Grant has a colorful history and highlights include the following:
Washington County was one of nine counties formed upon the separation of Minnesota Territory from Wisconsin. The Town of Grant was officially organized October 20, 1858 as a Congressional Township containing the normal six-mile by six-mile area with the first three supervisors and a clerk. It remained a township until November of 1996 when it became a city. The original area of The Town of Grant contained the current region plus the area up to the eastern border of the City of White Bear Lake.
In the summer of 1996, The Town of Grant successfully applied to be incorporated into a city. The Minnesota Municipal Council approved its application in early September, 1996. The purpose of this change was primarily to protect the rural nature of Grant. The Town Board dissolved after its last meeting in October and a City Council with four Council Members and a Mayor took office after the November, 1996 election. The first school in Grant opened in 1856 and was followed by others as settlers arrived. These schools met in one-room buildings each operated by a separate school district and school board. The current City Hall is one of these school buildings. A couple of them are now homes. Many residents remember the red one room school that stood at the corner of Highway 96 and Jamaca and burned down many years ago. These school districts eventually consolidated into the Mahtomedi and Stillwater school districts. The Mahtomedi High and Middle Schools are located in Grant.
Except for Withrow, Grant was almost exclusively a farming community during its first century. However, its proximity to the Twin Cities and closeness to Highway 36 and Interstate Highway 694 made it attractive for development as home sites. Discounting the village of Withrow, the first platted subdivision was Hickory Park followed by Wake Robin Acres, platted as one acre lots in the early 1960's. Concern about potential pollution from septic systems caused the Town Board to change the minimum lot size standard from 1.0 to 2.5 acres in 1968. Later, the Metropolitan Council issued a directive that all future subdivisions in the rural townships within its jurisdiction have an average lot size of ten acres and a minimum lot size of five acres. The Grant Town Board adopted this directive in 1976. Since then, much of Grant has been developed into home sites.
- Only a few commercial farms now remain in Grant, but many small hobby farms, mostly for raising, training, and boarding horses replace them. Grant has experienced only small amounts of commercial development. There are two commercial zones in Grant. The first commercial zone contains a farm supply store located at the corner of Highway 36 and Keats avenue. The other commercial zone is at the corner of Highways 17 and 36 where several small businesses operate. Several agricultural related businesses, two commercial apple orchards, a large nursery, and family farms sell to the public.