Bloomington, Minnesota

Bloomington is the fifth largest city, as of 2018 estimates, in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is located in Hennepin County on the north bank of the Minnesota River, above its confluence with the Mississippi River. Bloomington lies 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown Minneapolis.[5] As of the 2010 census the city's population was 82,893,[6] and in 2018 the estimated population was 85,578.[3]

City Hall in 2006


Location of Bloomington
within Hennepin County, Minnesota
Coordinates: 44°50′1″N 93°18′36″W
CountryUnited States
Incorporated1858 (as a town)
Incorporated1960 (as a city)
  MayorTim Busse (DFL)
  City38.41 sq mi (99.47 km2)
  Land34.70 sq mi (89.88 km2)
  Water3.70 sq mi (9.59 km2)  9.73%
827 ft (252 m)
  RankUS: 392th
MN: 5th
  Density2,474.31/sq mi (955.34/km2)
3,629,190 (US: 16th)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
  Summer (DST)UTC−5 (Central)
ZIP codes
55420, 55425, 55431, 55435, 55437, 55438
Area code952
FIPS code27-06616
GNIS feature ID0640278[4]

Established as a post–World War II housing boom suburb connected to the urban street grid of Minneapolis and serviced by two major freeways, Interstate 35W and Interstate 494, Bloomington's residential areas include upper-tier households in the western Bush Lake area and traditional middle-class families in its rows of single-family homes in the central to eastern portions. Large-scale commercial development is concentrated along the Interstate 494 corridor. Besides an extensive city park system, with over 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of parkland per capita,[7] Bloomington is also home to Hyland Lake Park Reserve in the west and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the southeast.

Bloomington has more jobs per capita than either Minneapolis or Saint Paul, due in part to the United States' largest enclosed shopping center, Mall of America.[8] The headquarters of Ceridian, Donaldson Company, HealthPartners, Polar Semiconductor, SkyWater Technology Foundry and Toro, and major operations of Pearson, General Dynamics,Seagate Technologies, Express Scripts and Wells Fargo Bank are also based in the city.

The city was named after Bloomington, Illinois.[9]


In 1839, with renewed conflict with the Ojibwa nation, Chief Cloud Man relocated his band of the Mdewakanton Sioux from Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis to an area named Oak Grove in southern Bloomington, close to present-day Portland Avenue.[10] In 1843, Peter and Louisa Quinn, the first European settlers to live in Bloomington, built a cabin along the Minnesota River in this area.[11] The government had sent them to teach farming methods to the Native Americans. Gideon Hollister Pond, a missionary, who had been following and recording the Dakota language from Cloud Man's band, relocated later that year, establishing Oak Grove Mission, his log cabin. Pond and his family held church services and taught the local Dakota school subjects and farming. Passage across the Minnesota River in Bloomington came in 1849 when William Chambers and Joseph Dean opened the Bloomington Ferry. The ferry remained operational until 1889, when the Bloomington Ferry Bridge was built.

Following the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851, the territory west of the Mississippi River, including Bloomington, was opened to settlers. A group of pioneers settled Bloomington, including the Goodrich, Whalon, and Ames families. They named the area Bloomington after the city they were from, Bloomington, Illinois, which means "flowering field." Most early jobs were in farming, blacksmithing, and flour milling.[12] The Oxborough family, who came from Canada, built a trading center on Lyndale Avenue and named it Oxboro Heath. Today, the Clover Shopping Center rests near the old trading center site and the nearby Oxboro Clinic is named after them. The Baliff family opened a grocery and general store at what is today Penn Avenue and Old Shakopee Road, and Hector Chadwick, after moving to the settlement, opened a blacksmith shop near the Bloomington Ferry. In 1855, the first public school for all children was opened in Miss Harrison's house with the first school, Gibson House, built in 1859.[12] On May 11, 1858, the day the state of Minnesota was admitted into the union and officially became a state, 25 residents incorporated the Town of Bloomington. By 1880, the population had grown to 820.[13] In 1892 the first town hall was built at Penn and Old Shakopee Road. By then, the closest Dakota to Minneapolis lived at the residence of Gideon Pond.[10]

1900s to 1930s

After 1900, the population surpassed a thousand and Bloomington began to transform into a city. With rising population came conflict among citizens over social issues. Among the major issues during this period were parents' unwillingness to dissolve the individual schools for a larger, consolidated school, and the fear of mounting taxes. By 1900, there were already six rural schools spread throughout the territory with over 200 students enrolled in grades first through eighth. By 1917, the school consolidation issue had been settled. That year voters approved the consolidation of the schools and a year later secondary education and school bus transportation began throughout the city. Telephone service and automobiles appeared.

