The Champlin area was first settled when Father Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan priest from whom Hennepin County gets its name, Michael Accult, and Peter Dulay were captured by the Sioux Indians. An Indian trading post was eventually established in the area. Charles Miles created the first permanent settlement in what came to be named Marshall Township. In 1859, it was split into two towns, Champlin and Dayton.
The name Champlin came from the family name of U.S. Navy Commodore Stephen Champlin. He was active in the war against England and Canada in 1812, and in the establishment of the Canadian–United States boundary. He died in Buffalo, New York, February 20, 1870.
The Commodore's daughter, Eliza Ellen Champlin, was married on August 30, 1853, to John B. Cook, a partner of Minnesota's Alexander Ramsey. Although Cook was never a resident of Champlin, he was involved in real estate transactions in Champlin, and in the incorporation of Champlin. In 1947, a portion of the former Champlin Township was incorporated to form the village of Champlin, and on January 2, 1971, Champlin Township and the village of Champlin consolidated as the result of a petitioned order from the Minnesota Municipal Commission, to form the city of Champlin.