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Columbus City

Columbus City Hall is located at 16319 Kettle River Boulevard, Columbus, MN 55025; phone: 651-464-3120.

Formerly Columbus Township, the City of Columbus was incorporated in 2006.

Beginnings

The history of Columbus is influenced by both Native Americans and the European settlers that followed. Human settlement of areas within Columbus City can be traced back to the presence of the Hopewell tribe of Native Americans. Archeologists believe that the Hopewell tribe established extensive trading with tribes over the entire continent. Burial mounds are located around Howard Lake in the Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area. Three large mounds were discovered in 1889; and it was not until 1977 that an additional three smaller mounds were discovered. Each of these areas are designated and protected as historic sites by the Minnesota Historical Society. In addition, the Minnesota Historical Society believes that remnants of Native American settlements may exist along Kettle River Boulevard northeast of Howard Lake and along Rice Creek. The City supports archeological research prior to or in conjunction with any excavation or building in these areas.

Following European settlement, the City became a predominantly agricultural area, although less than half of the land area was suitable for crop cultivation due to extensive wetland areas. Activities included small farming operations, such as grass harvesting for the assembly of mats, poultry farming, and wild rice harvesting. Several historic farmsteads of European settlers are also located in the City, which include the Yost, Hans Hanson, J. T. Elwell, and Thurnbeck farms. The Anoka County Historical-Genealogical Society maintains files called Century Farms that include photographs, plat maps, crop information and other information related to historical farms.

The Township of Columbus was platted in 1856 and a Town organization was formed in 1857. Early settlers sought to develop a village center on the St. Paul-Kettle River Road, one of the earliest stage lines to be developed in the State. This site, known as "Boehm's Corner," contained a sawmill and hotel. Efforts to encourage the development of a village center met with no success. The Township lost a bid in the mid-1860's for the Anoka county seat and it was passed over as a potential route for the St.Paul-Duluth Railroad. The village center never materialized and, by 1879, the Township abandoned efforts to establish a village at that site.

A number of structures and building sites have had historic value for Columbus. The first public structure built in Columbus was a post office in 1858. The post office closed after plans for the Village of Columbus did not materialize. The first school house was built in 1866 in the northern part of Columbus. It was a log structure and provided facilities for instruction for three to four months per year. No remnants of these structures exist today.

Other structures in the City still remain. The Republic School, built in 1890, had a Grange Hall upstairs and a school downstairs. The Grange refers to a lodge or local branch of the "Patrons of Husbandry," an association for promoting the interests of agriculture. It is now a private residence located on Lake Drive. The old Town Hall was built in 1902 and the City inquired into the historical significance of the structure. However, due to extensive renovation over many years, the Minnesota Historical Society did not feel it had the historic value to warrant preservation.

  1. City of Columbus, Minnesota, Comprehensive Plan 2030, 2009, www.ci.columbus.mn.us, accessed August, 2015.
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