In the 1800s, this large hill was about twice its current size. A Native American trail skirted the east side of the hill. The trail's route once followed Nine Mile Creek from Fort Snelling to the creek's source in Hopkins (now underground behind St. Joseph's Church) and continued northwest to Minnetonka Mills. At the turn of the century, it earned the nickname "Harmony Hill" because a judge settled disputes at his home atop the hill.
Between 1925 and 1978, the building erected here operated first as Hopkins Elementary School on one side and Junior High on the other, then became South Junior High. An innovative remodel in 1981 retained the school's ornate brick façade with tile inlay and created 65 apartments. The Hopkins Activity Center and the present home of the Hopkins Historical Society Museum are at the rear of this building. The apartment courtyard formerly was the gymnasium and theatre. The front retaining wall was the place for teens to hang out and watch cars cruise by.