Fridley, Minnesota

Fridley is a city in Anoka County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 27,208 at the 2010 census.[6] Fridley was incorporated in 1949 as a village and became a city in 1957. It is part of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Fridley is a "first ring" or "inner ring" suburb in the northern part of the Twin Cities. Fridley connects with the city of Minneapolis at its southern border. Neighboring first ring suburbs are Columbia Heights to the South and Brooklyn Center to the West across the Mississippi river.

Fridley Civic Campus
"Friendly Fridley"
Location of the city of Fridley
within Anoka County, Minnesota
Coordinates: 45°5′8″N 93°15′34″W
CountryUnited States
  MayorScott Lund
  Total10.89 sq mi (28.20 km2)
  Land10.17 sq mi (26.35 km2)
  Water0.72 sq mi (1.86 km2)
860 ft (262 m)
  Density2,737.93/sq mi (1,057.15/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
55421, 55432
Area code(s)763
FIPS code27-22814[4]
GNIS feature ID0643953[5]
WebsiteCity of Fridley

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.89 square miles (28.20 km2), of which 10.17 square miles (26.34 km2) is land and 0.72 square miles (1.86 km2) is water.[7]

The city is within a narrow portion of the southernmost part of Anoka County. It is longer North/South along the path of the Mississippi River, and the highways that follow the river. It is narrower East/West in the portion between the boundaries of the Mississippi River and the City of Spring Lake Park.

The city of Fridley borders the cities of Coon Rapids and Blaine to the north; Spring Lake Park to the northeast; Mounds View and New Brighton to the east; Columbia Heights to the southeast; Minneapolis to the southwest; and Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center to the West.

Lakes in Fridley include East Moore Lake, West Moore Lake, and Locke Lake. Rice Creek flows through the central part of the city,[8] Springbrook Creek flows through the northwest section, and the Mississippi River borders Fridley to the west. Portions of islands in the Mississippi River, including the Islands of Peace and Banfill Island are within the borders of the city.


Fridley shares its climate with nearby Minneapolis. It has a hot-summer humid continental climate zone (Dfa in the Köppen climate classification),[9] typical of southern parts of the Upper Midwest, and is situated in USDA plant hardiness zone 4b.[10][11][12] As is typical in a continental climate, the difference between average temperatures in the coldest winter month and the warmest summer month is great: 60.1 °F (33.4 °C).


19th Century

The post-European/American settlement history of Fridley begins with the construction of the Red River Ox Cart Trail in 1844.[13] The trail traveled through Minnesota Territory from St. Paul to Pembina in present day North Dakota). The road was used to transport furs to the south and other various supplies to the Red River Valley settlers in the north. The East River Road (Anoka County Highway 1) follows this route today within Fridley, from the border with Minneapolis to the border with Coon Rapids.

In 1847, John Banfill became the first settler in the area, which was known at the time as Manomin. Manomin is a variant spelling of manoomin, the Ojibwe word for wild rice, a staple of their diet. It comprised the modern-day municipalities of Columbia Heights, Fridley, Hilltop, and Spring Lake Park.

The area soon grew quickly in size. In 1851, Banfill platted the actual town of Manomin. There, a general store and sawmill were built next to Rice Creek, named after Henry Mower Rice, a settler who just two years earlier had acquired a lot of land in the area. In 1853, the first town post office was in operation, and a year later, a ferry crossing the Mississippi River was established.

In 1855, Abram M. Fridley, for whom the city is named, was elected as the first territorial representative for the area.

In 1857, the area separated from Ramsey County; Manomin County was established, and it became the smallest county in the United States, having only 18 sections. This distinction was short-lived, after it was annexed by Anoka County in 1870 and became a township with the same name.

The Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad, which joined St. Paul to St. Anthony across from Minneapolis in 1862, began extending rail to Anoka, reaching it through Fridley in 1864.[14][15][16]

In 1879, the Minnesota State Legislature, of which Abram M. Fridley was still a member, changed the township's name to bear his last name.

20th Century

In 1949, the Fridley Township was incorporated as the Village of Fridley.[17] The Fridley Free Press was also established. A lawsuit that challenged the incorporation of the village caused the funds to be frozen. Minnesota state law allowed cities to operate municipal liquor stores following the end of Prohibition. The Fridley Liquor store proceeds were the primary funding for the daily city operations until the lawsuit was resolved in 1950. In Minnesota there are both private liquor stores or city-owned municipal liquor stores.[18] Fridley is the location of the headquarters of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association (MMBA), a lobbying coalition for municipalities with city-owned liquor stores. In conjunction with the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, they lobbied against Sunday liquor store sales in Minnesota until it was finally permitted in 2017.

In 1957, the village became as the City of Fridley, a "home rule charter city". The City Hall at 6431 University Avenue Northeast is dedicated with fire station, city services and council meetings. A newer fire station is built in 1964.