1940s to 1950s

From 1940 to 1960, the city's population increased to nine times that of the population at the turn of the century. During the 1940s the city's development vision was low-cost, low-density housing, each with its own well and septic system. The rapid growth in population was in part due to the post-World War II boom and subsequent birth of the baby boomer generation. In 1947, the first fire station was constructed and equipped at a cost of $24,000 and the Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department was established with 25 members.

The 1950s saw a considerable expansion of the city and its infrastructure, with the city shifting away from its small-town atmosphere and feel. In 1950, because of the increasing population, the first elementary school, Cedarcrest, was built. It was evident that one consolidated school could no longer serve the growing population, and ten new schools would be built in this decade as the school system expanded to meet the needs of the citizens. In 1952, the first large business Toro Manufacturing Company, moved to Bloomington. The significance of this can be seen in Bloomington today, which is home to hundreds of businesses of all types.

In 1953, Bloomington changed from a township to a village form of government. This more professional approach to government was accompanied by open council meetings, land use plans, and published budgets. The effects of this new form of government began immediately, first with the formation of the city police department (at a cost of $2 per taxpayer) and secondly with the first park land acquisition. Both Bush Lake Beach and Moir Park were established at a cost of one dollar to each residence. Today, about 1/3 of the city's land area is devoted to city and regional parks, playgrounds, and open space.[14] In 1956, the first city land-use plan was initiated with the construction of Interstate 35W and Metropolitan Stadium.

In 1957, the new Bloomington High School opened at West 88th Street and Sheridan Avenue South.

In 1958, the city changed from a village government to a council-manager form. One of the first policies adopted by the council was the encouragement of commercial and industrial development, low-cost housing, and shopping centers. Due to the rapid population increase during this time, police and fire departments changed to a 24-hour dispatching system, and the fire department (now made up of 46 members) converted a garage into the second fire station.

1960s to 1970s

The 1960s saw accelerated school and business growth throughout the city. On November 8, 1960, Bloomington officially became a city as voters approved the city's organizing document, the City Charter. The city charter provides for a Council-Manager form of government in which the city council exercises the legislative power of the city and determines all city policies (see City of Bloomington Government). In 1965, a second high school was built, John F. Kennedy High School and Bloomington High School was renamed Abraham Lincoln High School. In 1967, a second and third official fire station were approved and built to more effectively combat fires in the increasingly large city. In 1968, Normandale State Junior College opened with an initial enrollment of 1,358 students. In 1974, it changed to its present name, Normandale Community College, to reflect expanded courses of study.

From 1961 to 1981, the city of Bloomington was home to most of the major sports teams of Minnesota. In 1961, after the completion of Metropolitan Stadium in 1956, both the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings began regular-season play. Although Metropolitan Stadium was originally built for the American Association Minneapolis Millers, a minor league baseball team, Metropolitan Stadium was renovated and expanded for Major League Baseball and the National Football League. The first Twins game was held on April 21 (Washington 5, Twins 3) and the first Vikings game was held on September 17 (Vikings 37, Chicago Bears 13). On August 21, 1965, The Beatles played Metropolitan Stadium, their only stop ever in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area. In 1967, with the expansion of the National Hockey League, the Metropolitan Sports Center was built near the site of the Metropolitan Stadium and the Minnesota North Stars began play later that year.

A number of new city buildings were constructed in the 1970s. In 1970, Thomas Jefferson High School, Bloomington Ice Garden rink one, and a fourth fire station were built. In 1971, school enrollment peaked with 26,000 students, and the fire department had grown to a force of 105 men. (In 1974, after a six-hour city council meeting, women were allowed to join the Bloomington Fire Department, but the city's first female firefighter, Ann Majerus Meyer, would not join the department until 1984; she retired in 2013). In 1975 a second rink was added to the Bloomington Ice Garden and a fifth fire station built, and subsequently a sixth in 1979.

