By Michael Mitchell
Howard Lake village received its name from the beautiful body of water on which it is located.
It is said that the surveyors named this lake in honor of John Howard, the English philanthropist, and were most favorably impressed with its south shore as a desirable site for a future inland city.
The settlement of the village dates from 1855, when Morgan Cochran came here in the interests of a townsite company, employed to erect a house on Section 3, within the corporate limits, as a nucleus of a hamlet to be called Lynden.
He constructed the house and made ready for the platting, but the enthusiasm of the promoters died out. He received no pay, and decided to remain and secure the land for himself by pre-emotion. The townsite house which he erected also became the first schoolhouse, the first classes being held there in the winter of 1858-59.
The village attracted settlers rapidly. The beauty of the location, the fertility of the soil and the character of the early pioneers all tended to draw other people here.
Charles Goodsell bought out Cochran in 1863, and occupied the place as a farm until the railroad came through. In the spring of 1869 he platted the present townsite and improvements were started at once.
Several buildings were commenced in the spring of 1869. The Sherman House, which was long used as a hotel, a general store and a lumber and grist mill were all built about the same time. The lumber and flouring mill contributed much to the growth of the village.
In 1874, a new firm was built that manufactured barrel stock. The Jones Hotel was built in 1878, and two stave factories were erected, but each was destroyed by fire after a brief existence. In 1879, the People's Elevator was built and several years later was expanded, doubling its size.
The History Of Wright County, Vol. II0, published in 1915, stated that the Village of Howard Lake is especially fortunate in its location. Laid out on a plateau rising from the south shore of a beautiful body of water, and situated in the midst of one of the richest farming counties in the state. The village is located 47 miles west of Minneapolis, on the line of the Great Northern, and has a population of about 650. It has Presbyterian, Christian, Methodist and German Lutheran churches, two banks, a hotel, two grain elevators, two creameries, a nursery, flour mill, a brick plant and water works and a weekly newspaper. The principal shipments are nursery stock, grains and livestock.