Big Lake was originally called Humboldt until 1867.
Big Lake was originally established to harvest ice in both of its towns’ lakes. Due to the rich amount of ice Big Lake provided, it needed to be transported quickly, enabling Big Lake to be suitable for a railway station which was built in 1871. Big Lake was served by both the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railroad, later Burlington Northern Railroad, now BNSF Railway.
The city was host to a station of both GN and NP railways until the NP station burned in 1918, in later years both railroads shared a depot. The depot no longer stands. 
Big Lake is known locally for its annual summer festival “Spud Fest,” which celebrates all things potato-related. The festival is also known for its large softball tournament, attracting teams from all over the state.
Lakeside Park in Big Lake
Big Lake is also home to the area famous ice auger company, Strike Master.