1980s to present

The 1980s brought a radical change to Bloomington with the departure of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. On September 30, 1981, the last baseball game was played at Metropolitan Stadium (Kansas City Royals 5, Twins 2) as the Twins and Vikings moved to the newly constructed Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. In 1985, the Bloomington Port Authority purchased the 86-acre (350,000 m2) Met Stadium site and in less than two years approved first site plans for Mall of America. Two years later, ground breaking took place for the new megamall, and in 1992, it was opened to the public. Today, tenants of Mall of America, when combined, constitute the largest private-sector employer in Bloomington, employing about 13,000 people.

In 1993, the Minnesota North Stars hockey team moved to Dallas, and a year later the Metropolitan Sports Center was demolished. In 2004, an IKEA store opened on the west end of the former Met Center site. The remainder of the property is planned to be the site for Mall of America Phase II. In May 2006 the Water Park of America opened, the ninth largest indoor waterpark in the United States.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.42 square miles (99.51 km2), of which 34.68 square miles (89.82 km2) is land and 3.74 square miles (9.69 km2) is water.[15]

There are three primary land types in the city. The northeastern part of the city is a sand plain, low hills dominate the western portion of the city, and the far south lies within the valley of the Minnesota River.

About one third of the city is permanently reserved for park purposes, including two large natural areas – the Minnesota Valley's wetlands (controlled by the City and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Hyland Lake Park Reserve (controlled by the Three Rivers Park District).

Water bodies within the city include Bush Lake, Long Meadow Lake, Lake Normandale, Marsh Lake (Hennepin), Nine Mile Creek, Penn Lake and about 100 small lakes and ponds with their wetland habitats.

Climate data for Bloomington, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 22
Average low °F (°C) 4
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.04

Locally, the city is informally divided by Interstate 35W into "West Bloomington" and "East Bloomington." West Bloomington is mostly residential with newer housing stock, along with multi-story office high-rises along Interstate Highway 494 in the north, whereas East Bloomington contains more industry, destination retail centers, and the majority of Bloomington's less expensive housing. The dividing line may be placed as far west as France Avenue, where the high school attendance boundaries meet.[17]


The city is home to a large contingent of employers, providing more than 100,000 jobs. Benefiting from its location near major transportation routes and the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport, Bloomington is a major hospitality center with nearly 8,000 hotel rooms.[18]

Ceridian, Donaldson Company, the Evangelical Free Church of America, Great Clips, HealthPartners, Holiday Stationstores, Thermo King and Toro have their headquarters in Bloomington.[19]

Top employers

According to the City's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[20] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Mall of America (tenants and corporate) 13,000
2 HealthPartners 3,800
3 Bloomington School District #271 1,948
4 Seagate Technology 1,522
5 Donaldson Company 1,020
6 NCS Pearson 1,013
7 Toro 996
8 General Dynamics 678
9 Normandale Community College 649
10 Polar Semiconductor, Inc. 630

Other major employers include Express Scripts, Holiday Stationstores, Thermo King/Ingersoll Rand Corp., and the city of Bloomington.[21]


ISD 271 has served the K–12 education of the city since the 1960s with an operating fund revenue of $94.6 million in 2007.[22] 15 public schools in Bloomington are operated by the district and is governed by a seven-member elected school board, appointing current Superintendent Les Fujitake in 2006.[23] The previous Superintendent Gary Prest won the Superintendent of The Year for 2005 in Minnesota.[24] The city's first public charter school, Seven Hills Classical Academy, opened in 2006. As many families remain or continue to move into the city, there has been support for levy increases. In 1999 they approved the then-largest school bond issue in Minnesota history, funding a $107 million school expansion and renovation project.[25]

The two high schools are John F. Kennedy High School in the east and Thomas Jefferson High School in the west. The determining boundary for high school attendance runs near the center of Bloomington on France and Xerxes Avenues, though both schools have open enrollment.[26]

Public schools in Bloomington
Elementary schoolsMiddle schoolsHigh schools
Indian MoundsOlsonJohn F. Kennedy
Hillcrest CommunityOak GroveThomas Jefferson
Normandale HillsValley View
Oak Grove
Poplar Bridge
Seven Hills Classical Academy
Valley View

Bloomington's third high school, Abraham Lincoln High School (originally Bloomington High School), was closed in 1982 and was sold to the Control Data Corporation in the mid-1980s. Bloomington Stadium, located next to the former high school, is still used by both Kennedy High School and Jefferson High School for home football, lacrosse and soccer games.

