Landfall

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History

Landfall is the county’s smallest city and is regarded as the Twin Cities’ most affordable community. It is a mobile home park adjacent to the Ramsey County line. The population is about 730 people (176 families) living in about 300 mobile homes.

Landfall occupies the southwesternmost corner of Oakdale Township. In 1901 John Schiltgen farmed the land Landfall sits on. Surrounding his property to the north and east was the 300-acre Oak Woods Stock Farm owned by Frank Morris. On the south was the Hudson Road leading from St. Paul to the St. Croix River bridge between Lakeland and Hudson, Wisconsin.

Landfall was incorporated as a village in 1959 and became a city in 1974. At present it has a strip of businesses, including a Harley Davidson dealer and a car dealership on Hudson Road, now the north service road of Interstate 94. The City of Maplewood, Ramsey County, provides services.

James and Mitzi Olson used to own all the land in Landfall. They moved there in 1953 into a cottage that was hardly better than a log cabin. The cottage had been there a long time and was rumored to have harbored John Dillinger, a notorious gangster who made St. Paul his home for a few months in 1934. Said Mitzi Olson in an interview in 1998, “We heard rumors that Dillinger used to live there. A fellow who used to deliver propane gas said he used to deliver packages for Dillinger as a boy.”

The Olsons had lived in a mobile home during World War II and knew that there was a shortage of affordable housing in the Twin Cities area, so they developed their site into a mobile home park. As it was on the early highway between St. Paul and Hudson, Landfall developed several businesses, including a truck stop, restaurant, and nursery, most of which left when Interstate 94 was put through and access became limited.

In the early 1990s the mobile home park was in danger of being bought up by a developer who wished to build a shopping mall or luxury housing on the site. The Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority came to the rescue by purchasing the city and preserving its low-income housing. In 1997 the County Authority sold Landfall to the Landfall Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

The City of Landfall has an area of only 52.8 acres, 11 acres of which are the waters of Tanner’s Lake, making it the county’s smallest community.