Boundaries & Landscape

White Bear Township is a uniquely configured community of 11 square miles separated by lakes and other communities into four distinct non-contiguous areas (PDF). In "White Bear: A History," author Catherine Carey asked the question, “Why is White Bear Township shaped the way it is?”
“This question has been asked hundreds of times," she says, "The answer is simple…there is no simple answer.”

The Township was originally surveyed in 1848. Like most townships, it was roughly platted into 36 one-mile sections. Legally known as the Town of White Bear, White Bear Township was formally organized at John Lamb’s Hotel on the north shore of Goose Lake on May 11, 1858 - the same day Minnesota became a state. As originally established, White Bear Township was one of six congressional townships in Ramsey County.

In more than 150 years, the Township has transcended from a farming community, a resort area and a freestanding town into a cluster of suburban communities within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Political boundary changes began in 1881 when Township residents who owned businesses in what is today’s downtown White Bear Lake voted to form a village. In 1921, residents of the Village of White Bear voted to incorporate as a city and White Bear Lake was born.

In the late 1950’s, three additional villages were formed out of the Township. North Oaks was created in 1956, Vadnais Heights began in 1957 and Gem Lake was formed in 1959. In 1974, all villages in Minnesota became cities by State law. Additional boundary adjustments occurred in the Township into the early 1970’s through a number of annexations. Today, the original township is divided into roughly four quadrants with the cities of North Oaks and Vadnais Heights occupying the western half and the community of White Bear Township together with the cities of White Bear Lake and Gem Lake in the eastern portion.

Source: "White Bear: A History," by Catherine Carey, 2008