A person could visit Rosemount overnight in 1855, when Mrs. Morrison opened the Prairie House Hotel and later opened a store in that same hotel. In 1859 a second hotel was opened called The Rosemount House. But it was not until the late 1860s and early ‘70s that the opening of many new businesses in the community occurred: in 1868, the first general store was opened by Frank Gallon; in 1869, the first shoe store was opened by Gotlieb Schmid; in 1872, John Farquhar opened the first blacksmith shop; in 1873, the first hardware store was opened by G. Merril; and in 1875 a wagon shop was opened by John Guth, Peter Heinen opened a harness shop, and the Dakota County Tribune started publication.
The first Catholic church service was held in the summer of 1854 by Reverend Kidder at the home of William Semesall. In 1867 the Methodist church was built and a German Methodist church was constructed in 1874. The St. Joseph Total Abstinence Society was organized on February 16, 1873, by Father Oster, a Catholic priest. That same year saw the beginning of the Rich Valley Grange and the Hope Grange.
Rosemount’s first school house was built in 1858. Located on Dodd Road, it was 14 feet by 18 feet. School was held in summer only, and taught by Margaret Cummings. Eastern residents couldn’t reach the school so Mrs. Walter Strathern started another school on her family farm. In 1896, the first school in the village itself was built. Rosemount’s school district has since reached large metropolitan proportions.
World War II and Beyond
During World War II, the federal government acquired 13,000 acres of farmland in Rosemount, displacing 90 families in 1942. Construction of the Gopher Ordnance Works (a munitions plant) on the site began in May 1942 by E.I. Dupont deNemours and Company. Twenty thousand workers and 856 new buildings were part of the project at a cost of $124 million. Operations of the ammunition plant, which was never fully functioning, ceased in April 1945.
Shortly after, 8,000 acres of the land were obtained by the University of Minnesota and a number of the buildings were used during the 1947-48 polio outbreak. Currently, the University of Minnesota’s Agricultural Research Station and the Dakota County Technical College are located on part of the site.
In January 1971, the village and township of Rosemount merged. Rosemount became a statutory city in January 1975, with the basic form of government being a mayor, city council, city administrator, and city clerk.