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Early Cultures

Timeline: The History of Bloomington Since 1750

There is evidence that the city of Bloomington has been occupied by humans for up to 14,000 years. The first inhabitants of the area were nomads who entered the area as the glaciers retreated. They used primitive stone weapons to hunt prey that included mammoth, mastodon and giant bison. During this period the River Warren, formed from melting glaciers, scoured out the Minnesota River Valley. It is so huge that its banks stretched from the bluffs of Bloomington to the bluffs of Burnsville. Between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago the ancient Indian tribe known as the Mound Builders founded the first permanent settlement in Bloomington in the area where 9 Mile Creek enters the Minnesota River. Between 1,000 and 300 years ago the "ancient village" area was occupied by the Oneota people from whom the Dakota are descended. From then until the early 1600s the Iowa tribe lived here. Around this time the Ojibway Indians started pushing the Dakota tribes south out of their traditional homes in the Northern Forests. Dakotas in turn pushed the Iowas south into, you guessed it, Iowa. Our time line begins during this period.

Can you guess when the following events in Bloomington history occurred? Pick an item from the list and move down the timeline until you find the decade when you think the event occurred. Lift the flap covering a depiction of the events that actually occurred during that decade to see if you are right. If you guess wrong move up or down the timeline until you find the right decade.

The Great Dakota War Chief Wabasha moves his people from Mille Lacs to the Ancient Village in Bloomington.

Chief Penasha of the Ancient Village cedes the Fort Snelling area to the __

Chief Cloudman moves his Dakota village from Lake Calhoun to the Oak Grove area of Bloomington after skirmishes with the Ojibway.

The firt white man settles in Bloomington (Peter Quinn).

Gideon Pond establishes his mission near Oak Grove in Bloomington.

The Dakota cede Bloomington (and the rest of Minnesota to the __

Bloomington is opened for white settlement.

The first Bloomington government is formed.

The Bloomington Ferry is established to link Bloomington and Shakopee.

The first Bloomington Ferry Bridge is built across the Minnesota River.

The first Bloomington Town Hall is built (it's still standing across from City Hall).

The first telephone service is established in Bloomington.

Bloomington becomes a "village" (You'll never believe the answer to this one!)

Bloomington becomes a "city" (This one either!)

Bloomington is named an "All American City.

I-35W is completed through Bloomington.

1-494 is completed through Bloomington.

Metropolitan Stadium is built in Bloomington.

Metropolitan Stadium is demolished.

The Met Center is built in Bloomington.

·        The Mall of America is completed


Good luck and Have Fun!!



A Brief History of Bloomington

From Then 'Til Now


 ~~ Before accounts were written, Native American people inhabited the land soon to be  known as Minnesota.  Their burial mounds indicate a long period of occupation.  Later Indian peoples, traveling on foot, horse, and by travois from season to season, lived out their years within separate tribal units sustained by hunting the wild game - animals, birds and fish - and by harvesting fruits and seeds they planted for food, clothing and even their lodges or tepees.  They interacted with other tribes, either in war with enemies or as friends in summer games on the prairie.  Their heritage was passed down through an oral tradition as they huddled around their fires during the long, cold winters.


~~ Before the white man came, Bloomington was called I-cha-hta-ka (to touch, or where the water touches the banks) by the Dakota people.  Much of this area was regarded as sacred ground by the Indians.  It was referred to as Ta-ku-wa-kan Ti-pi, dwelling place of the gods.


~~ At least three different Native American tribes made   their     homes    in Bloomington before the white man arrived.  After the ancients, the Iowa were the first to leave, pushed south by the Dakota (Sioux), who were driven south and west by the Anishinabe (Ojibwa/ Chippewa).  The Dakota and the Ojibwa were mortal enemies.


~~ There were other ancient tribes who populated the area, but from the late sixteenth century on, the Dakota people inhabited the land.  Evidence of the ancient inhabitants can be seen with the many Indian burial mounds which dot the bluffs along the Minnesota River.


~~ In 1805 the Dakotas signed the first land treaty of soon-to-be Minnesota with Zebulon Pike.  In 1820 the cornerstone was laid for the construction of Fort Snelling.  These events symbolized the Indian people's loss of control of the lands.


