Skip to Primary Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to Main Content All Site Map

History of 3M Cottage Grove

Since its founding in 1902 at Two Harbors, Minnesota, 3M Company has incorporated values and innovative thinking that make 3M unique. Perseverance, ingenuity and creativity have made 3M a success for over 100 years.

For years, people around the world have looked to 3M for products and ideas that solve problems and make their lives easier and better. Our achievements are reflected in a proud past and are the foundation for a bright future of many innovations to come.

Since 1948, 3M Cottage Grove has been a major factor in many of 3M's achievements, and will continue to be in the future.


• Initial construction began in 1947 on 3M Cottage Grove Center. A boiler building as well as two manufacturing buildings were erected.
• Employees moved into their offices in 1948. Originally the site was called the 3M Hastings plant.
• Aggrecoat was the first product produced here.


• Three new buildings were built.
• "Chemolite" was adopted as the name of the plant. It was derived from Chemical and Scotchlite, the first two operations at the site.
• The first Family Day was held.
• Scotchgard™ Fabric Protector was invented and 3M Cottage Grove became the original manufacturing location of this widely used product.
• The first Children's Day at 3M Cottage Grove Center was held, and youngsters were shown how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.


• Products produced at 3M Cottage Grove Center play major roles in lunar exploration:
- 3M material on the lunar module helped guide the astronauts around the surface of the moon. 
- 3M oxide was used in the videotapes that carried the astronauts' Holiday messages to people on Earth.
• 3M™ Scotchtint™ Sun Control Window film was developed at 3M Cottage Grove. This film helps keep your home cooler in summer, warmer in winter, and protects your furniture and carpet from damaging ultraviolet rays.


• 3M Scotchlite™ High Intensity Grade Reflective Sheeting was developed at 3M Cottage Grove Center. It enhances the weatherability and durability of reflective sheeting, giving longer life to highway signs - and providing a safer drive home.
• The largest printing plate in the world is created at 3M Cottage Grove Center and used to print billboards, posters and dress patterns.
• 3M Chemolite celebrates its 25th anniversary in 1973.


• Post-it Notes are created by 3Mer Art Fry. The adhesives for Post-it Notes and Scotch™ Magic™ Tape were produced at 3M Cottage Grove Center.


• 3M Cottage Grove celebrated Earth Day and 2,500 pine seedlings were planted on site.
• 3M Cottage Grove celebrates its 50th anniversary in 1998, with a community celebration..


• Cottage Grove Center security is upgraded to ensure employee and community safety.
• Construction is completed on a new wastewater treatment plant.
• 3M Foundation partners with South Washington County Schools Education Foundation and the Washington County Sheriff's Office to keep the Drug Sniffing Dog Program on Track.
• A 3M grant provides area school buses with emissions-control devices so buses run cleaner.
• 3M Foundation partners with 3M Cottage Grove, Youth Sevice Bureau & Washington County Library to create the Library Leaders program, to identify and develop future youth leaders.
• 3M Cottage Grove Celebrates it's 60 Year anniversary in 2008 with an on site employee family event and a raptor release at the Carpenter Nature Center with the community.


For information about jobs at 3M, visit our 3M Careers website.