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All About Lake Elmo, MN

Lake Elmo MN

Lake Elmo MNLake Elmo is a smaller, rural community located about 15 miles northeast of downtown St. Paul. Lake Elmo has intentionally stayed a smaller, rural community, but has plans for strong growth over the next two decades, including development of the Historic Old Village area.


Lake Elmo’s first residence was a farm built in 1852 on the southwest corner of the intersection of what is now Manning Avenue and 30th Street, just southeast of downtown Lake Elmo and across the highway from the Lake Elmo Airport. The original settlers of the are in the 1850’s built a hotel, tavern, and stage stop, known as the Lake House, south of Sunfish Lake on the first road to be surveyed through the township. The original name of the lake was Bass Lake, but was changed to Lake Elmo in 1879 by a railroad promoter who thought the name Lake Elmo sounded better than Bass Lake. Lake Elmo was a popular summer resort due to it’s access to the railroad lines. This lasted until the 1890’s when streetcars in Minneapolis and St. Paul extended their lines to the lakes. Unfortunately for Lake Elmo, the streetcar line to Stillwater was run through Mahtomedi, which became the new resort area. Lake Elmo, which had to depend upon railroads and stage coaches, lost popularity as a result.

In 1925 the small commercial village incorporated as Lake Elmo village. Lake Elmo was originally part of Oakdale Township until 1951 when Oakdale Township split into Oakdale and East Oakdale. The modern day Lake Elmo was created in 1971 when the village and East Oakdale Township combined to form the City of Lake Elmo.


The City of Lake Elmo has 25 distinct neighborhoods. The first neighborhood, Cimarron, was built in the 1960’s and was an ambitious task. The 500 lot neighborhood features affordable living with upscale amenities like a golf course, community room, swimming pool and recreational facilities.

Lake Elmo’s other neighborhoods include:

Carriage Station Discover Crossing
Farms of Lake Elmo Fields of St. Croix, Tana Ridge, Bluestem
Heritage Farms The Homestead
Lake Elmo Heights, Tablyn Park Midland Meadows, The Forest
The Old Village, Lake Elmo Avenue Parkview Estates, Cardinal View
St. Croix Sanctuary Stonegate
Tapestry, Hamlet and Sunfish Lake Torre Pines
Tri-Lakes Area Whistling Valley



The majority of students in Lake Elmo attend schools in the Stillwater School District (ISD# 834). A few neighborhoods have students that attend the North St. Paul, Maplewood, and Oakdale schools (ISD# 622) or the Mahtomedi schools (ISD# 832).

Things to Do

Lake Elmo is home to 2 large parks: Sunfish Lake and Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Sunfish Lake is 284 acres and has about 9 miles of trails. Lake Elmo Park Reserve is 2,165 acres with the goal to return the land to the way it was before it was settled in the 1800’s.

Lake Elmo has about 16 neighborhood parks that offer playgrounds, basketball courts, trails, ice rinks and much more. To see a full listing of the parks, please visit Lake Elmo’s website.

Restaurants, Retail and More

Lake Elmo is home to the Lake Elmo Inn and Event Center and the Machine Shed.

Lake Elmo is close to shopping areas in St. Paul, Stillwater and Woodbury.

If you are looking for a smaller community that is still close to St. Paul, then look no further than Lake Elmo! We have worked and lived in the area for 25+ years and can help you find a place to call home. Give us a call today!

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Resources used in this article include: City of Lake Elmo and Washington County Historical Society.