records, and is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Christopher Sieber two-time Tony Award nominated actor (Spamalot and Shrek the Musical) is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Jordis Unga, is a rock singer, songwriter and performer (Rock Star: INXS and The Voice) who attended Forest Lake Area High School.
Politics and public service
- Elmer L. Andersen, 30th governor of Minnesota, was a resident of Forest Lake.
- James B. Bullard, chief executive officer and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, raised in Forest Lake and is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Arne Carlson, former Governor of Minnesota, is a former resident of Forest Lake.
- Pete Hegseth, Fox News Channel contributor, raised in Forest Lake and is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- William Rush Merriam, served as Governor of Minnesota from 1889 to 1893, was a summer resident of Forest Lake.
- Walter Mondale, former vice president of the United States, is a former resident of Forest Lake.
- Rebecca Otto, State Auditor of Minnesota, served on the Forest Lake School Board.
- T. Eugene Thompson, attorney, summer resident who hired a hit man to kill his wife in St. Paul, in a story that made front pages around the country in 1963.
- Bugs Moran, Chicago Prohibition-era gangster, who lost seven members of his gang in the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. Lived in Forest Lake off and on in the 1930s.
- Rick Bayless 1986 All-Big 10 and Minnesota Vikings running back is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Brandon Girtz, mixed martial artist, born and raised in Forest Lake and is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Bud Grant, Hall of Fame football coach, lived in Forest Lake in the 1950s, and played for Forest Lake's town baseball team.
- Nora Greenwald (aka Molly Holly), former WWE world champion pro wrestler, was born in Forest Lake and is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Adam Haayer, former Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals lineman, is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Hal Haskins, national champion college and professional basketball player, lived in Forest Lake and coached at Forest Lake Area High School.
- Dave Menne, former UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) middleweight champion, is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Dick Nesbitt, National Football League running back/television sportscaster, was a longtime resident of Forest Lake.
- Leif Nordgren, two-time Winter Olympic Games biathlon competitor, is a graduate of Forest Lake Area High School.
- Arron Oberholser, professional golfer, was a former resident.
- Brian Raabe, former major league baseball player, is a Forest Lake resident and coached at Forest Lake Area High School.
- Jack Trudeau former University of Illinois and Indianapolis Colts quarterback was born in Forest Lake in 1962.
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