The movement to incorporate began in April 1886 with the St. Louis Park Land and Improvement Co., that included five men from Minneapolis, plus Joseph Hamilton and O.K. Earle from the future village. Earle, Hamilton, and George E. Goodrich conducted a census in August and found a population of 350 persons in 45 families. 31 residents signed their petition to the Hennepin County Commissioners to incorporate.
The election was held at Pratt School on October 4, and the majority of the 66 voters opted for the incorporation of the village. On November 19, the County Commissioners registered the petition for incorporation, officially making St. Louis Park a Village. Originally, four sections (6,746 acres) were incorporated, and the eastern boundary was established at France Avenue. Incorporation prevented Minneapolis from expanding westward. More land would eventually be annexed over the years. St. Louis Park is at 45 degrees north latitude, 93 degrees west longitude, with an elevation at the MSP Airport of 830 feet above sea level.
An election of the five Village Council members was held on December 6th, with on 38 men voting. Officers were formally inducted on December 10 in the Mpls/St. Louis Depot. Joseph Hamilton was elected President, a position he held until 1893. Trustees were H.C. Butler, O.K. Earle, George E. Goodrich; Treasurer was J.J. Baston. The first meeting of the Village Council was held at the Depot on December 15, 1886.
The Council had to share its building with Lincoln School, and members, including the Clerk, often worked from home. The Clerk’s job was made full time in 1937, and he moved back into the Village Hall in 1938.
Despite its incorporation as a village, St. Louis Park remained a collection of neighborhoods that were more or less self-contained. People from Brookside had little contact with people on the North Side, for example, except maybe children who attended the same Junior High or High School. The lack of a central downtown is in part due to this lack of cohesion between neighborhoods.