Many of the earliest settlers had French Canadian roots, but the town was named for Lyman Dayton, a New Englander from St. Paul, who owned a lot of land in the area and platted the town site. Dayton was a busy small town in the late 1880s, with a strategic position at the confluence of the Crow and Mississippi Rivers. A flour mill and saw mill were among the early industries. Dayton is split between Wright and Hennepin Counties.
The city of Ramsey has been through explosive growth in the past generation, going from 1,179 residents in 1960 to almost 24,000 in 2010. Virtually all of that growth has been residential, as Ramsey developed into a bedroom community for the Twin Cities. The city has been around for a while, though.
Once the site of a trading post, permanent settlers began arriving in 1852. Originally known as Itasca, the village was platted in 1852. It grew to include a hotel, coach stop, railroad station, and a post office. The village was busy enough to be in the running for the territorial capital, although it eventually lost out to St. Paul. Itasca was renamed Ramsey in 1858 in honor of the first territorial Governor, Alexander Ramsey. In 1974, the entire township of Ramsey incorporated as a city.
If you continue downriver, you enter the suburbs of the Twin Cities metro region (see the Twin Cities Overview page). On the east bank, the next community is Anoka. On the west bank, the next community is Champlin.
Next stop upriver: Elk River and Otsego.
© Dean Klinkenberg, 2015