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About Circle Pines

Circle Pines is a fully developed community located in the southern part of Anoka County, Minnesota, approximately 15 miles north of the Twin Cities. Circle Pines is a residential community with fields of oaks and elms scattered throughout the two square miles of the city. About one-third of Circle Pines is covered by wetland area. 

History of Circle Pines
In 1945, while lying in the shade of the trees at the picnic ground at Golden Lake after swimming V.S. Petersen sat up and announced "Ihave an idea".

V.S. Petersen found two men sympathetic to cooperative notions. They were Thomas Ellerbe, head of the engineering and architecture firm that did the Ramsey County Courthouse in St. Paul, and Paul Steenberg. Steenberg was president of Steenberg Construction Company that had built the Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota.

In May of 1946 the cooperative village of 1,203 acres was announced "to unite the habitation benefits of a functional and contemporary community with the economic advantages of a consumer's cooperative." Each home would front a park or a walkway. There would be adult education, nurseries, educational and recreational activities; and the commercial facilities and services would be owned cooperatively, as would the municipal utilities. The minimum housing costs within 3 specified areas were set at $4,000, $6,000, and $8,000. The maximum for a house was set at $20,000. Each buyer had to purchase at least one share in the cooperative, @ $100 per share.

If an owner decided to sell their home, the development association held the first option to buy. The terms were decided by a three-member panel representing the association, the owner and a neutral party. The developers anticipated construction of 500 homes in the first two years, and that it would take five years to complete the total project. The 3 developers planned to turn over control of the development to the homeowners upon completion. For every 500 homes sold, one of the sponsors' three votes would be transferred to the residents.

The symbol for cooperatives was a pine tree with a circle around it. Thus, the name Circle Pines was born. After only three years, the cooperative lifestyle was abandoned, in part because of problems in securing financing and rifts among leaders.

On April 8, 1950, the area, former territory in Blaine and Centerville townships, was incorporated as a village. In 1974, Circle Pines received city status.

With fields of oaks and elms scattered throughout the two-square mile city, its rural appearance can be deceiving. The number of homes (which many are placed close together) and businesses, give the community a more suburban-type of setting.

Circle Pines is the only suburban city that operates its own natural-gas distribution company- a result of its cooperative past. The system also serves a portion of Lino Lakes.

Portions  of the History of Circle Pines was written by Steve Lee, Circle Pines Resident.