Norwood Village was situated in Young America Township and located just south of the Village of Young America. It was surveyed in 1872 on land owned by Johaan Feldmann. With the event of the coming of the railroad, Norwood grew into a sizable community. When it was first platted, it was known as Young America Station for the railroad stop. In 1874, it was changed to Norwood in honor of the founder’s friend. In 1936 Oak Grove Creamery began bottling operations it grew to become one of the largest in the United States. Kemps purchased the business and closed the plant on May 3, 2004.
Young America Village was surveyed and platted in the fall of 1856 on land owned by R.M. Kennedy and James Slocum Jr. Stifftungsfest is celebrated every August and is the oldest community celebration in the State of Minnesota. The original name for the town was Farmington in 1858; it was changed to Florence and since 1863 has been known as Young America.
Becoming Norwood Young America
In 1994, Young America and Norwood merged into one community: Norwood Young America. As a combined city, Norwood Young America now has a population of 3,108.
The city of Norwood Young America had a unique beginning, two small towns in the mid 1800’s with only a mile separating them. Young America was founded first, in 1856 by James Slocum Jr. and Dr. R.M. Kennedy. Slocum came to St. Paul, MN in 1855; from there he took a steamboat to Carver and then following Indian trails to what we know today as north Norwood Young America. Early businesses were a saw and grist mill, general mercantile and brain businesses.
Slocum’s first choice of a name was Young America. In 1879 it was changed to Teuteberg. They later adopted the name Young America. By 1880 the population of Young America was 151.
About that time the Milwaukee Railroad was going to install tracks near Young America. Residents didn’t want to pay a bonus to have tracks laid, so the rail line moved a mile south. The original depot, built in 1872, was called Young America Station. Sensing a business opportunity Slocum and several townspeople re-established themselves near Young America Station.
As time passed Young America Station was incorporated in 1874 through special state legislation. Young America Station was renamed Norwood, after a friend and early settler of Slocum.
Slocum erected many buildings; a store, grain elevator and the Bank of Norwood. Slocum was also involved in building the Methodist Church (Church of the Maples) in 1876. He also was the postmaster for both cities. In 1888, he relocated to Minneapolis.
In 1974 a referendum to merge the two cities passed in Norwood, but not in Young America. The issue came up again in 1976, but didn’t have enough support to put it on the ballot.
In 1992 the idea was resurrected by the Norwood Young America Chamber of Commerce and the West Carver Partnership. These two groups offered to fund a study by two students from the University of Minnesota. In 1993 the study showed that a merger would be a great benefit to both cities.
Starting in 1995, committees were established to begin the Merger process. The committees studied several areas; Fire Department, Public Works, Waste Water Treatment Plant, Post Office, city buildings, Policing, etc. As committees had results public meetings were held to inform the residents and get imput.
In September of 1995, both City Councils decided that a combined majority of votes between both cities would determine if the Merger would pass, rather than counting votes separately in both cities as in the past. The question passed with the vote of 604 to 307.
During 1996, the City Councils met as one unit in order to plan a smooth transition to one city for employees and residents.
Elections the fall of 1996 set the new Mayor and Council of Norwood Young America. January 1, 1997 the new city of Norwood Young America began under the leadership for Mayor Michael McPadden, Council members: Robert Saarloss, Dorothy Bohnen, John Noll and LaVonne Kroells.