Before Woodbury became known as a medical industry hub and shopping mall destination, in its earliest days, it consisted mostly of Tamarack Swamp and the Big Woods—humble yet beautiful beginnings indeed.
The historic homes that still exist here are spread out, on land that was mostly farm fields, once upon a time. Among the city’s 35 heritage sites are the Spangenberg farmstead, the McHattie house, the Miller Barn and the Heritage House museum.
Farms flourished in Woodbury, even in the 1950s, when increased traffic benefitted the businesses on the west side of town, including Ronnally’s Pizza, Woodlane Flowers, Wooddale Fun Zone and an early-years strip mall along Century Avenue. Neighborhoods like Woodbury Heights (the city’s first subdivision), Parkwood Knoll and Royal Oaks survived, thrived, and still show the community’s rich history of growth.
Local farmers began selling their land for housing developments in the 1960s, and just a handful of treasured farmhouses still stand tall. Even fewer barns remain in Woodbury, driving the Woodbury Heritage Society’s recent successful efforts to save the Miller Barn.
Homes from the city’s early years have changed hands in recent decades—more than 50 in the past 25 years, in fact. Some have been torn down for development, but it’s a good sign that many of them have instead been fixed up, restored and maintained for future generations.
A renovated home on the Spangenberg farmstead property.
Mathias Baden is a Realtor, a former editor of the Woodbury Bulletin, and a Woodbury Heritage Society member. If you have an idea for the next heritage column, call or text 612.327.1748.