Mindquest, the first online public high school in the United States, operated between 1995 and 2003 through the Bloomington Public Schools.[27]

Private schools

  • Bloomington Lutheran School is a K–8 Christian school that is associated with the WELS. The school is located near Bloomington Ferry Road and Old Shakopee Road.
  • Nativity of Mary School is located on Lyndale Avenue. It is associated with the Nativity of Mary Catholic Church and community.
  • Bethany Academy provides K–12 Christian Education. Located just west of France Avenue on 98th Street. It is interdenominational with representation of over 60 different Christian Churches.

Higher education


Historical population
Est. 201885,578[3]3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[29]
History of Bloomington[30]

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 82.7% of Bloomington's population; of which 80.9% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 6.6% of Bloomington's population. American Indians made up 0.3% of the city's population. Asian Americans made up 5.1% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans were non-existent in the city (0.0%). Individuals from some other race made up 3.9% of the city's population; of which 0.8% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.4% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 5.0% of Bloomington's population.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 82,893 people, 35,905 households, and 21,618 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,390.2 inhabitants per square mile (922.9/km2). There were 37,641 housing units at an average density of 1,085.4 per square mile (419.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 79.7% White, 7.2% African American, 0.4% Native American, 5.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.7% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.8% of the population.

There were 35,905 households of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.8% were non-families. Of all households 32.2% were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89.

The median age in the city was 42.7 years. 19.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.1% were from 25 to 44; 28.9% were from 45 to 64; and 18.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

Government and politics

Bloomington is governed by a seven-member part-time city council. Members include the mayor and six council members, of whom four are elected from districts and two elected at-large. Members are elected to four-year terms, except during redistricting when all district council members have a two-year term. Elections are non-partisan.

City operations are controlled by three interrelated entities: the City itself, the Port Authority, and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). The Port Authority is responsible for managing development in the South Loop district, located in the easternmost portion of the city, in which the Mall of America is located. The HRA handles low-income housing in the city and manages the city's redevelopment activities. Membership on the boards of the Port Authority and HRA is controlled by the City Council.

The city's organizing document, the City Charter, was approved by voters on November 8, 1960.

Municipal services

Bloomington has one of the largest volunteer fire departments in the country with 120 firefighters. They provide fire protection that has resulted in a Class 2 fire rating. The department operates six fire stations and utilizes the latest in fire fighting equipment. The department has a total of 30 fire fighting vehicles including pumpers, hook and ladder and specialty units (one vehicle compact enough to navigate the Mall of America's parking ramps), all of which are equipped with Opticom System equipment, which automatically switches traffic signals to expedite emergency runs. The average response time is four minutes.[31]

Public safety is protected by Bloomington's 120 officer police force. The officers have sophisticated Ford Police Interceptor squad cars that assist them in their round-the-clock patrol: each contains a computer-assisted dispatching center that contains a computerized records system, mobile digital terminals that allow officers direct access to warrant information and state motor vehicle and driver's license records, and Opticom System equipment, which automatically switches traffic signals. The police force is also supported by six canine teams: four dual-purpose patrol dogs, a single-purpose narcotics dog, and a single-purpose explosives-detection dog assigned to the Mall of America. The police department has one of only four bomb squads in Minnesota and a highly trained 20 member SWAT team.[32]

Chiefs of police

  • 1. Clay Nord...............1953-1959
  • 2. Elmer Hart..............1959-1966
  • 3. Clarence Coster.......1967-1970
  • 4. Paul Martz..............1970-1972
  • 5. James Brekken...........1973-1977
  • 6. Jerry Putman............1978-1988
  • 7. Robert Lutz.............1988-1998
  • 8. Roger Willow............1998-2002
  • 9. John Laux...............2003-2008
  • 10. Jeff Potts..............2008–present

Bloomington Human Services helps to improve the lives of residents by identifying needs and problems. They provide services to youth, families, older adults, and people with disabilities.[33]

Federal representation

Bloomington is located in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district and is currently represented by Democrat Dean Phillips in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the U.S. Senate, Minnesota is served by Democrats Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar.

