Inquiring minds: Thole Lake - origins of the name

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here are some of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q. There’s a lake in Scott County called Thole Lake.  Who or what is it named after? Is it an Indian word?

A.  The answer to this is based on what you might call circumstantial evidence. We couldn’t find a lot of information about Thole Lake, which is far from the best known of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ database tells us that it covers about 105 acres and is 12 feet deep. Minnesota Census records reveal something more interesting. According to the census, there were people named Thole living in Louisville Township in Scott County as far back as 1875. Among them were two householders: Henry Thole, who was 58 years old in 1875, and Joseph Thole, aged 53 that year. Since Thole Lake is also in Louisville Township, it seems like a reasonable guess that it was named after Henry or Joseph.  Both men had been born in Germany, and were the heads of large families. We can speculate that perhaps Henry and Joseph were brothers who emigrated from Germany together, settled in Louisville with their families and then named the lake after themselves. And here’s some more evidence: According to the Library’s genealogy database, there was someone named Thole listed in the 1898 Scott County platbook as the owner of Section 25 of Louisville Township, which just happens to be the section of the township that contains Thole Lake.
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Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 628-6803 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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