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Elk River is a city in Sherburne Countymarker, Minnesotamarker, United Statesmarker, about 34 miles northwest of Minneapolismarker. It is situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk Rivers. The population was 16,447 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Sherburne Countymarker . The city's population exceeded 20,000 as of 2005. Elk River is an outer-ring suburb of the Twin Citiesmarker.

U.S. Highways 10 and 169 and State Highway 101 are three of the main arterial routes, and a station on the Northstar Commuter Rail line to downtown Minneapolis is located in the city.


Zebulon Pike passed through the area on his 1805 exploration of the upper Mississippi River and named the Elk River after the herds of animals he saw. The area was not settled by Europeans until David Faribault built a trading post near the confluence of the Elk and Mississippi Rivers in 1846. The post was later sold to Pierre Bottineau. The site was a good location for trading not just because of the rivers, but also because of the proximity of the Red River Trail.

In 1851, Ard Godfrey, a native of Orono, Maine, saw the potential of the water power of the Elk River and built a dam and a sawmill. His dam created the first lobe of Lake Orono (called the Mill Pond), which extended from the present day dam to Orono Cemetery Point. In 1855 the area by the dam was platted and the town of Orono (know as Upper Town) was created.

In the last 18 years, the population of the city had increased from just over 11,000 in 1990 to over 23,000 today. The city council has planned for a city with about 35,000 in the next 20–30 years.

Downtown Revitalization Project

Gateway to River's Edge Commons Park, Downtown
The Elk River city council finalized their plans for several major construction projects in 2005, two of which will be known as The Bluffs of Elk River and Jackson Place. The stated goals of the Downtown Revitalization Project are to enhance downtown Elk River's role as a residential, commercial and retail area, as well as to revitalize commercial interest in the downtown area. As of 2009, the project has not reached its goals. A majority of the retail and commercial space still remains vacant.Construction was completed in 2007.

Recently, work on the River's Edge Commons Park located within the downtown section of Elk River has been completed, and to celebrate the park's opening the park played host to various local musicians and bands.


The city of Elk River is a busy city when it comes to traffic, particularly on weekends in the summer and fall as vacationers and hunters head north to their cabins.

U.S. Highway 10 and U.S. Highway 169 have their northwest juncture in Elk River, with the two highways concurrent for 12 miles until Anokamarker to the southeast. U.S. 10 continues northwesterly toward St. Cloudmarker, and U.S. 169 continues due north toward Mille Lacs Lakemarker from Elk River.

State Highway 101 has its northern terminus at the U.S. 10 / U.S. 169 split in Elk River, and is a major route connecting these highways with Interstate Highway 94, seven miles to the south.

Many residents of Elk River commute to the Twin Citiesmarker daily for work; it is roughly a 40-mile drive to Minneapolis. Elk River Stationmarker is served by the Northstar Commuter Rail line connecting the northwest suburbs and downtown Minneapolismarker; the line opened in November 2009.

For travel within the city, there is an on-demand bus service available called RiverRider.


Elk River is served by two 9th to 12th high schools, Elk River High School and Spectrum High School, and two middle schools, Salk Middle School and VandenBerge Middle School, both of which serve 6th to 8th grades. Lincoln Elementary, Parker Elementary, Meadowvale Elementary and Twin Lakes Elementary serve kindergarten to 5th grade.Elk River is also served by a private school. Paid for mostly by parishioners, St. Andrew's Catholic School currently teaches Kindergarten through 6th Grade.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 43.8 square miles (113.5 km²), of which, 42.7 square miles (110.5 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.0 km²) of it (2.67%) is water. The city's latitude and longitude are 45.313601° N and 93.5814° W.

It is bordered on the south by the Mississippi River.


As of the census of 2000, there were 16,447 people, 5,664 households, and 4,400 families residing in the city. Recent estimates show the population at 21,329 as of 2005. The population density was 385.5 people per square mile (148.9/km²). There were 5,782 housing units at an average density of 135.5/sq mi (52.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.18% White, 0.44% African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.33% of the population. 39.0% were of German, 14.7% Norwegian, 7.7% Swedish and 6.8% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 5,664 households out of which 45.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.7% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 17.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.3% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 100.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,114, and the median income for a family was $65,471. Males had a median income of $43,230 versus $30,023 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,808. About 2.5% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.

The median house/condo value in 2005 was estimated to be $242,400 (67% increase from 2000).

Notable current and former residents


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