Read about some of Lakewood’s founders.
George A. Brackett
George A. Brackett (1836-1921), moved to Minnesota from Maine in the 1850s. He helped organize the Northern Pacific Railroad with William Washburn, Col. William King, and Dorilus Morrison in 1869. He helped establish the Minneapolis Free Dispensary, which later became the University of Minnesota Medical School. He was elected Minneapolis mayor in 1873. Brackett built an estate on the Lake Minnetonka peninsula now know as Brackett’s Point.
Colonel William S. King
Colonel William S. King (1828-1900), a businessman and newspaper publisher, had the idea for Lakewood Cemetery in July 1871. He and 14 others formed the Lyndale Cemetery Association, named for King’s father, Lyndon King. (The cemetery name was later changed to Lakewood.) An outspoken abolitionist and lifelong champion of Minneapolis, King was dubbed “Old Thaumaturgus,” a Greek word meaning miracle worker.
Charles M. Loring
Originally from Maine, Charles M. Loring (1832-1922), spent 35 years developing the Minneapolis Park System. In 1890, the city’s Central Park was renamed Loring Park in his honor. Loring’s efforts to bring the beauty of nature to all citizens of Minneapolis made him known as “Father of the Parks.”
Land developer Thomas Lowry (1843-1909) created Lake Street in the 1870s. In 1886, he consolidated the transit systems of Minneapolis and St. Paul into the Twin City Rapid Transit Company, which eventually became MTC. In private life, Mr. and Mrs. Lowry were the toasts of Minneapolis society. Rumors abounded they spent $100,000 on their house, which was located at the top of Hennepin Hill, now called Lowry Hill. (The house is no longer there.)
Richard J. Mendenhall
Surveyor, banker, land agent, botanist and entomologist Richard Mendenhall (1828-1906) was a businessman with a passion for science. Minneapolis’ first florist, he built an enormous greenhouse on First Avenue and Eighth Street, where he conducted botanical experiments and cultivated a multitude of plants. His wife, Abby (1832-1900), helped establish the Bethany Home for unwed mothers in 1876.
Dorilus Morrison (1814-1898) was a merchant and successful Maine lumberman before the great pine forests of Minnesota drew him here in 1855. An enthusiastic supporter of Minneapolis, he served in the Minnesota State Senate in 1864 and 1865, and when Minneapolis became a city in 1867, he was elected its first mayor. In the early 1870s, he was president of Northwestern National Bank (which became Norwest Bank and merged with Wells Fargo in the late 1990s).
William D. Washburn
William D. Washburn (1831-1912) moved to Minnesota from Maine in 1857. He built a fortune in lumber, flour milling, and railroads, before turning to politics and going on to the U.S. Senate. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Washburn Surveyor General of Minnesota. His brother, C.C. Washburn, joined him in Minnesota and founded the Washburn-Crosby Mill, which is now General Mills.
Historical photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.