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The first residence constructed in Agate Bay was owned by Thomas Sexton (1854), he created a fourteen by sixteen foot shack.

The village of Burlington along Burlington Bay was platted in 1856, first incorporated on May 23, 1857; it had a post office that operated from 1856 until 1862.

There were 1,649 households of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.3% were non-families.

36.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.

By 1886 the D&IR completed the Lake Division connecting Duluth and Two Harbors with passenger service that extended to Ely MN.