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History of Anoka, Minnesota

Anoka, the county seat of Anoka County, is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Rum rivers about 17 miles upriver from Minneapolis. The land on which Anoka developed was considered a neutral ground between the Dakota and Ojibwa tribes. Anoka was settled in the 1840's and incorporated as a city in 1878. Logging began in the 1840's and the first dam on the Rum River was built in 1854. Waterpower from the Rum River led to the development of mills starting in 1855. In 1856, a ferry was established across the Mississippi, connecting Anoka with Champlain. This was replaced with a steel bridge in 1884. In 1898, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill to construct a state hospital in Anoka. The hospital is now known as the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center. In 1920, Anoka held what is regarded as the first "Halloween Festival" in the world, an event held annually ever since, except for two years during World War II. The city considers itself the "Halloween Capital of the World." Local history is on display at the Anoka County History Center. The Anoka County Colonial Hall Museum is located in a 1904 house. Anoka Technical College operates from three locations in the city.