Lakewood Township History

Lakewood Township was established in 1902 when residents petitioned the County Board for separation from the Town of Duluth.  The petition, which was signed by twenty-two residents and legal voters, argued that it was inconvenient to attend township meetings in Duluth Township, which at that time consisted of more than forty square miles.

Early settlement in the area was spurred on by mining speculation.  Copper prospecting began in the 1850's and the first town site was platted at Clifton in 1855.  A mine shaft was sunk along the French River but the yield never lived up to expectations.  Following the panic of 1857, mining activity in the area came to a virtual stand-still.

Logging succeeded mining as the next important industry.  A number of logging camps were established in the area in the late 1800's.  The timber was transported to Duluth sawmills for processing until a sawmill was built on the Talmadge River.  As the trees were cleared, logging began to decline and by the early 1900's farming activities had taken over. 

In 1910 Lakewood had a population of 224.  By 1919 the township had three frame school houses with an enrollment of 62 pupils, and a population of 294.  Lakewood continued to grow at a rapid pace for the next twenty years.  By 1940 the population had risen to 917 and by 1970 it had reached 1,393.  The State Demographer places our population at 2,101 on April 1, 2004.  During the latter half of the Twentieth Century Lakewood's residents have become more dependent on employment outside the township; however, a strong community identity is still evident in Lakewood today, as is a link to its past.