The first settlers of Hopkins arrived in 1852, but the roots of the town begin in 1887 with the building of the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company, later called Minneapolis Moline. Minneapolis Moline once employed most of the Hopkins residents. The West Minneapolis Land Company was also founded in 1887, to build housing for the Minneapolis Moline factory workers.
In 1893, 41 residents submitted a petition to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, asking that the village be formed. Following an election, the community was then incorporated as the village of West Minneapolis.
The original village was comprised of three square miles, and it has been enlarged by annexation to its present size of about four square miles. The population at the time of its incorporation was 1,105.
In 1928, the name of the village was changed to Hopkins for Harley H. Hopkins, one of the first homesteaders and the community's first postmaster. The first mayor was Harley Hopkins' son, Chester L. Hopkins.
The Village of Hopkins adopted its City charter on December 2, 1947, effectively becoming the City of Hopkins.
Hopkins has always had a core business district, and in the center of that early business district was Hopkins City Hall at 8th Ave N and Mainstreet. Completed in 1912, it housed the city's police and jail in the rear portions, and city offices, library and meeting room upstairs. The fire station was on the main level, and the firefighters used horse drawn rigs. The building was remodeled in 1940 to accommodate more fire trucks.
That fire station was torn down in 1965 after a new City Hall, Police Station and Fire Station were built at 1010 1st St S. In 2004, a new Fire Station was built on 17th Ave. The Police Department was expanded and remodeled in 2005.
In the summer of 1982, the city and its Public Works Department accomplished the challenge of building a city garage on a small area, using as many of the existing structures as possible, doing it within a $475,000 budget, and doing it without disrupting city services. The Public Works facility was expanded and remodeled in 2004.
Adjacent to the Public Works facilities is the Hopkins Pavilion, which was built with money from a 1989 park bond referendum. The facility opened in December 1991. It is now one of the premier facilities of its kind in the Twin Cities area, and is used for soccer, lacrosse, in-line roller hockey, skating and ice hockey.
The Hopkins Activity Center, a multipurpose community facility, opened in January 1981 at the site of the former South Junior High School. A variety of programs for people of all ages are offered at the Activity Center. It was renovated in 1990, and the facility includes a gymnasium, meeting rooms and kitchen. The Hopkins Historical Society, which was started more than 24 years ago, also is located in the Activity Center.
The Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, opened in November 1997. The Arts Center stands as a focal point for arts, culture and entertainment in the Hopkins community, the Twin Cities metro area and the region. It is a community-gathering place where young and old can enjoy high quality, multi-disciplinary cultural arts programs and community activities. The Arts Center includes a theater, a visual arts gallery, multipurpose spaces for rehearsals, community activities and small performances, a visual arts classroom, a dance studio, and kitchen facilities for serving catered food.
The city of Hopkins, located 3 miles from Minneapolis, is about four square miles in size and is surrounded by the larger, west suburban communities of Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, and Edina. According to the 2010 Census, the city's population is 17,591 people. See detailed demographics.
Hopkins is about 98% developed with little remaining vacant land. It has been in a redevelopment mode for a number of years, and that will continue as City leaders look for ways to maintain, preserve, and improve this historic community.
The Hopkins Historical Society's book Hopkins: Through The Years, covers Hopkins history from the 1880s to 2000s.