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Brooklyn Center History
The Summer of 1852
The area that would eventually become Brooklyn Center was not opened up to settlement until after the U.S. government signed the Sioux treaties of 1851 and 1852, opening up vast new lands west of the Mississippi River. In the summer of 1852, the first families began moving into this general area to clear land for farming and to build homes. Within three years, there was a considerable population.

Brooklyn Center was originally located in the southeastern portion of Brooklyn Township and in the northeastern section of Crystal Lake Township. The east-west town line was located on what is now 61st Avenue North. Brooklyn Township was created in 1858, the year of statehood, when most other Hennepin County townships were formed. Crystal Lake Township was formed in 1860 by taking two tiers of sections from Brooklyn and another two from Minneapolis Township. Both Brooklyn and Crystal Lake Townships were essentially agricultural settlements. The land in the entire area was rich and easily tillable. The proximity of the area to the rapidly growing City of Minneapolis led to the development of market gardening as the chief type of agriculture. Local life remained basically rural in nature until after World War II.

Local Political Activity
Most of the local political activity in this area of Hennepin County in the 1880s centered around the growth of the City of Minneapolis. This relentless push outward continued as the saw mills at St. Anthony Falls gave way to new industries, causing the old mills to be relocated upstream all the way to Camden Place. In 1886, following the movement of the mills, the boundary of Minneapolis was extended northward to the present location on what is now 53rd Avenue North. The ever-expanding city continued to cause fears of annexation in the market gardeners of the area.

In January 1911, the citizens of southeastern Brooklyn Township and eastern Crystal Lake Township took the first legal action for the creation of the Village of Brooklyn Center. On January 16, the county commissioners approved the necessary petition to incorporate the village. The election accomplishing this task was set for February 14, 1911, and was held at Earle Brown's garage at the old Martin Farm on the Hopper Road within the territory described in said petition. There were 83 votes cast, 69 in favor, 14 against. On February 18, 1911, the incorporation papers for the village were filed in the secretary of state's office. P.W. Reidhead was elected president of the Village Council in the first election held at Howe's Hall. This meeting place was located over the Brooklyn Store, which stood at what is now the southwest corner of 69th Avenue North and Brooklyn Boulevard. This intersection had long been known as the Brooklyn Center because in 1873, C.R. Howe had built a combination store / post office on the site and it had grown to be a center of local trade in Brooklyn Township.

Earle Brown
It should be noted that Earle Brown was the only grandson and heir to Captain John Martin, so to him had fallen the Martin farm and the fortune that his grandfather had amassed in his many endeavors, including banking, shipping, milling, railroading, and lumbering. Earle Brown willed his farm to the University of Minnesota in 1949 with the condition that he be allowed to live there until his death. Earle Brown passed away in 1963, willing to the University of Minnesota the 750 acres to what was to become the Brooklyn Center Industrial Park Inc. Village Council meetings continued to be held at Howe's Hall until the village constructed a building of its own. Elections were held in the hall until 1922, when they were transferred to the Earle Brown School. The creation of the Village of Brooklyn Center halted the northern growth of Minneapolis and allowed the market gardeners to ply their trade for many years before the phenomena of increased urbanization manifested in suburban growth.

There had been some land development after World War I that continued on through the depression-ridden 30s, but this was localized in the southeastern corner of Brooklyn Center. The market gardening economy continued until land value increased to a point that it was more lucrative to sell than to engage in agriculture. Citizens approved a City Charter in 1966, establishing a council-manager form of government. The council is comprised of a mayor, elected to a four-year term, and four councilmembers, elected at large to four-year terms. The annual budget of Brooklyn Center exceeds $8 million and provides for a 32-member police department, programming and maintenance of over 500 acres of public parks, the upkeep of 120 miles of city streets, a 37-member volunteer fire department, and administrative services.

The population has grown from 500 in 1911 to 4,300 in 1950; 24,356 in 1960; 31,230 in 1980; and approximately 28,810 in 1990. The city covers 8.5 square miles and features a large industrial park - which is currently under development by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers - as well as various service-oriented businesses. The city also has one of the largest shopping centers in the upper midwest and is located in the center of the city.