About This Place
Apple Valley is a city in northwestern Dakota County in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and a suburb of the Twin Cities. It was incorporated in 1969, and was known before that as Lebanon Township. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 49,084, making it the 18th most populous city in Minnesota. Apple Valley is home to the Minnesota Zoo, a nationally famous zoological garden that houses hundreds of animals from several distinct climatological zones. In 2010, Money Magazine named Apple Valley the 20th best place to live in the United States, up from 24th in 2008 and 28th in 2007.
According to local developer Henry Broback, Lebanon Township was renamed Apple Valley because "...when you drive east on (County Road) 42 and turn to enter Lebanon, it reminded them of Apple Valley, California, which was a nice community."
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.7 square miles (45.9 km²). 17.3 square miles (44.9 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (2.14%) is water. The city's geography is rolling, with elevation from the lowest to the highest points in the city varying by a hundred feet or more. The downtown area and its adjacent residential district (which formed the original core of the city when it was incorporated) are in a shallow valley. The first four houses were built by Art and Hank Broback. Orin Thompson contracted a company to determine where the next growth in the Twin Cities would be. It was one-half of a mile from County Road 42 and Cedar Avenue. Thompson bought the first houses and streets from the Brobacks. The firm that selected this area was in Apple Valley, California, so Thompson took that name for the development.