The first railroad through Robbinsdale was called the Northwest Branch of the St. Paul Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad Company. In 1880 a flag station was established and if you wanted a ride all you had to do was flag down the train. In 1887 Alfred Parker donated three acres of land for a depot and a station was named in his honor. Born in Maine, Parker went west with the Gold Rush in 1849. After returning east he went by rail to Galena, Illinios and took a riverboat north to St. Paul. He settled in what is now Robbinsdale in 1854. the next year he married the daughter of Jonathan Malbon. His father-in-law built a new house for Elizabeth and Alfred 4115 Lakeland and another house for himself at the north end of the same lot. The Parker place was used as a stopover for travelers and teamsters.Both houses were torn down in the early 1970’s.
Northwest Community Television has begun researching the histories of the nine communities it serves. Over the next three years, a documentary series will be produced which will include interviews of historians and community members, historic photographs, and living history reenactments. “Parkerville” is Scene 2 of Episode I, and portrays the area’s earliest settlers and influential citizens from the 1850s through 1893, when this area of Hennepin County first became known as Robbinsdale. Click Here for more information on this exciting project.
Soon after the depot was built Mrs. H.W. Downs became the depot master and telegrapher. The area around the station came to be known as Parker or Parkerville and in 1889 John Shumway donated a piece of land at 42nd and Bottineau Boulevard for the construction of the First Congregational Church of Parker. When Crystal Village was dissolved there was some talk of naming the new town Parkerville, but by that time Andrew B. Robbins had already platted out a large section between Crystal and Twin Lakes called Robbinsdale Park and Thomas Girling was publishing a weekly paper called the “Robbinsdale Park Progress”. The name Robbinsdale was made official when the new village was organized on April 19th, 1893.Two year later the school board raised $10,000 and built a eight room brick school house with a basement gymnasium. The building was considered one of the finest in the state and was named in honor of Alfred Parker.