Fridley History

For more information on Fridley History, the Fridley History Center or to get involved with the Fridley Historical Society, please visit the Fridley Historical Center website.
  • 1847: John Banfill became Fridley's first settler when he built the Banfill Tavern. At that time, the area was called Manomin. The Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts now resides on that site.
  • 1851: Abram M. Fridley, for whom the city was named, settled in Manomin.
  • 1879: The area's name changed to Fridley by an act of the Minnesota State Legislature.
  • 1949: Fridley was incorporated as a village. The first Mayor was Carl Hartman who also served as the first police chief and fire chief.
  • 1957: The Village of Fridley became a Home Rule Charter City. About the same time, Fridley experienced an industrial boom. By 1960, Fridley's population swelled to 15,182 residents.
  • May 6, 1965: Fridley was devastated by two F4 tornadoes (at the time it was classified as 3 distinct tornadoes, but was revised in 1973 based on a new theory regarding multiple vortexes). One in every four homes was destroyed or damaged. Under the leadership of Mayor Nee and countless other people, the city was rebuilt and again became a prosperous community.
  • 1973: Springbrook Nature Center opened.
  • 1974: Fridley '49er Days started in celebration of the City's 25th anniversary.
  • 1986: A tornado ripped through the Springbrook Nature Center, staying on the ground for 16 minutes and resulting in years of cleanup.
  • September 21, 2005: Approximately 300 homes and 2,000-3,000 trees were damaged by a rotating storm called mesocyclone with strong straight-line winds.
  • October 2009: Fridley Police debuted a Police K-9 program with the addition of Nitro and Kona.
  • November 2009: Northstar Commuter Rail began service in Fridley.
  • 2014: Redevelopment began on the Northern Pump/BAE site that once received 6 Battle E awards from the Navy. Northern Pump opened in 1940 and became a manufacturer of the Navy's gun-barrels.
  • 2014: Fridley HRA acquired the former Columbia Arena after 8 years of deterioration and vacancy.
  • May 6, 2015: Over 800 people gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the tornadoes that destroyed the city.
  • 2016: Springbrook Nature Center opened its doors to a $5.1 million expansion to the interpretive center.
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