The Pioneers (1850-1900)

Discovery of Lake Independence

Settlers from Lake Minnetonka discovered Lake Independence on July 4, 1854:

      “On July 4, 1854, James and Frank Maxwell, Asa Kelly and Kelsey Hinman, settlers near Maxwell Bay, set out on an exploring tour. They soon came across an Indian trail which they followed in a northwesterly direction. Shortly they ran across an Indian canoe on the dry land. This could only mean that water was nearby. Very soon the trail led them to a large silvery sheet of water which they named Lake Independence in honor of the day on which they had discovered it. On the shore of the lake they found an abandoned Winnebago hut. On the south shore, where the land was marshy, was the outlet of the lake. Here was a stream which they named Pioneer Creek. At one point they found rapids, which later became a source of water power.”

Credit:  “History, 1868-1968, Maple Plain and Independence”, written by members of the Maple Plain Garden Club, published in 1968. 

© 2020 by Robin Reid. Created with

DISCLAIMER: I have collected information from a variety of sources, some verifiable, some anecdotal. I've made every effort to ensure accurate information but I can't promise that all of the content is factual. If you recognize any errors, please let me know. Thank you.