Cottage Grove was platted in 1871. The Precolumbian Schilling Archeological District, 1850 Grey Cloud Lime Kiln, 1871 John P. Furber House, and 1917 Cordenio Severance House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cottage Grove is approximately ten miles southeast of Minnesota’s Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accessed by U.S. Highway 61 and Interstate 494.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.48 square miles (97.07 km2); 33.62 square miles (87.08 km2) is land and 3.86 square miles (10.00 km2) is water.
The city has more land adjacent to the Mississippi River than any other city in Minnesota. The city is also bordered by Woodbury on the north, Hastings on the south, St. Paul Park on the west and Denmark Township on the east. The city is approximately half an hour at posted speeds from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It is about 15 minutes from the Wisconsin border. The city has a business park with over 25 businesses located on the southwest part of town.
The median income for a household in the city was $65,825, and the median income for a family was $68,935 (these figures had risen to $79,342 and $84,185 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $45,567 versus $31,232 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,348. About 1.8% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.5% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.
3M has been operating a production facility in Cottage Grove since 1947 to manufacture adhesive products, industrial polymers, and reflective road sign materials, and for research and development. PFC production began as a pilot around 1947; full-scale commercial PFOA production began in 1976 and was phased out in 2002. The site is part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Superfund program for perfluorochemical contamination.
Arts and culture
Annual cultural events
Cottage Grove’s annual Strawberry Fest draws thousands of residents together to celebrate. This event is held at Kingston Park usually in the second week of June. A parade occurs the Saturday of the festival, in which many organizations or businesses can have a float, throw out candy, and advertise their organization. On the Saturday of the festival, usually after the parade, there are booths of organizations or businesses that advertise in the soccer fields of Kingston Park. They hand out free things and talk to the residents of Cottage Grove about their businesses. There are fireworks on the Saturday of the festival which occur around ten pm. There are many carnival games, rides, and food. Every night of the festival, excluding Sunday night, many types of bands play in the Kingston parking lot. Alcohol is allowed but only in a designated area.
Museums and other points of interest
Historic places include Historic Cedarhurst Mansion, Schilling Archeological District, Atkinson Cemetery, Cottage Grove Town Hall, Old People’s Home of the Northwest Cemetery, Grey Cloud Lime Kiln, Historic John P. Furber House, Historic Dr. Arthur H. Steen House, Historic First Congregational Church (Accacia Lodge No. 51), Historic William W. Furber House, Cottage Grove Cemetery, Historic Harry Roberts House, Lamar Avenue Larch Trees, and Hope Glen Farm.
In 2013, Cottage Grove opened a splash pad at Highland Park off of 70th street. This is a smaller water attraction intended for smaller children. It has many sprinklers that shoot water. Several other splash pads in the Cottage Grove area are expected to open at other parks.
Cottage Grove has an 18-hole disc golf course located at Oak Wood park behind Ruby Tuesday. The course contains a variety of different length holes and also has women’s tees, so it is perfect for people of all skill and age types.
Cottage Grove had one of the two remaining drive-in theaters in operation in the Twin Cities area, the Cottage View Drive-In. It was located near the Innovation Road exit of Highway 61. The drive-in closed after the 2012 season, and was torn down. The land has now been occupied by a Wal-Mart, which opened in March 2014.
Cottage Grove is part of the South Washington County School District (Independent School District 833). In the district are four high schools (Park High, Woodbury High, East Ridge High, and Alternative Learning Center). Cottage Grove consists of Park High School and Alternative Learning Center (ALC). Within the district are four middle schools (Cottage Grove Middle School, Oltman Middle School, Lake Middle School, Woodbury Middle School). Cottage Grove consists of only Cottage Grove Middle School. There are also 16 elementary schools throughout the school district. Cottage Grove has six of the elementary schools: Armstrong Elementary, Cottage Grove Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Grey Cloud Elementary, Hillside Elementary, and Pine Hill Elementary. East Ridge High School is the newer of the high schools, and opened in the fall of 2009, serving students in grades nine through eleven. East Ridge opened to twelfth graders in 2010. Students from Woodbury and Cottage Grove who live in the designated area go to East Ridge instead of their older high school.
The Park High mascot was once the Indians; however, in 1993 this was changed to the Wolfpack. Cottage Grove Junior High was constructed in 1995 and renamed Cottage Grove Middle School in the summer of 2009; its mascot is now a cougar.
Seth Appert, men’s varsity ice hockey coach at Rensselaer Polytecnic Institute
Joseph W. Furber, Minnesota legislator
Walter R. Hanson, Minnesota state legislator
Sam Jacobson, former NBA player; born in Cottage Grove
Kerry Ligtenberg, former MLB pitcher; attended high school in Cottage Grove
Manila Luzon, entertainer and runner-up on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race
Seann William Scott, actor