Main Births etc
Forest Lake, Minnesota
—  City  —

Nickname(s): FL
Motto: "As Good As It Sounds"
Location of the city of Forest Lake
within Washington County, Minnesota
Coordinates: 45°16′34″N 92°59′5″W / 45.27611, -92.98472
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Washington
 • Total 35.54 sq mi (92.05 km2)
 • Land 30.56 sq mi (79.15 km2)
 • Water 4.98 sq mi (12.90 km2)
Elevation 912 ft (278 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 18,375
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 18,957
 • Density 601.3/sq mi (232.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 55025
Area code(s) 651
FIPS code 27-21770[4]
GNIS feature ID 0643806[5]

Forest Lake is a city in Washington County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 18,375 at the 2010 census.[6] It is located on one of Minnesota's 100 largest lakes. The lake serves as the source of the Sunrise River.

Interstate 35 and U.S. Highways 8 and 61 are three of the main routes in the community.

Other main routes include County Road 2–Broadway Avenue. Interstate 35 splits into Interstate Highways 35E and 35W just south of Forest Lake in the nearby city of Columbus. The junction is commonly referred to as the Forest Lake Split.[7] The Forest Lake Split was the scene of the August 11, 2003 death of Herb Brooks, coach of the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team (Miracle on Ice).


Forest Lake began as a stop for the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. The first train reached Forest Lake on December 23, 1868. The lake was so named for the abundant timber that lines its shores. Forest Lake Township was organized on March 11, 1874; The first one-room school was built that same year, which stood at the present day location of city hall. The city of Forest Lake was incorporated on July 11, 1893 with 175 residents. In 2001, the city annexed the surrounding former Forest Lake Township.[8]

Forest Lake was known as one of the major summer resort areas of the upper Midwest in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The village had numerous hotels, including the Marsh Hotel, on North Shore Drive, which was host to U.S. President Grover Cleveland and future U.S. President William McKinley, as well as many world dignitaries. The steamship Germania sailed the Forest Lake chain of lakes in the late 1800s, and was a major tourist draw.

Forest Lake is the birthplace of Log Cabin Syrup. Grocer Patrick J. Towle, who founded the company, lived in Forest Lake at the time.

Minnesota's first Boy Scout troop was formed in Forest Lake in July 1910. This was one of the first officially chartered Boy Scout troops in the United States.

President William Howard Taft had Forest Lake as one of his final two choices for his 1911 summer residence.

Forest Lake was home to such gangsters as Ma Barker and Bugs Moran in the early 1930s. Barker lived in a cabin behind Lake Street, while Moran lived on North Shore Drive.[9]

Brothers Eddie and Roy Shipstad, founders of the Ice Follies, the first touring ice skating show, were residents of Forest Lake for much of their lives. Many early Ice Follies skaters came from Forest Lake.

The original 1940s manufacturing site for the Toni Home Permanent was a former one-room schoolhouse located at Garen, Minnesota, off Highway 61, just south of Forest Lake. It was destroyed by fire in February 1951.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Forest Lake was known as the turkey capital of the world. The official national Thanksgiving turkey for President Harry S. Truman at the White House came from Forest Lake in 1946 and 1948.

The world's first floating heliport was built in Forest Lake in 1956.

Forest Lake has been known as the 4th of July capital of Minnesota since the mid-1960s.

The Forest Lake Marching Band was rated in the top five high school bands in the United States twice in the 1960s.

Forest Lake was the site of the 1968 World Outboard Power Boat Racing Championship.

Forest Lake was the site of the 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972 U.S. International Snowmobile Championships.

Eighteen world speed records for snowmobiling were set in Forest Lake in 2013.

The Forest Lake City Marching Band, formed in 1981 by Forest Lake High School alumni Steve Hursh and Brian Tolzmann, and directed by long-time Forest Lake High School director Rollin Nelson, was a seven-time state, six time Midwest region and 1985 national champion open class band. Willard Scott, popular NBC television personality, called the band, "The best band he'd ever seen" during a 1985 broadcast.


