In 1867 a pair of families moving from upstate New York filed for homesteads in the area that was referenced in early Duluth history as “the land up over the hill.” The Kohlts family and the Acker family joined the long-established Native Americans in the area in 1871.
While there isn’t clear documentation of how the township was named, records do indicate that it was referred to as the Town of Herman in 1873, and by the turn of the century the Town of Herman had a population of 625. Ten years later the township had grown by 300 people and now featured a trio of two-room schools and a town hall. There were several sawmills, an ice company carving ice from Mogie Lake, a slaughterhouse at the intersection of today’s Haines and Hermantown Roads, and carrier mail service.
The growth of Herman, like many communities in the area, was set back by the great forest fire of 1918. With the help of the Red Cross, community members worked to quickly rebuild, but the population was trimmed to 842 in 1920.
In the 1930s, the federal government created subsistence housing projects designed to move people trapped in poverty in larger cities to new homes in rural locations. Two communities were selected in Minnesota – Herman and Austin. Dubbed the Jackson Project, the nearly 90 homes were completed by 1937.
An additional wave of newcomers joined the township in the 1950s from Duluth, lured by lower taxes, country living space, and a strong school district. Expansion continued that decade, as new family housing units for members of the Air Force were built, as well as a brand new elementary school.
In 1974, the City of Duluth announced its intention to annex two-thirds of the township. At that point Herman, which was strongly against annexation, had already applied to be designated a city by the state of Minnesota. On February 11, 1975, the Municipal Commission declared that the Town of Herman could become the City of Hermantown on December 31 of that year.
Since that point, the City of Hermantown has grown to more than 10,000 residents and become well-known for its balance of country living and proximity to large-city amenities. Still centered around strong schools, Hermantown also features growing business opportunities, outdoor experiences, and a tight-knit community.
Over the past several years, Hermantown has been one of the few growing communities in northern Minnesota. This growth is due to the vast array of quality of experiences provided in the community, as well as forward-looking planning that continues to show a bright future for Hermantown.