If you look though old issues of the Blaine newspaper, around 1972, you’ll find that grass and peat fires kept the fire department hopping. Starting in May and continuing through the summer, almost every week’s issue lists at least one or two incidents. Oftentimes children were suspected of being the instigators. Before the northern suburbs filled in, there were lots of open spaces and low-lying bogs that provided tinder for these nuisance conflagrations. One such fire-prone area was a peaty expanse on the east side of University Avenue north of 109th Avenue. Today it’s the site of Park of the Four Seasons mobile home community, but prior to 1973 when Four Seasons opened, it was a good place for fires to start.
One day back in the ‘70s, when we were new to Blaine, my neighbor told me he was going downtown.
Every few years, a history buff writes some words for this newspaper about the old Anoka County town of Itasca (sometimes spelled Itaska). It was located on the Anoka side of the Mississippi River near the Sherburne County line. For a few years, in the middle of the nineteenth century, it looked like it might amount to something.
Anoka County was organized on May 23, 1857. At the same time, Manomin County was formed, comprising only 18 sections of land. Abram Fridley was the chairman of the county board. Because the county was so small, it was very difficult to provide the expected services. In 1870 Manomin County was annexed to Anoka County and became Manomin Township. It was later renamed Fridley Township in 1879.
When someone asks where you live, you respond with the name of your city. However, if you were to travel back in time this simple question becomes a lot more complex.
When Burns Township became the city of Nowthen, Linwood became the last remaining township in Anoka County. How does a township differ from a city? Neither population nor geographic size is significant. Rather a township has chosen a form of local government that does the same job as a city council, but works differently.
St. Francis is not the town it was at the turn of the twentieth century. Many factors contributed to its decline as it struggled to reach the midcentury mark. In the early 1900s the railroads were punching their way north.