In 1852, the first settlers came to Burnsville. They were John McCoy Martin, Patrick and Thomas Burns, David Nixon and John Woodruff. Rail access came in 1864 and the settlement eventually became a resort town. By 1950, the town was still quite small with a population of 583 people with one schoolhouse. It was only in the 1960s that the town saw tremendous growth. After incorporation into Burnsville Township in 1964, mass housing projects soon followed.