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Bloomington history

(From Bloomington on the Minnesota, edited by Judith A. Hendricks, 1976)

1800s

1843

  • Gideon Pond established Oak Grove Mission. Peter and Louisa Quinn - first European settlers - built cabin near 10th Avenue Circle. Quinns taught farming methods to Dakota Indians. Learn more about the Dakota Indians and Missionaries.

1851

  • ​Territory west of Mississippi, including Bloomington, opened to settlers.

1855

  • First public school organized. Met in Harrison home.

1856

  • ​Gideon Pond House built on Minnesota River bluffs.

1858

  • Town of Bloomington organizational meeting on May 11. The 25 organizers approved a $100 budget. 
  • Minnesota became a state.

1859 

  • First schoolhouse built near France Avenue and Old Shakopee Road.

1860

  • 39 votes cast in favor of levying $50 for town expenses and purchase of a road scraper.

1861 

  • Residents vote to let horse and cattle run at-large during the summer.

1864 

  • Ground set aside for town cemetery.

1900 - 1939 

1900

  • ​ Six rural schools with over 200 students in grades 1 - 8.
  • Population - 1,085.
  • Per capital vehicle travel - 500 miles/year.

1903

  • First telephone service installed.

1913

  • ​ Elmer Scott obtained a Ford automobile franchise and automobiles began to appear around town.

1915

  • ​ Dan Patch rail line extended to downtown Minneapolis for passenger and freight service.

1917

  • ​ Voters approved school consolidation.

1918

  • ​Seven one-room rural schools – Gibson (later renamed Palmer), Bush Lake, Bloomington Ferry, Poplar Bridge, Kell, Kimball and Cates – consolidated into School District 142.
  • Bloomington Consolidated School was built to receive students, grades 1 - 12, from these seven schools.
  • Beginning of secondary education and school bus transportation.

1920

  • Population - 1,330.

1930

  • ​ Population - 2,645.

1940s

1940

  • Population - 3,647.

1945

  • School enrollment was 700.

1947

  • Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department established with 25 members. Fire Station #1 and equipment cost $24,000.

1949

  • School enrollment grew so fast that split schedule adopted for grades 1 and 2. 

1950s

1950

  • Population - 9,902.
  • First elementary school built - Cedarcrest.

1952

  • Toro Manufacturing Company moved to Bloomington.
  • Chamber of Commerce organized as a booster club.

1953

  • Changed from township to village form of government.
  • Police Department formed at cost of $2 per taxpayer.
  • First traffic signal installed at "very dangerous" intersection of 98th Street and Lyndale Avenue.

1954

  • First park land acquired - Bush Lake Beach and Moir Park. Each village parcel assessed $1 for acquisition.
  • First edition of the Bloomington Sun; first letter to the editor about drive-in theater.

1955

  • Population - 28,934.
  • 85 businesses.

1956

  • First City Land Use Plan.
  • $8.5 million Metropolitan Stadium built. Opened in April to a record crowd of 18,366 for a Triple-A Minneapolis vs. Wichita baseball game.
  • Bush Lake Beach constructed.

1957

  • Lincoln High School built.

1958

  • Village government changed to council-manager form.
  • Septic system contaminated wells - central sewer and water system needed costing over $20,000,000.
  • Ordinance passed requiring residential subdivisions to make 10 percent park dedication.
  • Council adopted policy of encouraging commercial/ industrial development, low-cost housing and shopping centers.
  • The Police and Fire Departments began using 24-hour dispatching system.

1959

  • Voters approved $8,800,000 waterworks and distribution system bond. City debt jumped to 25 percent of assessed value.
  • A dedication ceremony for I-35W was held on April 17 at the intersection of 86th Street and I-35W. It was attended by the mayors of Bloomington, Richfield and Minneapolis.
  • The Fire Department had 46 members. A garage was converted into Fire Station #2.

1960s

1960

  • Population - 50,498.
  • Overall real estate market value - $270 million.
  • Typical Bloomington home's market value - $19,000.
  • 95 full-time City employees.
  • City received All-American City Award.
  • Ward's Southtown built.
  • I-494 completed from CSAH 18 to airport.
  • I-35W completed through city and over the Minnesota River, stopping at MN-13. Local residents called the massive new I-35W bridge "the bridge to nowhere."
  • November 8: Voters approved home rule charter on third attempt.
  • December 8: The home rule charter, approved by voters a month earlier, went into effect, turning the Village of Bloomington into the City of Bloomington.

