A Valentine’s Day to remember: Woodbury organized as village in 1967Local government back in the 1960s saw rapid growth that they needed the township to officially become a village, elect a City Council, build a city hall and start approving those ordinances.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
It wasn’t just in the 1990s that Woodbury started developing fast.
Local government back in the 1960s saw rapid growth that they needed the township to officially become a village, elect a City Council, build a city hall and start approving those ordinances.
On Valentine’s Day in 1967, a petition was drawn to incorporate the township into a village, according to “Woodbury: A Past to Remember,” a book by the Heritage Society.
The proposal was ratified by the residents at an election on Feb. 14, 1967, and the first Village Council was elected less than two months later.
That ushered in the first mayor of Woodbury, Orville Bielenberg, along with council members at large: Stanley Olander, Fred Strong, Robert Wolterstorff and Francis Sheppard.
The incorporation into a village brought ordinances and building codes as well as a clerk, police officer and police chief.
Before any of it happened, the township was merely an area of farmers who settled here from Germany beginning in the 1800s.
Wayne Schilling remembers the town back when it was all farmland, including hundreds of acres that his family owned. His four generation family has been living and farming in Woodbury since 1856.
“There was quite a number of German farmers that came here in 1854 and 1855 and 1856,” said Schilling, who’s also president of the Woodbury Heritage Society. “They came up the Mississippi river.”
Back then Woodbury was broken into 36 sections, according to the Heritage Society, with varied and scenic topography.
Old settlers knew the lakes by different names. Fish Lake, now called Powers Lake, Payton’s Lake is now Markgraf’s and Brookman’s Lake became Wilmes Lake.
In the late 1960s and 70s, the village ordinances required dedication of land and park purposes from the developers.
According to the Heritage Society, a bond issue proposal for the purchase of open space park-land was presented to the people in June of 1974.
A $395,000 bond issue was approved, which made it possible to purchase about 95 acres of additional park land for the residents.
Some of those funds were also used to construct an activity building at Ojibway Park.
Rapid development also required space for a public works building to house maintenance equipment.
In 1966, the first public works building was constructed on Tower Drive, but equipment quickly outgrew the facility.
The building, where the city would also conduct business, didn’t provide enough space. So city offices were moved to the Howard Rode house located on the property of the new Woodbury High School.
Then in 1974, residents supported an $890,000 bond issue to construct an addition to the Public Works building and a new City Hall.
The space, which was located on a 35-acre lot at the intersection of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road, provided room for the police, fire and administrative offices.
This City Hall was dedicated Sept. 21, 1975, approximately 100 years after the construction of the first town hall, the book states.