Maple Lake exists on its current site because of one principal reason--it is where the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad laid its tracks and put a depot. Pioneer James Madison and railway official W. D. Washburn agreed on a land split and platting of the town.
This method of agreement with a land owner was not unusual in the days of building the railroads west. It was probably the primary source of wealth for the railroad owners. Annandale, our neighbor to the west, was settled in the same manner. Silver Creek Township was offered a railroad depot near the present site of Hasty if they would put up a $1,000 bonus. They declined and the northern part of that township never fully developed.
In 1886, the tracks reached Maple Lake and a depot was built, giving access to nationwide markets and telegraph news. Mr. J. E. Starr, of Wabasha, Mn. was brought in as Depot Agent. In 1889, R. M. Glynn took over as agent and enthusiastically joined in the development of the new village. Glynn married pioneer Madigan’s daughter, Anna Clare, and signed the petition of incorporation. As with many early agents, he was deeply involved in the community.
Rail transportation made Maple Lake a trade center and gave the farmers of Maple Lake a new cash crop to sell--wood. Prior to the coming of the railroad, farmers clearing the land would dispose of the wood by burning huge piles of downed trees at one time. By March of 1891, it was stated in news accounts that wood hauling was the chief pursuit of the day. There were over 2,000 logs at the mill yard and they were still coming in. The railroad also gave the farmers access to grain and stock markets that they never had before. In 1891, the grain elevators were full to the brim, and the grain was waiting to be loaded into the freight cars. It was claimed
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