Lakeville is a suburb 23 miles (37 km) south of downtown Minneapolis in Dakota County in the State of Minnesota. On the Twin Cities metropolitan area's southern fringe, Lakeville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. The U.S. Census Bureau recorded its population at 55,954 in 2010.
Lakeville's rapid growth can be credited to its location along Interstate Highway 35, which links the Twin Cities to undeveloped land south of the river. Lakeville first became notable in 1910 when Marion Savage built the Dan Patch Railroad Line to service his Antlers Amusement Park. It later became a flourishing milling center; its agriculture industry is still in operation. While many of Lakeville's workers commute northward to Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and more central suburbs like Bloomington, Lakeville has had major industry since the 1960s—including the Airlake Industrial Park, which is served by Airlake Airport, a regional reliever airport.
The Sioux people ceded most of southern Minnesota in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851. A military road was constructed between Fort Snelling and the southern forts. In 1855, J.J. Brackett, a Saint Paul lumber baron and mail carrier using the road, decided to plat a site halfway between Saint Paul and Saint Peter on a lake he named Prairie Lake. The village was established as Lakeville Township in 1858. Notoriety came when Colonel Marion Savage expanded his entertainment business into constructing Antlers Amusement Park in 1910. Riding on fame from his success with the Dan Patch racing horse and the popularity of the park, the lake was renamed Lake Marion, and the rail line servicing the park named the Dan Patch Railroad Line.
With the mostly rural landscape, early settlers were farmers and this owed to a high percentage of Scandinavians. The other group included Irish, Scots, and English who had spread out from Hamilton Landing and Burnsville. In Karen Miller's diary from 1840 to 1895, Danes reportedly outnumbered Norwegians and travel to Minneapolis was not uncommon for the rural township. Enggren's Grocery was a downtown staple since 1900 until it closed in 2006.
The later 20th century followed typically for the outer-ring suburban Twin Cities with official incorporation as the City of Lakeville in 1967. The agriculture industry continued to sustain itself as postwar development did not immediately absorb Lakeville (as well as Interstate 35's later completion date). In the early 21st century, housing and population increases were due to rising land costs in the metropolitan area, causing Lakeville to become a boomtown.
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