june anderson

The timeline running the length of the east wall in the community room at the Anoka City Hall tells of many events occurring in the city of Anoka, happy and otherwise. For instance, we learn that in 1853 Orin W. Rice built the first bridge across the Rum River and that winter saw the opening of the first Anoka Post Office. During the school year of 1853-54 school was held in the Old Company Boarding House with Miss Julia Woodman instructing the children, and the first religious organization was a Methodist class organized in December, 1854. The first school house, the “Third Avenue School,” was built on Third Avenue South in 1955. The same year the first ferry was launched across the Mississippi at Anoka.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

On the lower level of Anoka City Hall, to the left of the staircase is a large community room, used for public gatherings. I first made its acquaintance when Anoka County Historical Society held one of its annual meetings there. As you enter, you see the windowed wall to the right overlooking a stretch of the Rum River that is bookended by the Rum River Dam to your right and the Main Street Bridge to your left. Running the length of the opposite wall is a timeline dating from 1682—long before Anoka was a city and Minnesota a state; when France lay claim to the vast territory west of the Mississippi that was formerly a possession of Spain, giving up its claim to England in 1763. England held it for the next 120 years or until the American Revolution when the Crown lost claim to all of its possessions in what had now become the United States of America. By 1783 this vast expanse of land had become known as “the Northwest Territory.”

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

Inscribed on the wall behind the receptionist’s desk at city hall are the words, “Anoka City Hall: A Gift to the City of Anoka from the Federal Cartridge Corporation. 1955.” On the landing of the stairwell as you walk from the first floor to the second is a bigger-than-life portrait of a handsome and distinguished looking man. Wearing a gray suit with vest, red tie, and matching carnation in his lapel, the commanding presence of this slightly balding man is accentuated by his waxed mustache.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

From May through Halloween my fellow docents from the Anoka County Historical Society and I guide brave and curious souls through the darkened streets of Anoka relating the history of the homes and places of business we encounter during our 1 mile walk — and speculating about some of the unexplained phenomenon that has occurred within those premises.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

Every year the Anoka Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honors a Woman in American History. She may be living or dead; a DAR member or not, famous or, as is often the case, a woman who doesn’t make the headlines, but works quietly behind the scenes making a positive difference in the lives of others.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

Every year the Anoka Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honors a Woman in American History. She may be living or dead; a DAR member or not, famous or, as is often the case, a woman who doesn’t make the headlines, but works quietly behind the scenes making a positive difference in the lives of others.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

One of the joys of writing this column for the Anoka County UnionHerald on behalf of the Anoka County Historical Society are the occasional calls I get from readers telling me they have a story of historical interest to share. One such call came from an Anoka resident, Ardy Hoogestraat, whose family had owned and lived in the Sandy Beach Hotel on Lake George. Before meeting with Ardy I consulted Roe Giddings Chase’s “little booklet” written in 1906 describing the cabins and resorts on that lake in Oak Grove.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

Probably the last remaining testament to St. Francis’s importance as a milling town was the starch factory located on the east bank of the Rum River and the south side of Bridge Street, where the Anoka County Highway Maintenance Building now stands. By the late thirties and early forties it was no longer in the business of converting potatoes into starch.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon
up arrow
up arrow