By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota isn’t generally known for its heights, except maybe by name. Mendota, Inver Grove, Columbia, Falcon, Vadnais, Oak Park — all are towns that ends with Heights.

That had Carrie from Champlin wanting to know: Why do we have so many towns called Heights? Good Question.

Many of these towns were named in the early to mid-1900s when few people actually wrote down why the name was chosen. But, historians have made some educated guesses.

Could it be geography? In some cases, perhaps. Each of the towns’ elevations are right in line with the elevations of the towns around them.

According to Columbia Heights city manager Walter Fehst, the town was named because it resembled a city in New York state, but also because the area near Hilltop Park is one of the highest points in the redoing.

Mendota Heights officials also point to the fact that the town is built on a bluff.

But, for the four other cities, if it’s not elevation, then what it is?

Marketing, say officials from each of the other towns. Back from towns were trying to attract people to move away from the cities, adding “Heights” was a way imply a place was fancier that the places surrounding it.

As Minnesota historian Mary Wingerd put it, “So much more appealing than Inver Grove Depths!”

Heather Brown

  1. Robert Bohrer says:

    You are correct in saying branding is important is adding Heights to the name of your city. In the case of Inver Grove Heights, when the city was incorporated in 1965, the town fathers wanted to separate the finances from the historically bad finances of the Village of Inver Grove. This story appears in the History of Inver Grove Heights edited by Lois Glewwe published in 1990 for the 25th anniversary of the incorporating of the city.
    The story for Mendota Heights which was incorporated as a city in 1956. Mendota’s history is very important to Minnesota but it’s recent, 1940 to 1960; history is seedy and colorful. The city fathers wished to draw a distinction between Mendota and the brand new Mendota Heights.
    Robert Bohrer at

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