In 1850, a group of families ventured from St. Paul along an Indian trail that is now Hazelwood Street. They were the Bells, Caseys, Conlins and Vincents. At today’s County Road C, they turned to the east and began to build their log cabins. The sound of their axes alerted the Dakota who had a hunting camp nearby and thought the land was still theirs. The Dakota asked them to leave and the newcomers quickly retraced their steps.
The settlers made repeated attempts to claim the land they had bought for two dollars per acre from the Federal government. Finally in 1853, after the Ojibwa defeated the Dakota at Battle Creek, the former allowed the pioneers to build their cabins. About this same time, southern Maplewood was first settled when Thomas Carver began farming in 1852 to the west of Carver Lake. The first organized transportation in this area was a stagecoach line that ran north along Edgerton Street and Desoto Street from St Paul to Duluth. This line was started in 1856 and the cost for a 36 hour, 156 mile trip was 10 dollars. The line remained in service until the first railroad was completed from St Paul to Duluth in 1870.
In 1877 it was reorganized as the St Paul and Duluth Railroad and in 1900 it was acquired by the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1884-86, the Wisconsin Central Railroad built a line from St Paul to Wisconsin that intersected with the St Paul and Duluth Railroad at Lake Phalen Junction. Lake Phalen Junction was changed to Gladstone in 1887 when William and Mary Dawson purchased the adjacent land, platted a town site and predicted it to “rival St Paul”. The town site was named after William Gladstone, a popular British statesman of that time. Dawson relocated his St Paul Plow Works to the northeast corner of the railroad intersection and convinced the St Paul and Duluth Railroad to build their maintenance shops in the southwest corner. For a time, Gladstone prospered and by the 1890’s, the businesses employed 1,000 workers. It had a post office, a hotel, at least two saloons, a brothel and a population of about 150. But Gladstone suffered a series of misfortunes that lead to its demise. First, a fire destroyed the Plow Works in 1892. The company rebuilt but in 1896, the major stockholder, William Dawson, filed for bankruptcy. In 1903, the plant reopened under the name Poirier Manufacturing Company but it declared bankruptcy in 1908. In 1910, the railroads changed the name of the depot to Gloster to avoid confusion with Gladstone, Michigan but locals continued to call the area Gladstone. The last straw for Gladstone’s industries was when the railroad shops closed around 1917. Gladstone became a semi-ghost town by the 1920’s with many people leaving for jobs elsewhere. The price of houses dropped and the burning of houses to collect insurance money became a regular occurrence. Trains still operated and some residents commuted to work in downtown St Paul. The depot continued in operation through the 1950’s.
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