Forest Lake is squarely bound between the north–south lines formed by Lyons Street NE and Keystone Avenue North, and the east–west lines formed by 240th Street North and 180th Street North. Interstate 35 and U.S. Highways 8 and 61 are three of the main routes in Forest Lake.

Other main routes include County Road 2–Broadway Avenue.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.54 square miles (92.05 km2); 30.56 square miles (79.15 km2) is land and 4.98 square miles (12.90 km2) is water.[1]


Forest Lake has a high population of northern pike, largemouth bass, walleye, and many pan fish (blugill, crappie, and perch). It also holds muskie, while the numbers are relatively low, the average size is becoming quite large, making for a trophy fishery. The city hosts an annual ice fishing tournament known as Fishapalooza.[10] Forest Lake was known as the bass capital of Minnesota during the 1960s and 1970s, with the official Minnesota bass opener taking place at Forest Lake several times. The ice fishing contests held on Forest Lake in the mid-1990s were reported to be the largest in the country.


The first newspaper, The Enterprise, was printed in 1903. It was changed in 1907 to The Forest Lake Advertiser and later to The Forest Lake Times, in 1916 as it remains to this day. The Forest Lake Lowdown is another local paper.

Pop culture references[]

A poem, titled "To The Aurora Borealis", written by world-renowned Indian yogi and guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, while visiting Forest Lake in 1927, appears in the book "Songs of the Soul".

An episode of actor Lee Marvin's television series, "The Lawbreakers", titled "The Minneapolis Story", was filmed in Forest Lake in November, 1963.

The Forest Lake Split was seen in the original 1970 opening title sequence for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, when the "St. Paul to the left/Minneapolis to the right" sign was shown. Mary Tyler Moore Show writer Lorenzo Music, who grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, often traveled through Forest Lake, and thought the idea of a decision-making east/west sign would be ideal for the show's opening.

One of the nine reported cases of a close encounter of the fourth kind in the U.S. for the year 1995 occurred in Forest Lake on August 19, 1995.

The Hitching Post Motel, one mile (1.6 km) north of downtown Forest Lake, was featured in the 1996 Coen brothers Academy Award-winning film Fargo. It substitutes for a motel set in Bismarck, North Dakota where William H. Macy's character, Jerry Lundegaard, is arrested by the police.

There is a scene in the 1999 motion picture, Drop Dead Gorgeous (film), (which is about a Minnesota beauty pageant), in which one character yells instructions to "Miss Forest Lake".

Scenes from the 2008 movie Killer Movie were filmed in Forest Lake.

Portions of the 2012 film, Best Man Down, starring Justin Long, Shelly Long, Tyler Labine, Addison Timlin and Jess Weixler were filmed in Forest Lake early in 2011. One of these shooting locations was at the Forest Motel, near downtown Forest Lake.


  • The Tin Man (the old Forest Lake water tower) was dismantled on November 9, 2006.
  • Lakeside Park (Located on the northwest side of the lake.)
  • Just north of the Hitching Post Motel was the site of a Minnesota Highway Department historic marker which had this inscription: "Through this point from southeast to northwest extended the Indian Boundary as defined by the Prairie du Chien Treaty of 1825 as surveyed and marked by the government. To the south was Sioux country, to the north, Chippewa, but neither tribe paid much attention to the line."
  • Forest Lake is home to Minnesota's biggest black ash tree, which stands near Sunrise Creek, on North Shore Drive. The tree, which has held the title since 1998, stands 65 feet (20 m) tall and has a 47-foot (14 m) crown spread.

Other places of interest[]

  • Just outside Forest Lake is the Wildlife Science Center, an internationally-known research and education facility that studies numerous wildlife species, specializing in wolves, the Wildlife Science Center has the largest captive population of privately maintained wolves in the United States.
  • Forest Lake is home to the 23,000 acres (93 km2) Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area. At the time of its creation the area was said to have the most diverse wildlife population of any urban area of the United States
  • Forest Lake is home to St. Croix Forge, the leading horseshoe manufacturer in North America.
  • Running Aces Harness Park is five miles (8 km) from downtown Forest Lake.
  • Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area is located along Interstate 35, two miles (3 km) from downtown Forest Lake. This site is the oldest known Native American settlement in the state of Minnesota, containing Hopewell tradition culture burial grounds that are believed to date back more than 2,000 years.
  • Acqua Restaurant, on the shores of Forest Lake, was named by users of OpenTable as being one of the top 100 scenic view restaurants in the U.S. between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
  • Forest Lake is home to Whistler Classic Soda, the only locally-bottled soda pop in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 241
1910 540 124.1%
1920 800 48.1%
1930 916 14.5%
1940 1,120 22.3%
1950 1,766 57.7%
1960 2,347 32.9%
1970 3,207 36.6%
1980 4,596 43.3%
1990 5,833 26.9%
2000 6,856 17.5%
2010 18,375 168.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