1965 flood and tornadoes

Two of the worst disasters to hit the city happened within weeks of each other. In April 1965, all of Minnesota was affected by a "500 year flood". The spring 1965 flood on the Upper Mississippi is still the flood of record for from about 100 miles north of Minneapolis, Minnesota to Hannibal, Missouri. The crests of that April exceeded previous records by several feet at many river gauge sites. Those record crests still exceed the second highest crest by a foot or more at many of those same sites.[19] An ice jam rising 24 feet over the river broke up when it rammed a series of ice breakers above the Sartell Dam.[20] The Riverview Heights area where Springbrook creek enters the river was severely flooded.

On May 6, 1965, Fridley was hit by two F4 tornadoes.[21] One out of every four homes in the city was destroyed or damaged. The second twister that hit was the deadliest storm in Twin Cities history (see 1965 Twin Cities tornado outbreak), which killed a total of 13 people.[22] Portions of the City Hall and Fire Station were damaged.[17]

In 1967 the new Civic Center Building opens at the City Hall location with a plaza located to the south. This building was remodeled in 1989.[17] The building was demolished in 2019.

Springbrook Nature Center and Springbrook Tornado

In 1970, Fridley began purchasing land which would become the Springbrook Nature Center. On July 18, 1986, a widely photographed tornado spent 16 minutes in Springbrook Nature Center, destroying thousands of century old trees and extensive areas of mature forest habitat. Well-known aerial footage of the tornado was filmed by a KARE 11 television news helicopter passing through the area.[23]

21st Century

In 2001, Medtronic opened its new World Headquarters on the site of the 100 Twin Drive-in at Interstate 694 and Minnesota Highway 65.[25] As of 2019, it is still the Operational Headquarters for the Medtronic, PLC, which re-organized as an Irish Company in 2015.

On June 19, 2003, President George W. Bush visited the Micro Controls company in Fridley. He was promoting one of the tax relief changes made during his administration.[26][27] He flew into Minnesota for only a few hours on Air Force One before returning to Washington.

In the early 2000s, the Minnesota Sports Cafe was a notable venue for Mixed martial arts competitions. Fighters who have claimed victories in Fridley include Sean Sherk, Nick Thompson (fighter), Brock Larson, Marcus LeVesseur, Brian Ebersole, and Harry Moskowitz.

On September 21, 2005, Fridley was struck by straight-line winds exceeding 80 mph (130 km/h), toppling many old growth trees as large as 2.5 feet (0.76 m) in diameter and in turn, destroying dozens of homes and several vehicles. Cleanup efforts took as long as a week, leaving hundreds of residents stranded in their homes without power, unable to drive until streets were cleared of debris. This same storm also affected Brooklyn Center, New Brighton, Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, Spring Lake Park and Blaine, as well as other communities in the surrounding North Metro area.

Fridley has one of the first six stations of the Northstar Commuter Rail line connecting the northwest suburbs and downtown Minneapolis; the line opened in November 2009.[28]

On July 17, 2011, heavy rains caused a washout of the BNSF rail bridge over Rice Creek. A train derailed there, and sent hopper cars containing corn into the creek.[29] Traffic was rerouted for several days. In 2013, a Jury awarded damages from BNSF to the engineer and conductor of the train.[30]

The Columbia Arena, filming location for the Disney Movie D3: The Mighty Ducks, was demolished in 2016 to make way for a new City Hall[31] It was a controversial issue in that it was expected to cost $50 million and increase homeowner taxes by nineteen percent[32] The Fridley Civic Campus dedication at 7071 University Avenue NE was held on November 17, 2018.[33] The staff had moved from the previous city hall over Veteran's day weekend and began working there on November 12. The City Council approved the project in December 2016 after nearly three years of studies, meetings and workshops. The council raised the levy to pay for the project, increasing city taxes by about 16 percent for the average homeowner.[34] A number of other Twin Cities suburbs updated their civic facilities during a 2018 "building boom of sorts", including Eagan, New Hope, Minnetonka, and Burnsville.[35]


Fridley is home to the Operational (formerly World)[36] Headquarters of Ireland-based Medtronic plc. Medtronic also has a substantial Rice Creek business campus. Other major employers in Fridley include BAE Systems (formerly United Defense), Cummins, Unity Medical Center, part of the Allina Healthcare system, part of the Mercy Hospitals, Minco Products, Inc, Kurt Manufacturing Company, and Park Construction Company. Fridley is also home to a Target Stores retail distribution center. Magnum Research, a company that produces the Desert Eagle firearm, had its headquarters in Fridley until 2010.

Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul draw their municipal water supplies from the Mississippi River at Fridley. The City of Minneapolis Waterworks plant and Fire Department training facility are within the city of Fridley.

