A Brief History of Roseville
Before the Settlers
Roseville stands on land that was once home to the Dakota and Ojibwa Indians. The Dakota believed their land superior because it was located at the juncture of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, which they poetically claimed, was immediately over the center of the earth and beneath the center of heaven. Many years later in 1940, Ramsey County surveyors bolstered this claim when they placed a boulder on the spot they determined was exactly 1/2 the distance between the equator and the North Pole. That spot is on the east side of Cleveland Avenue, just north of Roselawn Avenue in Roseville.
The first non-Indians settled in the Roseville area in 1843, six years before Minnesota became a territory. In 1850 Rose Township was established, named after Isaac Rose, one of the first white settlers, who conducted the area survey. Rose Township included the areas now known as Roseville, Lauderdale, and Falcon Heights, as well as parts of present day St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Farms and nurseries dominated the area until the 1930s when commercial development arrived, attracted by the wide-open space, convenient location, and the railroad. At the same time, people began leaving the inner cities for the more spacious, less congested lifestyle of the suburbs.
By 1948 the township form of government could no longer accommodate the area’s rapid growth. Roseville incorporated as a village in May of 1948, followed by Falcon Heights and Lauderdale, and Rose Township ceased to exist.
A Commercial Hub
Roseville’s population and commercial development grew dramatically during the 1950s and 1960s. The city then turned its focus from planning to redevelopment and preservation. Today, Roseville is a mixed land use community with a strong residential base and vibrant retail. It has become the commercial hub of the northeastern metro area.
For more information visit the Roseville Historical Society website View the Heritage Trail map (PDF).
Also search for recent and historical photos in the Digital Content Library from the University of Minnesota.