~ from rural community to suburban city ~
Long before suburban homes were built here, Richfield was characterized by its abundance of rich farmland (hence the name) as the Minneapolis and St. Paul area was beginning to grow.
In 1908, Richfield officially became a city by adopting a President/Trustee form of government. However, residents of Richfield held town meetings dating back to May 11, 1858 -- the date on which Congress
admitted Minnesota into the Union.
Richfield experienced a population boom following World War II. As a first-ring
suburb to Minneapolis, Richfield quickly became a popular home for returning
war veterans in the late 1940s and 1950s. In fact, statistics show that from 1940
to 1960, Richfield's population grew from under 10,000 to 42,500.
The City's population topped out at nearly 50,000 in 1970. However, airport expansion, highway expansion, and changing borders resulted in Richfield's population leveling off at around 35,000.
Richfield's borders once extended north to Lake Street in Minneapolis, west to
highway 169 in Edina, east to the Mississippi River, and south to Interstate 494.
Three annexations by Minneapolis brought Richfield's north border to 62nd Street.
In 1888, Edina formed a separate community.
In 1905, Fort Snelling forced Richfield's border to 34th Avenue. In 1941, another section of east Richfield went to the airport and by 1955 all of the Wold Chamberlain Field (municipal airport) was separated from the village.
From 1908 until 1950, Richfield's local government consisted of a President,
three trustees, and a clerk. On November 7, 1950 residents voted for a village
manager form of government, meaning the City had a Mayor, four council members, and one City Manager. This is still the form of government used today. Richfield's first Mayor was Clarence Christian who began serving in 1951 but served as President under the old format dating back to 1948.
Today, Richfield has a population of about 35,000 residents who live within seven square miles of neighborhoods, parks and shops. In order to remain vital, the community is focusing on commercial and residential redevelopment, taking advantage of its location near major freeways.
Even lying as it does in the middle of an urban area (only ten minutes away by
freeway from downtown Minneapolis), Richfield retains a small town flavor. The pace is easy, the streets are clean, City government is accessible, and community spirit runs high. Strong residential neighborhoods, an excellent public school system, an established infrastructure and amenities like Wood Lake Nature Center make it a community attractive
to all ages.
Named for the fertile farmland that once occupied the area.
Borders: Airport (east), 494 (south), 62 (north), and Xerxes Ave. (west). Interstate 35W cuts through Richfield.
7 sq. miles
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Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre nature preserve and one of the first municipal nature centers in Minnesota.
Streets 142 mi.
Sidewalks 40 mi.
Water System 122 mi.
Sanitary Sewer 120 mi.
Visit http://www.richfieldhistory.org for additional information on Richfield's history.