In the 2000 Census data, there were 11,542 more jobs in Fridley than the number of workers age 16 and over.[37] However, most Fridley residents work outside of Fridley. The most common place of employment for Fridley residents is not Fridley. It is other cities in Hennepin County and, secondly, Minneapolis. Only 21% of the 15,221 Fridley residents in the work force in 2000 were actually working in Fridley’s borders. Fridley saw a decline in the number of jobs from 26,763 in 2000 to 23,845 in 2006 according to the city economic plan report.[37]

Largest employers

According to the city's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[38] the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Medtronic 3,003
2 Cummins 1,700
3 Unity Hospital 1,037
4 Target 842
5 BAE Systems 637
6 Minco Products 517
7 Walmart 294
8 Kurt Manufacturing 233
9 Lofthouse Bakery 215
10 Parsons Electric 100


The public schools in Fridley are governed by Fridley Independent School District 14. Fridley High School, Fridley Middle School, Hayes Elementary School, and Stevenson Elementary School comprise the district. In 1978, Fridley closed three elementary schools due to declining enrollment: Gardena, Riverwood, and Parkview.[39] The Riverwood Elementary school was demolished and single family homes were developed. The Parkview Elementary school became the Fridley Community center. The Gardena Elementary school location is now the Al-Amal school. The Rice Creek Elementary school was a fourth school closed later and demolished like Riverwood, single family homes were developed. After the 1965 Tornado, students at Parkview had to double up at the Riverwood school while it was being rebuilt.

Totino-Grace High School, a private Roman Catholic high school, Calvin Christian High School, a private Christian high school, and Al-Amal School, a private Islamic K-12 school, are also located in Fridley.

A small portion of the northern part of Fridley lies within the Anoka-Hennepin School District 11. Students living in an area of eastern Fridley are in the Columbia Heights School District 13. North Park elementary school is located in Fridley. Most of the students living in the north-northeastern part of the city are in Spring Lake Park School District 16.[40]

Parks and recreation

Fridley is home to the 127-acre (0.51 km2) Springbrook Nature Center park and nature reserve on its northern border with Coon Rapids. The total Fridley city park space is 316 acres (1.28 km2).[41] There are baseball and softball diamonds, football and soccer fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts for sports. In the winter there are outdoor skating rinks with warming houses. The western border of Fridley comprises the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Portions of islands within the recreation area are within the Fridley city limits.

Fridley has the following Anoka County parks within the city:

  • Manomin County Park (Rice Creek where it enters the Mississippi River and Locke Lake)
  • Rice Creek West/Locke Park and Regional Trail (Rice Creek)
  • Islands of Peace County Park (Mississippi River)
  • Anoka County Riverfront Regional Park (Mississippi River)


Interstate 694 and Minnesota State Highways 47 and 65 are three of the main routes in the city. East River Road is one of the oldest roads in the state as a Minnesota Territorial road.[42] It was part of the Red River Oxcart Trail. The I-694 Bridge is the only crossing of the Mississippi River that connects the city directly.

The BNSF Railway main Northern transcontinental Twin Cities to Portland/Seattle double track line passes through Fridley as part of the Staples Subdivision.[43][44] The Fridley Station is served by the Northstar Commuter Rail line running on the BNSF tracks into Minneapolis. The Amtrak Empire Builder passes through Fridley twice daily on this line, but does not stop within the city.[45] The massive BNSF Northtown Classification Yards are located in the city.[45] The Minnesota Commercial Railway also serves Fridley, with a terminal warehouse located there.

The Mississippi River is non-navigable for barge traffic north of the Canadian Pacific Camden Place Rail Bridge; however, small boats can travel upstream to the Coon Rapids Dam without a portage. There is a boat landing for small boats in the river near Interstate 694 at the Anoka County Riverfront Regional Park.[46]

The Anoka County–Blaine Airport serves the area and is located in neighboring Blaine.


Fridley has the nickname "Friendly Fridley".[47][48] The nickname was spread further by a long-running series of advertisements on various radio stations for a local car dealer. The announcer would direct people to "Friendly Chevrolet up in Friendly Fridley".

The city festival is named "49'er" days, which commemorates the 1949 incorporation. It is usually held in mid June.[49]

Sister city


Historical population
Est. 201827,742[3]2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[51]
2015 Estimate[52]
Historical population
U.S. Census for Fridley Township[51]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 27,208 people, 11,110 households, and 7,057 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,675.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,032.9/km2). There were 11,760 housing units at an average density of 1,156.3 per square mile (446.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.2% White, 11.1% African American, 1.2% Native American, 4.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.4% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.3% of the population.

There were 11,110 households of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.4% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.5% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.

The median age in the city was 37.1 years. 23.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 25.6% were from 45 to 64; and 14.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.

2000 census

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 27,449 people, 11,328 households, and 7,317 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,701.3 people per square mile (1,043.1/km²). There were 11,504 housing units at an average density of 1,132.1 per square mile (437.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.65% White, 3.42% African American, 0.82% Native American, 2.89% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.23% from other races, and 2.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.56% of the population.

There were 11,328 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,372, and the median income for a family was $55,381. Males had a median income of $38,100 versus $29,997 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,022. About 5.3% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.


Fridley has a Council-manager government. Scott Lund is the current Mayor, first elected in 2000.

Fridley is located in Minnesota's 5th congressional district, represented by Ilhan Omar a Democrat.. Ilhan became the first Somali American elected to the United States Congress. She was one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.[53] Omar is also the first Somali American elected to Congress, and the first woman of color to serve as a U.S. Representative from Minnesota.[54] She replaced Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress.

Notable people


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