WHITE BEAR LAKE

The name White Bear Lake, which means abode of the Great Spirit, refers to both the city as well as one of the biggest lakes in Minnesota (2,416 acres).  The lake got its name courtesy of a native legend that associates the lake with the appearance of a white bear.

 

This city, which is now considered one of the most attractive suburbs in the Twin Cities due to its proximity to St. Paul (only about 20 minutes), provides residents as well as visitors a refreshing mix of rural life (by providing easy access to fishing, swimming and boating activities) and city life (through a bustling business district).

 

Majority of White Bear Lake’s lands have been appropriated for public parks and open spaces (almost 59%) while the rest have been divided into single and multi-family use, commercial use (4.3%) and industrial (3.1%).  The land used for public/semi-public and recreational purpose is around 18% of the total land area.

 Population Profile 

White Bear Lake is among the biggest cities in the Twin Towers, population-wise, with 24,325 people living in 9,813 housing units of the 2000 Census.  It is interesting to note that 30.9% of the 9,618 households consist of non-families.

Majority of its residents are Whites (95.31%) followed by Hispanics and Latinos (1.75%) and Asians (1.54%).

 

The city’s population is quite young with a median age of 37 years with 24.8% of the population under the age of 18 and only 14.6% of the total population at the age of 65 years old and above.

 

With an average household income of $52,934 and a per capital income of $24,338, the residents are doing fairly well economically with only 3.3% of the families living below the poverty line.

 

Majority or 36.9% of its residents are into management and professional occupations while 29.6% are holding occupations as sales and office personnel.  Only a meager 0.1% is into faming, fishing and forestry while 8.7% are into construction and maintenance.

 History 

White Bear Lake got the attention of literature lovers who suspected that F. Scott Fitzgerald inspiration in writing “Winter Dreams”, where he talked about living in Black Bear Lake, Minnesota, was in fact White Bear Lake. However, the suburb is more popular as a haven of gangsters from Chicago including Al Capone.  But more than that, the novel “A Death Wish in White Bear Late” by Barry Siegel which narrated the gruesome murder by Lois Jurgens of her adopted three-year old kid named Dennis Jurgens in White Bear Lake, made the headlines for the suburb.

 

The city was ready for Commerce as early as 1871 with the buying of the first lot by Daniel Getty.  Soon came the opening of a blacksmith shop a meat market and a boat building business.  With a population of 435 and its incorporation as a village, White Bear Lake started to enact laws not only to regulate the residents but also to preserve the lake and its environs.

 

Thanks to its pristine lakes and clean environment, White Bear Lake became the favorite vacation destination in the area until such time when its real estate shifted to providing summer homes and lakeshore properties to both residents and wealthy visitors.

 

By 1950, White Bear Lake’s population grew to 3,646 which further ballooned to 12,849 in just ten years.  It was recognized by the National Municipal League as well as Look Magazine in 1965 and was designated as an All-American City due to the progress of its citizens in solving the problems of their community.

 Housing 

Those who are looking at the possibility of corporate relocation or employee relocation in White Bear Lake can look forward to a better life considering the city’s penchant for clean and healthy living.  Housing is also not a problem as there are real estate agents that are always welcome to give advice and point out housing opportunities whether it is a demand for single homes, duplex, condominiums or other real estate properties.

 

Of the 9,618 occupied housing units in White Bear Lake, 74.6% are occupied by the owners while 25.4% are rented.  The average home value in the city is $178,600.

 Business 

Almost all businesses in White Bear Lake are affiliated with the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce.  With 300 members that are into retail services, smaIl and medium scale businesses. Major auto dealers, manufacturing, healthcare providers and even Fortune 500 companies, the Chamber can very well claim to being the voice of business in the area. The Chamber also serves other suburbs in Twin Cities including North oaks, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake, Dellwood, and North St. Paul.

 

If you are new in White Bear Lake then a membership with the Chamber might be of interest to you and your business.  After all, the Chamber protects the interests of all businesses in the area.

 Smarte Carte 

One of the businesses that have established its roots in White Bear Lake since 1967 is Smarte Carte, a company that has made its mark in world business as a provider of baggage carts to various airports worldwide.  The man behind the company is Jim Muellner, a resident of White Bear Lake.

 

Hughes Industries, commissioned Muellner to design and actually build luggage cart vending machines that are operated by the company on a self service basis.  However, when Hughes went bankrupt, Muellner decided to buy the company and incorporated what is now known as Smarte Carte, Inc in 1967. 

 

Today, the company does not only provide luggage carts to airports in Los Angeles and the Twin Cities (and a lot of airports worldwide) but it also supplies them with mechanical tags and other gadgets that further automated the airport system.

 

While Smarte Carte is no longer owned by Muellner now, it continues to be an innovator in automation, vending and computerized services while maintaining its headquarters in White Bear Lake.

Tourism 

City-bred visitors who are tired of the usual attractions offered in their areas can easily go to White Bear Lake as it is only 20 minutes away from both St. Paula and Minneapolis.  Here, they can swim and splash all day or go boating with their families and friends.  No Boat?  It’s not a problem because Tally’s Dockside offers boat and even pontoon rentals at reasonable prices.

 

White Bear Lake has maintained its rustic charm and you can spend the whole day bonding with your family just sitting by the lake or simply cruising.  It is a favorite picnic site not only for visitors though but for residents as well.

 

White Bear Lake tourism becomes more appealing during the Manitou Days celebration.  Revel in the fun offered by the Manitou Days Parade or simply visit the city’s Farmer’s Market. 

 

If you think White Bear Lake is all about water-based activities then go check out the 18-hole Oneka Ridge Golf Course.   You can challenge the best golfers here or just practice your skills at the putting green.  The whole family can even have lunch at the clubhouse.

 

If you are fond of fruits then go pick strawberries and apples at the Pine Tree Apple Orchard, owned by former city boy Art Jacobson who hails from St. Paul but who fell in love with White Bear Lake and settled in the area in 1958.  His family now operates a 300-acre orchard in White Bear Lake.