(The following is adapted in part from History of Anoka County by Albert M. Goodrich, (c) 1976, originally published 1905)
Bethel’s first settlement was in 1856 by Rice Price, Owen Evans, Asher Hyatt and Joseph Canny. These men were Quakers. They held religious services and started a Sunday School. The area began to grow. In 1862 (at the time of the Sioux Massacre) the Quakers moved away and did not return.
The town of Bethel was organized in 1858 and included the town of Linwood. The first town officers were: Supervisors; Owen Evans, Chairmen; W. Dickens and Rice Price, Clerk; J. Mayhew, Treasurer; John Wyatt, Assessor; F. Wyatt.
The post office was established in 1863 and James Cooper was the first postmaster. Schools in Bethel are as follows: District #22 (1870), District #25 (1871), District #37 (1873), District #40 (1880), District #43 and District #53.
In 1953 a school re-organization law was passed. Bethel now had one school, District #15.
The following is a list of various clubs and organizations and the year in which they were organized. The B&L Farmers Club (started in 1912), The O.E.T. Club (organized in 1914), The E. Bethel Booster Club, The Helping Hand of Dyers Corner (organized 1925), 4-H Club, Elm Community Club (started 1947), Beaverbrook Club (organized 1964), Crooked Brook Mother’s Club (organized 1950), Coon Lake Petal Pushers Garden Club (organized 1964), Sportsman Club (early 1940’s) and the Golden Agers Club (organized in 1973) are just a few.
It is said that the name Bethel was picked from the Bible when the town was organized in 1858. The township has highland areas, some prairie land, wooded areas of Elm, Maple, Oak, Birch, and Poplar trees. The lowlands are peat and swampland. Wire grass was very abundant through the turn of the century. It was used to make rugs and carpets.
The Anoka County Telephone Company of Constance was organized and lines were built in 1912, eventually it was taken over by Northwestern Bell. Bethel also had a traveling library which borrowed books from the St. Paul Library until the early 1920’s.
Within the Bethel area are five cemeteries, the oldest being on the NW part of Fish Lake in Sec. 26, north, next the old Bethel Cemetery on Sec. 29 north, then the Oak Leaf Cemetery on Sec. 4, followed by East Bethel Cemetery on Sec. 22, and last the Friedsberg Cemetery on Sec. 26 north.
May 7, 1958 the Fire Department was organized and Galen Barron became the first Fire Chief. The fire station was built through the efforts of volunteers. Money was raised for fire equipment.
The first newspaper was a bi-weekly called the “East Bethel Booster” with its first publication coming out Sept. 26, 1957. Mrs. Lola Reinecke was the first editor.
The area when first organized was a farming and dairy community.
Newspaper on Microfilm:
Bethel Banner, Jan. 2, 1913-Apr. 29, 1926