1961

  • Control Data Corporation, Donaldson, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Company moved to Bloomington.
  • Chamber hosted breakfast for 160 new teachers and hired first full-time staff member.
  • City attempted to annex NSP power plant and Burnsville.
  • First Twins game on April 21 (Twins 3, Washington 5).
  • First regular season Vikings game on September 17 (Vikings 37, Chicago Bears 13).

1962

  • Voters approved "on-sale" liquor licenses.

1964

  • First half of City Hall constructed.

1965

  • Kennedy High School built.
  • 200 full-time City employees.

1967

  • Met Sports Center built.
  • New Fire Station #2 and Fire Station #3 built.

1968

  • Normandale Junior College opened with 1,358 students.
  • Last elementary school built - Normandale Hills.

1970s

1970

  • Population - 81,971.
  • 43,000 people employed in city.
  • Jefferson High School built.
  • Fire Station #4 built.
  • Bloomington Ice Garden Rink One built.

1971

  • City Council endorsed idea of a Convention Bureau and approved $35,000 funding.
  • School enrollment peak of 26,000 students.
  • Bloomington Fire Department has 105 men, 4 stations and 13 pieces of equipment.

1972

  • Control Data Tower built.
  • Reynolds Park water tower built.

1973

  • Norwest Financial Center built.
  • 2,470 acres of parkland in City.
  • Per capita auto travel - 8,000 miles/year.

1974

  • Overall real estate market value - $900 million.
  • Water treatment plant completed.
  • Voters approved $6,300,000 bonds for buildings and parks.
  • City Hall expanded.
  • Normandale Community College renamed to reflect expanded courses of study.
  • Creekside converted from elementary school to senior center.
  • After six-hour meeting, Council approved women as firefighters.

1975

  • Typical Bloomington home's market value - $43,700.
  • 385 full-time City employees.
  • Fire Station #5 built.
  • Bloomington Ice Garden's Rink #2 built.

1979

  • Fire Station #6 built at a cost of $210,000.

1980s

1980

  • Population - 81,831.
  • 54,000 people employed in city.

1981

  • Last baseball game at Met Stadium (Twins 2, Kansas City 5).

1982

  • Lincoln High School closed.
  • Normandale Office Park constructed -- first of four office buildings.

1983

  • Overall real estate market value rises to $2.8 billion.
  • HRA and Council approved Oxboro Redevelopment plan.
  • Normandale College expanded community services and continuing education.
  • Neighborhood Watch Program begins.

1984

  • Trammel Crow built 8500 Tower.
  • City's first female firefighter, Ann Majerus.

1985

  • Port Authority purchased 86-acre Met Stadium site.
  • 460 full-time City employees.
  • Elementary enrollment started to grow again.
  • BFD has 132 active members and a class 3 fire insurance rating.

1987

  • Port Authority approved first site plans for Mall of America.
  • 1,800 residential permits (worth $9 million) for additions and remodeling issued.
  • First issue of City newsletter, Bloomington News, published in July.

1989

  • Overall real estate market value - $4.3 billion.
  • 7,850 acres of parkland in city.
  • Mall of America groundbreaking.
  • 9,300 enrolled at Normandale College.

1990s

1990

  • Population - 86,355.
  • Median age - 33 years.
  • Typical Bloomington home's market value - $100,400.
  • 70,000 people employed in Bloomington.
  • 11,376 students enrolled in Bloomington schools.
  • Referendum to improve Municipal Building fails.

1991

  • Ordinance prohibiting sale of tobacco products by vending machines passed.
  • TH77 (Cedar Avenue) improvements completed.
  • BE-Line neighborhood circulator bus service began.
  • With over 100 deer per square mile (recommended 25 per square mile), Deer Management Program launched.
  • Average home value in Bloomington is $90,000.

1992

  • Mall of America opened.
  • Bloomington and Izumi City, Japan, started Sister City Partnership.

1993

  • Computerized Pavement Management Program for sealcoating, overlaying and reconstructing streets began.
  • South Hennepin Household Hazardous Waste Center opened.
  • Police Bicycle Patrol Unit formed.
  • Bloomington Ice Garden built Olympic-size rink (#3).
  • New Fire Station #1 at 95th Street and Nicollet Avenue.
  • Door-to-door Smoke Detector Inspection program started.