Median household income for 2014 was $71,039. Average household income was $86,579. Median family income was $80,208. Per capita income was $32,944.

2010 census[]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 18,375 people, 7,014 households, and 5,044 families residing in the city. The population density was 601.3 inhabitants per square mile (232.2 /km2). There were 7,508 housing units at an average density of 245.7 per square mile (94.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.7% White, 1.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 7,014 households of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.1% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 37.4 years. 26.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.1% were from 25 to 44; 27.7% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.


Forest Lake is located in Minnesota's 6th congressional district.

  • Mayor: Chris Johnson
  • Council: Jeff Klein, Mike Freer, Ben Winnick and Susan Young
  • City Administrator: Aaron Parrish
  • State Senator: Karin Housley
  • State Representative: Bob Dettmer
  • County Commissioner: Francis Miron

Public schools[]

The Forest Lake Area school system includes 9 elementary sites, 2 junior highs sites, and 1 high school site. In addition, an independent district – North Lakes Academy. There is also an area learning center located at the former Central Junior High School site.

Central Montessori, Columbus, Forest Lake, Forest View, Lino Lakes, Linwood, Scandia and Wyoming have all been named Minnesota Schools of Excellence.

Elementary schools (grades K–6)[]

  • Central Montessori
  • Columbus Elementary
  • Forest Lake
  • Forest View
  • Lakes International Language Academy
  • Lino Lakes
  • Linwood
  • North Lakes Academy
  • St. Peter's
  • Scandia
  • Wyoming

Junior high schools (grades 7–9)[]

  • Century Jr. High School: grades 7–9
  • Forest Lake Area Learning Center (ALC): grades 6 – 9
  • Southwest Jr. High School: grades 7–9
  • North Lakes Academy: grades 5–12

High schools (grades 10–12)[]

  • Forest Lake Area High School: grades 10–12
  • Forest Lake Area Learning Center (ALC): grades 10 – 12
  • North Lakes Academy grades 5–12

Notable residents[]

  • Rick Bayless 1986 All-Big 10 and Minnesota Vikings running back is a 1983 graduate of Forest Lake High School.
  • John Caddy, poet and naturalist is a resident of Forest Lake.
  • Arne Carlson, former Governor of Minnesota, is a former resident of Forest Lake.
  • Nora Greenwald (aka Molly Holly) former WWE world champion pro wrestler, was born in Forest Lake and is a 1996 graduate of Forest Lake High School.
  • Adam Haayer former Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals lineman, is a 1996 graduate of Forest Lake High School.
  • Dave Menne, former UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) middleweight champion, is a 1993 graduate of Forest Lake High School.
  • William Rush Merriam, who served as Governor of Minnesota from 1889 to 1893, was a summer resident of Forest Lake.
  • Walter Mondale, former vice president of the United States, is a former resident of Forest Lake.
  • Anni Rossi, is a singer, violist and keyboardist and recording artist on 4AD Records, and is a 2000 graduate of Forest Lake High School.
  • Christopher Sieber two-time Tony Award nominated actor (Spamalot and Shrek the Musical) is a 1988 graduate of Forest Lake High School.
  • Jack Trudeau former University of Illinois and Indianapolis Colts quarterback was born in Forest Lake in 1962.
  • Jordis Unga, is a rock singer, songwriter and performer from Forest Lake and attended Forest Lake High School. She was a contestant on the CBS television reality show Rock Star: INXS and The Voice (U.S. TV series).


External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Forest Lake, Minnesota. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.