Arts and media


The Works is an experiential technology learning museum for youth.

The Bloomington History Museum focuses on the history of Bloomington, ranging from the prehistoric period through present day.

The NWA History Museum documents the history of Northwest Airlines.


Artistry is a professional theater and visual arts nonprofit that produces musicals and plays in the 366-seat Schneider Theater at the municipally owned and operated Bloomington Center for the Arts.

The Theater program at Normandale College presents five productions during the academic year.[34]

The high school theater companies at Jefferson and Kennedy each stage two full length productions annually.

Visual arts

Artistry curates two galleries in the Bloomington Center for the Arts.

Mhiripihri Gallery features Zimbabwean sculpture in a 3,000 sq ft (280 m2) gallery.[35]

Major public art works

Noted muralist Erik Pearson's[36] 2007 work "Creating Together" adorns the flyloft of the theater at Bloomington Center for the Arts. Pearson also created the mural "Science and Nature" in the city's South Loop district.

2015 also marked the unveiling of "Convergence", by sculptor James Brenner[37]


Comcast provides access to four Bloomington cable television stations for Public, educational, and government access (PEG) programming. They include The Bloomington Channel 14 link, a comprehensive source of Bloomington information and programming. The Government-access television (GATV) channel features City Council and school board meetings, a weekly news magazine show called "Bloomington Today", "Roll Call", a weekly update on public safety news produced by the Bloomington Police Department, arts events, and sports. Bloomington Educational Cable Television (BEC-TV) highlights educational and school-based programs from the Bloomington's public and private schools. Programming on this channel includes Educational-access television content, concerts, choir shows, graduations, and sporting events. Two student produced shows are also on BEC-TV. Tomorrow's Voices Today (TVT) is a teen news show that highlights the good things teens are doing around the city and talks about teen related issues. YRU-Up is a late night call-in Public-access television cable TV talk show. Skits for the show are produced by students and the show is live every Friday night (Sat. Morning) at 12:30am on TBC (Channel 14). A third channel, BCAT, (Bloomington Cable Access Television)[38] is a Public-access channel that allows individuals and organizations to learn video production and create television shows. The schedules for these channels can be found on a channel called the B.R.A.I.N. The PEG channels are funded by Cable television franchise fees collected in the city.


Parts of the Coen brothers film A Serious Man were filmed in an East Bloomington neighborhood. The neighborhood was chosen for its original suburban ranch-style houses and young trees (due to a storm knocking older ones down), giving it a 1960s new-development look.[39]

Sports and recreation

Hyland Park includes both a ski area and Nordic ski jumps. The Nordic ski jumps are maintained by the Minneapolis Ski Club Minneapolis Ski Club and are some of the most urban ski jumps in the U.S. Several U.S. Olympic ski jumpers have come from this ski club. The Minneapolis Ski Club will be hosting the 2013 Junior National competition.

Bloomington was the point of growth for Pickleball in Minnesota, beginning about 2005 when retirees brought the sport back from their southern-states retirement homes. From the Westwood Athletic Fields in southern Bloomington, other groups formed and grew to an active statewide player population in excess of 1,500. Bloomington is also the home of PickleballMinnesota , the Pickleball website serving the state and the Upper Midwest.

Bloomington also has the Bloomington Family Aquatic Center (BFAC).

Notable people


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  8. "2030 Regional Development Framework - Revised Forecasts as of January 9, 2008" (PDF). Metropolitan Council. January 9, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
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  13. "Bloomington History". City of Bloomington. 2006.
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  19. "Contact Us Archived May 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." Thermo King Corporation. Retrieved on January 18, 2011. "Thermo King Corporate Headquarters 314 West 90th Street, Bloomington, Minnesota 55420 "
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