Princeton, Minnesota

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Princeton is a city in Mille Lacs and Sherburne counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is located at the confluence of the Rum River and its West branch. The population was 3,933 at the 2000 census. A majority of residents live within Mille Lacs County.

U.S. Route 169 and Minnesota State Highway 95 are two of the main arterial routes in the city.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.5 km²), of which, 4.4 square miles (11.5 km²) of it is land and 0.23% is water.


In the winter of 1855 Samuel Ross, Jame W. Gillian, Dorilius Morrison, John S. Prince and Richard Chute platted the town of Princeton. The plat was officially recorded on April 19, 1856.[3] The town is traditionally thought to have been named in honor of John S. Prince. A lack of historical evidence directly supporting this claim has prompted an alternative theory that homesick New Englanders named the town in honor of Princeton, New Jersey.[4]


Princeton's location near the confluence of the Rum River and its West branch was critical to the town's development. In 1847 Daniel Stanchfield led an expedition to explore the Rum River.[3] The group discovered vast white pine forests upstream from the future site of Princeton along the Rum River, the West Branch Rum River, and their tributaries. Three sawmills were built in Princeton between 1856 and 1867. Lumbermen floated logs down the Rum River to the mills in Princeton, though most of the logs passed through Princeton to mills in Minneapolis.


Brick-making was another important industry in the Princeton area. The brick industry developed about two miles northeast of Princeton near beds of clay. A community known as Brickton formed in the location. From 1889 through the late 1920s several brickyards operated in Brickton, collectively producing as many as 20,000,000 bricks per year.[3] When the brick industry declined, Brickton ceased to exist. “Years after the last brick had been shipped from Brickton, specifications in contracts for construction of public buildings often stated that it should be of Princeton brick or of equally good quality.”[3]

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