Current & Historic & Community Profile

"where the path from the past and the future meets" 

CURRENT:  Waterford Township (named for a ford in the nearby Cannon River) is situated in the southern part of Dakota County, containing fifteen sections of land or 14.8 square miles after an annexation agreement with the City of Northfield in 1980. It is the smallest township in the County, bounded on the north by Castle Rock Township, on the east by the Sciota Township and on the south by Rice County and on the west by Greenvale Township. Currently the Township has just over five hundred residents.  The Township has a business district, a rural residential district and an agricultural district.  

HISTORIC:  At a meeting of the County Commissioners April 6, 1858, Waterford Township was established, including thirty sections of land along the southern border of Dakota County. Apparently, residents of both halves of the township were unhappy with the action taken by the commissioners on April 6. Thus, at another meeting April 20, 1858, the western half of the previously designated township was separated from Sciota and named Waterford, leaving the two townships with fifteen sections each.

In 1882, the Northfield School District #72 built a school in Waterford Township. .  The schoolhouse represented small rural schools that were distributed across Dakota County in the late 19th century.  Most of those schools built during that era are gone because of expanding urbanization.   The building graduated its last class in 1935   Thereafter the building, located at 3847 321st. St. Northfield, MN 55057 was used as a community center and church.  Today, the building is used by the Township for its governmental meetings.  

The 1882 building is unusually stylistic and ornate, probably reflecting the emphasis the community placed on education. the structure has several architectural styles including Gothic Revival and the Renaissance Revival systems.  The stylistic and ornate gable trims are characteristic of the Gothic style. The pediment window heads and pediment transom are typical of the Renaissance Revival style.   The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   See section 1882 Town Hall 

The Cannon River flows through the township in a northeasterly direction. In 1909 the Township built a one lane bridge across the Cannon River.  In 2010 the Waterford Bridge was closed to vehicle traffic and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The bridge consists of a 140 foot, steel, riveted and bolted, Camelback through truss on concrete abutments.  It is one of the earliest extant bridges with rigid connections and is the only known metal through truss bridge in Minnesota featuring a limited number of bolted connections.  See section 1909 Historic Bridge