Bloomington history

It was in the spring of 1843, with snow still deep on the ground, that Gideon Pond built his log mission house in Oak Grove, which later became part of Bloomington. He came to administer to Cloudman's band which had settled there. Close by was the village of Karboka (the Drifter); the village of Pennesha, now under Chief Good Road, also was near.

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

1800s | 1900-1939 | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | More


Back to top

Gideon Pond photo Gideon Pond House photo Old Town Hall photo
Photos: Gideon Pond, 1810 - 1878; Gideon Pond House; Bloomington Town Hall, 1892.


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.


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


First public school organized. Met in Harrison home.


Gideon Pond House built on Minnesota River bluffs.


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

Minnesota became a state.


First schoolhouse built near France Avenue and Old Shakopee Road.


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


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


Ground set aside for town cemetery.


Population - 820.


First town hall built at Penn and Old Shakopee Road.

1900 - 1939

Back to top

Issues: Location of consolidated school; unwillingness to dissolve individual schools as social centers, when a small schoolhouse had been "good enough for the parents". Fear of mounting taxes.

Four St. Martin childen sitting in a car in front of their grainery Pahl's truck with crew in front.

Photos: St. Martin children, 1931; Pahl family's rhubarb truck, 1930


Six rural schools with over 200 students in grades 1 - 8.

Population - 1,085.

Per capital vehicle travel - 500 miles/year.


First telephone service installed.


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


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

Jack Stewart elected Town Constable and Fire Department.


Voters approved school consolidation.


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.


Population - 1,330.


Population - 2,645.


Back to top

Development vision: Low-cost, low-density housing, each with its own well and septic system.

New school and buses in a row. New fire department at work. Kid washing puppy in front of LP gas tank.

Photos: School and buses, 1945; Fire Department in action, 1947; washing the puppy, 1945.


Population - 3,647.


School enrollment was 700.


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


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


Back to top

Issues: Private liquor licenses. Professional approach to government with open Council meetings, land use plan and published budgets. Rapid growth replacing peaceful, small town atmosphere. Six new schools built.

Site of the Met Stadium with two guys pointing off camera A&W Comanche Drive-In opens Bloomington detectives showing confiscated loot--bottles of liquor.

Photos: Site of the Met Stadium, mid-1950s; A&W Comanche Drive-In opens at corner of 78th and Lyndale; Bloomington Police examine confiscated liquor, 1957.


Population - 9,902.

First elementary school built - Cedarcrest.


Toro Manufacturing Company moved to Bloomington.

Chamber of Commerce organized as a booster club.


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.


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.


Population - 28,934.

85 businesses.


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.


Lincoln High School built.


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.


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.


Back to top

Issues: Accelerated school growth - 21 new buildings opened. Business growth - city's slogan is "All the Business That Will Fit".

Bloomington Municipal Building Four kids in sport team clothes standing in the snow with a Bloomington All-American flag Detective and officer with suspect.

Photos: Bloomington Municipal Building, mid-1960s; Bloomington Athletic Association athletes celebrate All-American City award, 1960; armed robbery suspect, 1962.


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.


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).


Voters approved "on-sale" liquor licenses.


First half of City Hall constructed.


Kennedy High School built.

200 full-time City employees.


Met Sports Center built.

New Fire Station #2 and Fire Station #3 built.


Normandale Junior College opened with 1,358 students.

Last elementary school built - Normandale Hills.


Back to top

Issues: Extending 98th Street through Hyland Lake Park; leveling off of population growth; major parkland expansion.

Band at halftime in stadium. Man taking oath of office in Council chambers. Summer Fete 1978 two girls eating watermelon

Photos: Met Stadium, 1974; Council Chambers, 1974; Summer Fete, 1978.


Population - 81,971.

43,000 people employed in city.

Jefferson High School built.

Fire Station #4 built.

Bloomington Ice Garden Rink One built.


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.


Control Data Tower built.

Reynolds Park water tower built.


Norwest Financial Center built.

2,470 acres of parkland in City.

Per capita auto travel - 8,000 miles/year.


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.


Typical Bloomington home's market value - $43,700.

385 full-time City employees.

Fire Station #5 built.

Bloomington Ice Garden's Rink #2 built.


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


Back to top

Issues: Property taxes. Traffic. Redevelopment. Infrastructure investment. Environment. Education quality. School special levy referenda (4 succeed, 4 fail). Sixteen school closings (1 senior high, 3 junior high and 12 elementary).

Gideon Pond photo Gideon Pond photo Gideon Pond photo
Photos: BPD, 1983; Oxboro Shops, 1985; 8500 Tower, 1985.


Population - 81,831.

54,000 people employed in city.


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


Lincoln High School closed.

Normandale Office Park constructed -- first of four office buildings.


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.


Trammel Crow built 8500 Tower.

City's first female firefighter, Ann Majerus.


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.


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.


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.


Back to top

Issues: Inadequate and outdated municipal and park facilities. Redevelopment and enhancement of older, east Bloomington. Major transportation projects.

Site of the Met Stadium with two guys pointing off camera PMP resurfacing road. Girl in Japanese outfit with umbrella.

Photos: Mall of America, 1992; Pavement Management Program, 1995, Bloomington Sister City, 1990s.


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.


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.


Mall of America opened.

Bloomington and Izumi City, Japan, started Sister City Partnership.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Gideon Pond House renovation completed.

Volunteer, 145-person Bloomington Fire Department turned 50 years old.

Bloomington Ice Garden rinks renovated.


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.


500 full-time City employees, 300-400 seasonal workers.

Reconstruction of South Parallel Runway at airport completed.

First Bloomington Clean Water Festival celebrated.


Back to top

Issues: Aging municipal facilities and housing stock. Traffic congestion on both Interstate and neighborhood roads. Aging population.

Bloomington Civic Plaza west entrance Bloomington Central Station with two LRTs Bloomington Civic Plaza west entrance

Photos: Bloomington Civic Plaza, 2003; LRT trains at Bloomington Central Station (BCS), 2004; 263-unit condo project Reflections at BCS, 2007.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Back to top

Issues: Sustainable development. Aging infrastructure. Urban development and redevelopment. Population's demand for more opportunities for physical fitness and healthier transportation options.

Bloomington Civic Plaza west entrance

Photo: TH 169/I-494 interchange.


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.


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. 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.


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.


More history


Quality Services - Affordable Price