History of Maplewood

The history of Maplewood goes back about 150 years. Before settlers arrived, the land in Maplewood was inhabited by the Dakota Indians. The landscape was a mix of scrub oak and prairie, with many marshes and lakes. In 1850, a group of families ventured out from Street Paul along an old Indian trail which is now Hazelwood Street. They were the Bells, Caseys, Conlins, and Vincents. At today’s County Road C they turned to the east and began to build their log cabins. The sound of their axes alerted the nearby Dakota who quickly surrounded the homesteaders. The Dakota asked them to leave and the newcomers quickly retraced their steps. The settlers made repeated attempts to claim the land they had bought for 2 dollars an acre. But again and again they were driven back. Finally, in 1853, they found that the Ojibway had pushed the Dakota out of the area. The Ojibway just wanted to hunt on the land and they didn’t mind the clearing of trees. At about this same time southern Maplewood was being settled as well. In 1852, Thomas Carver began farming to the west of Carver Lake. This area, the south leg of Maplewood, later became McLean township. Northern Maplewood was included in the township of New Canada in when it was formed in 1858.

First Organized Transportation
The first organized transportation in this area was a stagecoach line that was along present day Edgerton Street. This line began in 1856, and it cost 10 dollars for the trip from St. Paul to Duluth. This stagecoach line remained in service until the first railroad was built to Duluth in 1870. This was the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad and followed the Vento Trail. By the 1880’s the line was owned by the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. This owner would play a big part in Maplewood’s development. In 1886, the Wisconsin Central Railroad built a line that intersected with the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. A townsite was planned at the junction of these 2 railroads that was predicted to “rival St. Paul.” William and Mary Dawson platted out a town and decided to name the place “Gladstone” after William Gladstone, a popular British statesman of the time. Dawson planned to relocate his plow work business there and was able to entice the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad to put its shops in Gladstone. For a time, the little village prospered. In the 1890’s the town employed 1,000 workers. It had a post office, a hotel, at least 2 saloons, a brothel and a population of about 150.

Bruentrup Farm

courtesy of the Maplewood Area Historical Society