Hilltop, Minnesota

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Hilltop is a city in Anoka County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 766 at the 2000 census.

The city is a small enclave within the city of Columbia Heights and consists of 16 city blocks. Minnesota State Highway 65 (Central Avenue) serves as a main arterial route, running on the town's eastern edge.

The majority of the town's residents live in the 263 mobile homes, across four trailer parks, that sit within the city's borders. Hilltop is one of only two incorporated cities in America that consist primarily of manufactured housing; the second is another Twin Cities suburb of Landfall, Minnesota.[3]



The land where Hilltop exists was originally an unincorporated part of the Fridley Township, a civil township next to the town of Fridley. The land had a dairy farm and later was the Oak Grove Riding Academy and Stables. The first trailer park, Trailer City, opened on the land in the 1940s; another park, Sunnyside, soon opened next door. Residents of two trailer parks became concerned that the Township was planning to remove the mobile homes. In 1956, led by Trailer City Park owner Les Johnson, they approached neighboring Columbia Heights and requested to be annexed by the city. Columbia Heights turned down their request, so Johnson circulated a petition to have the residents vote on incorporation. The petition for incorporation passed smoothly, 137 to 34, and Hilltop was created.[3]

Columbia Heights soon annexed all the land surrounding Hilltop, and began to make antagonistic moves towards the young town, at one point threateningly to halt Hilltop's water and sewer service for punitive reasons. Another item of conflict was Hilltop's plan to issue liquor licenses, which would compete with Columbia Height's own municipal liquor store that accounted for a third of the city's operating budget. Instead of initially contracting with Columbia Heights, Hilltop opted to contract its fire protection from Fridley and establish its own police department by hiring a retired highway patrolman as police chief and three part-time officers. By 1959, tensions rose to the point where the Metropolitan Municipalities Commission, a predecessor of the Twin Cities-wide Metropolitan Council, asked the then-State Attorney General Walter Mondale to contest the Hilltop charter to the Minnesota Supreme Court.[3]

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