Yard and Garden Show: Trees in Minneapolis

I’ll be the entertainment on the Yard and Garden Show, Saturday, February 4 at noon on WCCO radio, 830 AM. I’ll talk about how the Minneapolis park board became responsible for all the street trees in the city. Did you know that most of Minneapolis south and west of the Mississippi was once open prairie? Then where did all these trees come from? The park board planted most of the trees along our streets — and still owns them. But did you know that’s also one reason the Minneapolis park board has its own police force? Of course, Charles Loring deserves most of the credit; his love of trees was well-known.

Portius Deming, writing in the park board’s 1916 annual report, described a major event that year that so logically connected Loring and trees:

It was a splendid idea to convert the conventional “Arbor Day” into “Charles M. Loring Day,” and it is to the credit of Minneapolis that this suggestion met with instant and universal approval.

“Loring Elms” were planted and dedicated to Loring by children at 78 public schools in the city that day and the Mayor planted a “Loring Elm” in Loring Park. Loring was in his 80s at the time and was still at his winter home in Riverside, California, but his papers at the Minnesota Historical Society include many telegrams he received from well-wishers that day.

Learn more at noon Saturday. Perhaps I’ll recap here afterward.

David C. Smith   minneapolisparkhistory[at]q.com

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