History of East Bethel

East Bethel Beginnings

The current boundaries of the City of East Bethel belonged to the Chippewa Indians until 1837, when the United States bought their lands east of the Mississippi River in what was later to become the State of Minnesota. Settlers began arriving in the area in the 1850s and the area was incorporated as a Township in 1858, the same year Minnesota was admitted to the Union. The Township was originally incorporated as the Township of Bethel, the name derived from the Bible and meaning the "House of God."

Situated in the northeast portion of Anoka County, the Quakers were the first settlers in Bethel in 1856. The group quickly established a school and a church, but left the area following the Indian Massacre of 1862. The Quakers took their families to Anoka and Minneapolis and never returned to the area. Other settlers that left during the Indian Wars did return to the area and became farmers, tradesmen, and merchants. The Township of Bethel exhibited a slow but steady growth from 423 in 1880 to 1,286 in 1957.

In spring of 1957, a local committee was formed to take the necessary legal steps to incorporate. On May 3, 1957, the petition was presented to the Anoka County Board of Commissioners and, as a result of the required election, incorporation was approved by 232 to 161 vote. This vote was challenged and the matter eventually was sent to the Minnesota Supreme Court and finally to the State Legislature for validation. East Bethel was officially incorporated as a Village on April 27, 1959 and as a City on January 1, 1974.

The City is approximately 48 square miles, which makes it the third largest City in the metro area in terms of size. As of the 2010 Census, there were 11,626 people residing in the City, comprising 4,060 households and 3,221 families. The population density is 259.5 inhabitants per square mile and there are 4,237 housing units at an average density of 94.6 per square mile.

More History

For a complete story, check out our book by Louise Lyon:
History of Bethel Township and East Bethel Village That Became the City of East Bethel: From 1848 to 1974.

Check out a 1989 story about a couple of foxes and a golf course:

Front Page
Continued Story

American-News 1982 article about the Coon Lake Beach Area: Coon Lake Beach Getting a Face Lift