1994

  • Met Sports Center demolished December 13.
  • Recreational Vehicle Ordinance regulating storage and parking of RVs begins.
  • Community Enhancement Program began with home improvement activities in two neighborhoods of 1,000 homes.
  • Smoke-free Restaurant Recognition Program began.
  • 79th/80th Street Ring Route Project started.
  • City's Web site went online in March with under 200 files.

1995

  • Overall real estate market value - $5.1 billion.
  • Time-of-Sale Inspections began.
  • First River Rendezvous held at Pond-Dakota Mission Park.
  • One third of city's eateries smoke-free.
  • County Road 18 over Minnesota River completed.
  • City's bond rating upgraded with Moody's from Aa to Aa1, with Standard and Poors from AA to AA+.
  • Real estate market value reached $5.18 billion.

1996

  • Extension to existing airport runway 4-22 completed.
  • Bush Lake Beach facilities rebuilt.
  • Underwater World aquarium at Mall of America opened.
  • Sign ordinance enacted.
  • City of Bloomington Internet site went on-line.

1997

  • Gideon Pond House renovation completed.
  • Volunteer, 145-person Bloomington Fire Department turned 50 years old.
  • Bloomington Ice Garden rinks renovated.

1998

  • Population - 88,375.
  • 98,300 people employed in Bloomington. Largest employer was Mall of America (13,000 people).
  • Galaxy Youth Center opened.
  • Eight neighborhoods participated in the Community Enhancement Program.
  • Systematic Inspection Program for nuisance complaints expanded to cover entire city.
  • Major May 30 storm cost $1.2 million for cleanup with 10,000 truck loads of debris.
  • Permits reached record 26,600 for total value of $240 million.
  • Citywide Curbside Cleanup Program began, collecting 2,427 tons of trash, 572 yards of brush and 3,643 appliances in the first year.
  • Neighborhood Watch Program involved 306 Bloomington neighborhoods.
  • Light Rail Transit from Downtown Minneapolis proposed to end at Mall of America.
  • City awarded top Aaa bond rating from Moody's.

1999

  • 500 full-time City employees, 300-400 seasonal workers.
  • Reconstruction of South Parallel Runway at airport completed.
  • First Bloomington Clean Water Festival celebrated.

2000s

2000

  • Population - 85,172.
  • Median age - 40.1 years.
  • 106,993 people employed in Bloomington.
  • Special $7.2 million bond for a center for the arts approved.
  • City received highest bond ratings - AAA from Standard & Poor's; Aaa from Moody's.
  • The City's Communications Division became one of the first in the nation to provide online webcasts of City Council and other meetings.

2001

  • Overall real estate market value - $7.8 billion.
  • Normandale Bandshell opened at Summer Fete on July 3.
  • Mall of America Police Station opened.
  • Groundbreaking held for new Police/City Hall/Art Center in October.

2002

  • Metropolitan Airports Commission and Mall of American swap land to make way for Phase II of Mall development.
  • Ring Route streets, an alternate route to I-494, renamed American Boulevard.
  • New $8.5 million Public Works facility added 88,340 square feet of vehicle equipment storage, repair garage and office space.
  • New $3.6 million Bloomington Family Aquatics Center opened.
  • Water Treatment Plant's $14.9 million renovation completed.
  • Smith Park renovation completed.
  • Mall of America celebrated 10th year with annual sales of $900 million, producing $900,000 in revenue for City.
  • After 35 years of white vehicles, Police cars went retro with black-and-white models.

2003

  • The 44,000 square-foot Bloomington Civic Plaza completed within its $38 million budget.
  • Southwest Metropolitan Joint Public Safety Training Center opened.
  • Sister City Organization celebrated 10 years.
  • Penn Avenue and I-494 bridge completed.
  • City's website tops 2.5 million page views per year, up from 1.9 million the year before.
  • Interactive GIS maps added to the website.

2004

  • City started String of Pearls redevelopment projects.
  • Oxboro Library renovation completed.
  • IKEA retailer opened first part of Mall of America Phase II.
  • Construction of American Boulevard bridge over I-35W began.
  • Hiawatha Light Rail line service opened, offering transportation between Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis.
  • 313 neighborhoods participated in National Night Out; Bloomington was 8th best in nation among cities with populations from 50,000 to 99,999.
  • Bloomington received triple-A bond rating from Fitch, one of only 20 cities out of 87,000 local governments in the U.S. to achieve triple-A ratings from all three bond rating agencies.
  • In the General Election, Bloomington experienced a record turnout of 85.3 percent of the city's registered voters.

