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Columbia Heights
The Heights Theater is a local landmark
The Heights Theater is a local landmark
Location of the city of Columbia Heightswithin Anoka County, Minnesota
Location of the city of Columbia Heights
within Anoka County, Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Anoka
Incorporated (village) March 14, 1898
Incorporated (city) July 21, 1921
 • Total 3.50 sq mi (9.06 km2)
 • Land 3.39 sq mi (8.78 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)  3.13%
922 ft (281 m)
 • Total 19,496
 • Estimate 
 • Density 6,027.44/sq mi (2,327.45/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (Central)
ZIP code
Area code 763
FIPS code 27-12700
GNIS feature ID 0641410
Website City of Columbia Heights

Columbia Heights is a city in Anoka County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 19,496 at the 2010 census.

Minnesota State Highways 47 (University Avenue) and 65 (Central Avenue) are two of the main routes in the city.

Columbia Heights is a first-ring northern suburb of Minneapolis, which borders it on the south. Its downtown district is centered at the intersection of 40th Avenue NE and Central Avenue, and includes the Heights Theater, county offices, the Public Library, and a variety of businesses. Central Avenue forms a commercial district along its length. More businesses also line University Avenue.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.52 square miles (9.12 km2), of which, 3.41 square miles (8.83 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water.

Columbia Heights is bordered by the city of Fridley to the north and west; New Brighton and Saint Anthony to the east; and Minneapolis to the south.

The city of Hilltop is entirely enclosed within the city.

Columbia Heights has a hilly terrain and features one of the highest points in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Anoka Counties at the intersection of 47th Avenue NE and Stinson Boulevard. There are five lakes in the city, which include Sullivan Lake, Highland Lake, Silver Lake, Hart Lake, and LaBelle Pond.

The city park system resides in mostly low lying and former swampland areas that was unsuitable for building. Huset Park is the main park in the city. Prestemon, Gauvitte and McKenna Parks were all named for members of the first city council in 1921. Ava Ostrander, first woman elected to the council in 1924, also has a park named for her. Kordiak Park is an Anoka County park in the city named after former County Commissioner Albert A. Kordiak. Other parks include Edgemoor, La Belle, Lomianki, Keyes, Sullivan, Ramsdell, McKenna and Hilltop.


Columbia Heights was formed as a village on March 14, 1898 when it separated from the former Fridley Township. On July 21, 1921 the Charter of the City of Columbia Heights was adopted and the city was formed.

A Polish flag and white eagle are on the sign marking the border between Columbia Heights and Minneapolis, visible when entering Columbia Heights on Central Avenue, in celebration of the suburb's early roots as a Polish–American community. In 1991, Columbia Heights joined Sister Cities International and selected Łomianki, Poland as its Sister City. In 1944, a plane of Allied flyers was shot down during the Warsaw uprising, near Łomianki. The brother of a long time Columbia Heights resident was on that mission. In 1987, the people of Łomianki erected a monument in memory of the American flyers who lost their lives. Because of this personal connection Łomianki was selected as the Sister City.

Abraham Lincoln's funeral car was bought by Thomas Lowry who restored it and featured it at a number of exhibitions throughout the country. When not in use, it was stored in Columbia Heights but was destroyed by a fire on March 18, 1911.

In 2016, Columbia Heights was honored with the All-American City Award according to the National Civic League

In popular culture

Columbia Heights, the Heights Jamboree, Hylander, and many other references to the city and Minnesota appear in Pat Proft's 1998 film Wrongfully Accused.


Columbia Heights City Hall
Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 123
1910 590 379.7%
1920 2,968 403.1%
1930 5,613 89.1%
1940 6,035 7.5%
1950 8,175 35.5%
1960 17,533 114.5%
1970 23,997 36.9%
1980 20,029 −16.5%
1990 18,910 −5.6%
2000 18,520 −2.1%
2010 19,496 5.3%
Est. 2019 20,427 4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 19,496 people, 7,926 households, and 4,558 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,717.3 inhabitants per square mile (2,207.5/km2). There were 8,584 housing units at an average density of 2,517.3 per square mile (971.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 69.7% White, 13.5% African American, 1.5% Native American, 4.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.9% of the population.

There were 7,926 households, of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.5% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.15.

The median age in the city was 36.9 years. 22.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.2% were from 25 to 44; 24.5% were from 45 to 64; and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.


Columbia Heights is served by public schools, private schools, and charter schools.

Independent School District 13

  • Columbia Heights High School (CHHS): grades 9–12
  • Columbia Academy (CA): grades 6–8
  • Highland Elementary: grades K–5
  • Valley View Elementary: grades K–5
  • North Park Elementary: grades K–5
  • Early Childhood Programs: Birth–5 years

NE Metro Intermediate District 916

  • ALC West Campus: grades 7–12

Private schools

  • Immaculate Conception Catholic School: grades K–8
  • Little Voyageurs Montessori School: grades PreK–K

Charter schools

  • Academy of Bioscience: grades 5–8
  • Prodeo Academy: grades PreK - 8

Higher education

NEI College of Technology was located in Columbia Heights until it merged with Dunwoody College of Technology in 2003. The college building was demolished in November 2004.

Notable people

  • John Alt, former Kansas City Chiefs NFL and University of Iowa football player, was raised and went to school in Columbia Heights.
  • Earl Bakken, inventor of the first external, battery-operated, transistorized, wearable artificial pacemaker, founder of Medtronic.
  • Don Carlson, professional basketball player.
  • James D. La Belle, Medal of Honor recipient, was raised and went to school in Columbia Heights.
  • Pat Proft, screenwriter and movie producer, was raised and went to school in Columbia Heights.
  • Henry Scholberg, librarian and bibliographer.
  • Edward J. Tomczyk, Minnesota state representative.
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