In 1924 the Minneapolis Journal reported on the attempts of the Brookside and Oak Hill neighborhoods to secede from the Park, led by one D.C. Martin. Martin drew up petitions for both neighborhoods, whose residents wanted to incorporate as a fourth class cities. Asserting “no taxation without representation,” the groups felt that they were not getting adequate services from the Village, and with their own city status they could make the improvements that the Village couldn’t or wouldn’t provide.
Although Village Recorder H.J. Bolmgren attempted to throw out the Brookside petition for the lack of two-thirds of the legal voters, the newly-elected officers of the fourth-class City of Brookside met in August.
The Oak Hill group was represented by attorney Donald Hughes, who instigated an effort to leave the Village and incorporate an area westward, including part of Hopkins. The reason for the action was that the residents objected to the odor from the Creosote plant, and while a Village had no authority to pass ordinances to eliminate the odors, a City would. (This would not fully explain the land grab, as the new Oak Hill included the home of famed opera singer Amelita Galli-Curci, the Minneapolis and St. Louis Depot, the largest lumber yard in Hopkins, Blake School, the Minneapolis and Minikahda Golf Clubs, and the newest school in the Park.)
Oak Hill’s petition had the correct number of signatures, but a second petition to call off the action was also signed by two-thirds of the voters, indicating a change of heart. The newly-elected council of Oak Hill met nonetheless, and was sworn in by Mr. Martin, newly-elected City Recorder. Martin justified his authority by stating, “Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by a notary public too.”
Latecomer Lake Street joined the fray with a plan to join Minneapolis so that they could get city water and sewers. Encouraged, Brookside and Oak Hill planned to ask for a special election to dissolve the Village if their separate actions were nullified by the courts.
In July a meeting of 500 citizens met at the High School for a peace gathering, chaired by C.C. Wohlford, former Village Recorder. The group agreed to form a committee to investigate the advisability of a special election to organize the Village as a city of the fourth class, with William W. Smith as Chairman, and representatives of the Oak Hill Civic Club, the Brookside Improvement Association, the Taxpayers’ League of St. Louis Park, the volunteer fire department, and the Lake Street Improvement Association.
The committee was unsuccessful in finding a middle ground – in October, Village counsel Stevens and the City of Brookside had a hearing before the Minnesota Attorney General at the state capitol. The fate of the Oak Hill contingent hung on the outcome of the Brookside proceedings. All sides lost. Brookside and Oak Hill came back into the fold, and Park kept its Village status for another 32 years. The Creosote plant wasn’t shut down for almost 50 years, and it was the creosote plant that hampered the Village’s attempts to provide water locally.