2005

  • Population - 84,347.
  • Overall real estate market value - $10.3 billion. Values doubled in 10 years.
  • Typical Bloomington home's market value - $231,200.
  • New north/south runway opened in October.
  • I-35W and I-494 interchange had highest rate of crashes on I-494/I-694 beltway. (432 crashes since 2002.)
  • Lyle Berg Bridge over I-35W, last link in American Boulevard beltway, completed. Costing $12.5 million, the bridge is 387 feet long.

2006

  • First phase of McGough's Bloomington Central Station -- Reflections -- completed. Transit-oriented development project encompassed 43 acres.
  • New housing built at a rate comparable to fast-growing suburbs with more than 1,000 housing units on drawing board.
  • Bloomington's number one industry -- hospitality -- picked up after 9/11 slump. Employed more than 20,000 with 10,000 visitors each day.
  • Bush Lake, rated one of the 10 best metro area lakes in a field of 186, earned an A for water quality from the Metropolitan Council.

2007

  • Bloomington Farmers Market debuted at the Civic Plaza's east parking lot.
  • A redesigned Bloomington website was unveiled in April.
  • 1.6-acre urban park at the center of Bloomington Central Station opened in June.
  • 2,500 Square-foot mural by Erik Pearson completed on Bloomington Civic Plaza's exterior flyloft.
  • 115-Year old Old Town Hall exterior renovation completed.
  • Bloomington Ice Garden's 37-year-old original rink number one, which seats 1,800, was reconstructed.
  • Severe August 11 storm had Public Works crews picking up and recycling more than 7,000 truckloads of storm-damaged trees and brush.
  • Online Program Services was launched, enabling online registration for Parks and Recreation programs.

2008

  • Bloomington celebrated its Sesquicentennial with a yearlong series of events.
  • Ask the City, online question and request management service, launched in January.
  • Public school enrollment - 10,368, with four colleges, 10 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools and seven parochial schools.
  • City boasted 97 parks, 93 ballfields and 55 playgrounds.
  • First annual Global Celebration took place at the Farmers Market, Bloomington Civic Plaza.

2009

  • Alternative Transportation Plan implemented, encouraging walking, biking and other alternative modes of transportation.
  • Medallion celebrating Bloomington's sesquicentennial included in a Minnesota time capsule to be opened during the state's 200th birthday in 2058.
  • E-Subscribe launched, offering residents the opportunity to subscribe to alerts and program updates via email and text messaging.
  • Lyndale Avenue bridge reopened to provide additional traffic capacity and safety improvements along Lyndale Avenue and I-494.
  • Entrance signs, pedestrian information kiosks and transit stop signs installed in Normandale Lake District.

2010s

2010

  • Population - 84,057.
  • Median age - 42.7 years.
  • 91,500 people employed in Bloomington.
  • American Boulevard LRT station opened at 34th Avenue, becoming the 19th station on the Hiawatha LRT line.
  • South Loop District (formerly Airport South) planning efforts began. District renamed to help brand the district's confluence of airport, Mall of America, highways and wildlife refuge.
  • Bloomington Public Health became lead agency for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) in Bloomington, Edina and Richfield, to enhance health and wellness.
  • Rain gardens installed in public areas, and pervious pavement parking lots added at Harrison Park and the Public Works building, in support of sustainability.
  • City added four miles of bike lanes and installed 19 bike racks.
  • Website added volunteer management and online job application services. (The latter service was limited at the time to Parks and Recreation jobs.)
  • Website received over 12 million page views during the year.

2011

  • Bloomington's Facebook page and Twitter account were launched at the start of the year.
  • TH 169/I-494 interchange construction began, to improve safety and traffic flow and reduce congestion.
  • Developers broke ground at Genesee, a mixed-use retail and residential development on the southeast corner of Penn Avenue and American Boulevard.
  • 500-room Radisson Blu construction began. The hotel was the first to be connected to the Mall via skyway.
  • do.town initiative began promoting healthy living - a collaborative effort along with Edina, Richfield and Blue Cross Blue Shield MN.
  • Bike lanes were added to 86th Street.
  • A trail connecting East and West Bush Lake parks along the lake's southeast shore was completed. Nearly three miles of additional trails were reconstructed or paved.

2012

  • Bloomington Family Aquatic Center underwent extensive updates, including a new bathhouse and two new water slides.
  • Mall of America celebrated its 20th anniversary.
  • Online job application service expanded to include all of the City's job announcements.