NEW BRIGHTON 

New Brighton’s strategic location between two of Minnesota’s largest cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) is responsible for most of the city’s growth.  The railroad, which is located between the Twin Cities, also made the movement of goods and people between the three cities faster and more efficient.


The city used to be an Indian Village and was inhabited a hundred percent by Indians some of whom belong to the Tatonkawatakuna, a Sioux tribe subsidiary.  The area was apparently made into a farming settlement with traces of oats and barley found in one of the fire pits.  This was evident when tepee foundations and fire pits were found on the site in the 1890s. The establishment of a white settlement in the Long Lake area in 1735 paved the way for the population shift from pure Indians to non-Indians.


The city was named by its English founders after Brighton Massachusetts, which in turn, was named after a resort city in England.

Population profile 

As of the 2000 census, New Brighton is inhabited by 22,206 people and 5,903 families.  It is a big enough community with a population density of 1,291.2 per square kilometer of land.  Most of the population or 88.59% are Whites followed by Asians (4.38%) and African Americans (3.32%).  The rest is a mixture of Hispanics or Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and other races.

Almost half of the 9,013 total households consist of married couples.  The population is young with an average age of 37 years. An estimated 4% of the total population of the city lives below the poverty level.


Majority of the Minnesota towns used to be inhabited by Native Americans and New Brighton is no exception.  Among the first inhabitants of the city are the Dakota and Ojibway tribes who settled along Rice Creek in Long Lake. The first recorded settlement in New Brighton was in 1858 and this came with a mission church, school and a general store.


However, one significant data which influenced the city’s history was the establishment in 1888 of the Minneapolis Stockyards and Packing Company.  The company, which supplied home items in the area, was built in the land now known as New Brighton by Thomas Lowry (streetcar magnate), J.S. Pillsbury (word-famous flour miller), W.O. Dunwoody (industrialist), former Minneapolis mayor W.H. Eustis and Senator J.D. Washburn.


More businesses followed including the Twin City Packing Company (which was established in 1889), the iron mills of Harris Forge and Rolling Company, the lumber and yards business of Merriam-Barrows and several businesses in the Butcher’s Spur area including slaughtering houses, hide houses and rendering works.  Commercial establishments like hotels followed and the most notable of which is the Cattlemen’s Hotel, a four-story hotel made of brick and was constructed at a cost of $35,000.

The city flourished with its incorporation in 1891.  With 14 passenger trains passing along the city every day, the city’s growth was unstoppable.  However, the demise of New Brighton’s cattle industry was a big setback and transformed the main livelihood of the people from cattle growing to farming.  The city however still celebrates the New Brighton Stockyard days every year as a way of looking back at its colorful past.


New Brighton consists mainly of residential housing units for people with diverse incomes. The southern part of the town is the location of an upper middle class housing development known as Wexford Heights.  The apartment sections are popularly called Polynesian.  What makes the downtown area different from the other areas of the city is the presence of street lights that looks old-fashioned and are placed six meters apart.

About town 

Those planning to relocate in New Brighton should take note that life in the city is not complete without the Bulletin, the local newspaper which is very detail-oriented when it comes to peace and order condition in the northern suburbs as well local sporting events.  The Sun Focus is another newspaper which focuses on the happenings in New Brighton, Mounds View and St. Anthony Village.


One of the most important relocation information you should perhaps take note of is the speed limit of 30-mile per hour in most roads particularly in Long lake Road.


 Stockyard Days-This festival is celebrated every August as a way of looking back to the times when the city’s economy was fueled by the cattle industry.  It is just like going back to the Wild days of New Brighton as a cattle city.  The celebration includes the setting up of street dances, food stands, marathons of 5k and 10k, raffle draws, bingo, carnival rides and a parade.


Polka Dance Party-This is a joint celebration among the residents of New Brighton and St. Anthony.  The traditional dance, which gives the residents a chance to enjoy polka music through songs and dances, started in 1892.  The dance party seeks to revive the people’s interest in polka music.


If you have plans of moving in to New Brighton and you have school kids, there are several educational facilities to choose from.  There are four public schools that are all part of District 621 and they are:


It may be interesting to note that while Irondale High Scholl has been named by Newsweek as one of the country’s top 500 schools (for the year 2000 and 2003), the school’s football team performed badly with only three games won from 1996 to 1999.  However, it has one of the top marching bands in the entire state of Minnesota and has one of the most prolific drama programs within the Moundsview School District, coming up with a one act play for competition as well as four productions annually.

Public safety 

The city’s Department of Public Safety has enough employees to meet any emergency in the city. It is known for the success of its efforts in community policing and was even recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  It was given the International Community Policing award in 2004, a prestigious award which has been awarded to only five cities worldwide. It is supported by the following personnel:

Police Division

Fire Division


New Brighton has one of the cleanest waters in the Twin Cities area not for natural reasons but due to the millions of dollars (expended by the Army to clean the toxic chemical they dumped into the groundwater system of the city) and the efforts from the US Army to clean up the mess they left behind. The three aquifers providing groundwater for New Brighton are located in Jordan, Prairie du Chien and Mt. Simon/Hinckley.


Groundwater is pumped from 12 deep wells, ranging from 300 to 1000 feet deep. The groundwater is located in three aquifers: Prairie du Chien, Jordan and Mt. Simon/Hinckley. 


New Brighton used to be called the Town of Cows because of its cattle industry. If thoughts of living in an area historically known as one of the Wild West towns but now bustling with economic activity due to its strategic location between the Twin Cities then New Brighton is just right for you.

Here is the City of New Brighton website:

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