~~ Before Bloomington was established, the area was prairie and wooded bluffs above the river which the Indians called the Mi-ni-so-ta.  It was land that was near Fort Snelling.


~~  Peter Quinn, an Irish immigrant, was the first recorded white settler, building his cabin here in 1842.  He was followed closely by the Pond brothers, who established the Oak Grove Mission in 1843.  Thirteen years later in 1856, the Reverend Gideon Pond built his brick home, which still stands on about 105th Street and Third Avenue South.


~~  When Minnesota became a territory in 1849, Gideon Pond and Martin McLeod were among its first legislators.  With the signing of the treaty of 1851, the Indian peoples were sent to live on reservations, dismantling their villages.  In 1854 the land was surveyed by the government for official non-Indian settlement and preemption.  A year later, the first public school session was held.


~~  In 1858 the name, "Bloomington," was first used.  A group of settlers from Bloomington, Illinois, came up the river, saw much of what we see today along the Minnesota river banks, and decided to stay.  And why not call it "Bloomington on the Minnesota?"


~~  Bloomington didn't just happen, nor was it created by the marketing staff of some major developer. Commerce, trade, and people were here long before Minnesota became a state, Bloomington was named  such the same year and day that the state claimed its star upon the national flag - May 11, 1858.


Agrarian Period - A Brief History (continued)


~~  Between 1858 and 1900, Bloomington grad-ually settled, its families rearing children and intermingling with each other.  Bloomington was developing as a true agricultural community with its roots sinking deep in the rich soil.


Post-War Period


~~  The post-war years hit Bloomington like a whirlwind.  There didn't ever seem to be enough of the two- or three- bedroom rambler homes, paved streets, or schools to serve all the people who wanted to live here.  Master planning strategies solved many a crisis, keeping needed services such as water and sewer lines in balance with the city's growth and its desire to maintain and achieve and enviable lifestyle with its many parks and lakes.  Two major highways, I-35W and I-494, slashed through the community, flanked by further commercial and industrial growth.  Bloomington proudly accepted its All-American City status in 1961.  The people lived mainly in single family dwellings and avidly enjoyed being entertained by a new phenomena, television.  They took Sunday drives to view the country living they could no longer claim as their own now that they had survived the population explosion.  Bloomington numbered over 50,000 people.


~~  The boom years continued for the period from 1961 to 1978.  More schools were built until a peak enrollment of 26,000 students was reached in 1971.  Normandale Com-munity College. construc-ted in 1968, extended educational opportunities further.  Civic organiza-tions developed and thrived, libraries were built for a prosperous active community which now constructed ever larger homes.  Commercial and industrial growth kept pace with a population approaching 82,000.


~~  Sports fans flocked to the games held at Metropolitan Stadium and the Met Sports Center, both built in the former farmlands of East Bloomington. Bloomington was the home of the Minnesota Twins professional baseball team, the Minnesota Vikings National Football League entry, and the Minnesota Kicks pro-fessional soccer team, as well as three errant tries at professional basketball.


~~ From the late 1970's through the present, the city has matured and aged.  Declining school enrollment required solutions for the use of now-vacant school buildings.  In 1981 the major sports teams began an exodus from Bloomington    with      the closing   and   subsequent demolition  of Metropolitan Stadium.  The city was no longer the home of professional baseball, football and soccer.  The National Hockey League team, the Minnesota North Stars, remained in the city until 1993 when they moved to Dallas, Texas.


~~  The demise of major league sports in the city made way for the de-velopment of the largest shopping center in the , the Mall of America.  The "megamall" is built on the vacated sports complex land.  Housing a theme park under its roof, this gargantuan shopping and entertainment complex has a world-wide rep-utation after only one year.


~~  With maturity also came the ability to branch out.  High-rise buildings raised the skyline at the same time that the wildlife refuges husbanded the river bluffs and valley below.  The arts developed broadly to enhance a high quality of living, including a symphony orchestra, the Medalist Band, an art center and gallery, and choral groups.  An historical museum honors the community's past as it looks toward the future and development of the Gideon Pond Farmstead and Heritage Center.  Bloomington's History Clock Tower, an imposing fifty-three foot structure located at approximately Lyndale Avenue and Old Shakopee Road, reminds one and all of the proud heritage of the city.


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