Hermantown Community Information

Community Information

The history of Hermantown is a story of independent people interacting with big government. Its beginnings started with August Kohlts, a pioneer, who was granted the first homestead in the Town of Herman in 1872, after living on the land for five years. After being granted the land, he and a friend hauled building supplies to his designated land, west of the Midway Road. They hitched two St. Bernard dogs to a homemade wagon and followed a crooked trail – now the Hermantown and Five Corners Roads – through the woods where August established his homestead. This was the first year the county received the taxes from Hermantown.

By the turn of the 19th century, Hermantown had a population of 625. A rail passenger service was introduced starting in Adolph heading into Duluth. In 1897, Hermantown had its first land boom, the result of rumors that the government would be building a new seaway connecting Duluth with the East Coast.

In 1907, the township had grown by 300 people, built three new two-room schools, had a town hall and started a carrier mail service. The township also saw economic growth with several sawmills and dairies. These dairies used the Hermantown Ice Company, which cut ice from Mogie Lake, to keep their products cold. This growth in Hermantown was set back by the great forest fire of 1918. The fire left little standing – the schools, town hall and one church. With help from the Red Cross, the town was quickly rebuilt.

Hermantown’s population saw a boost when a new wave of homesteaders came to the area during the hard times of the Depression. The government built “subsistence homestead” projects designed to move people trapped in poverty in cities to new homes in rural or suburban locations. One of the two Minnesota projects was assigned to Hermantown, the Jackson Project. These homes were completed in 1937 with 84 homesteads of brick veneer and five or ten acres of land.

On February 11, 1975 the Municipal Commission declared that the Town of Herman could become the City of Hermantown on December 31 of that year. Forty years later, the City of Hermantown is growing and expanding with a population of 9,605 occupying 34.35 square miles.