Lake Harriet Toboggan Slide

As the heat continues to burn grass and crops this summer, I’ll provide cool respite on the edge of Lake Harriet. Fred Perl, the park board’s forester, took these photos of the Queen Avenue toboggan slide at Lake Harriet in 1914.

Looking up toward Queen Avenue on the western shore of Lake Harriet. (MPRB)

Check out the canoe racks that line the shore.

The view from the top of the slide along Queen Avenue above the street car barn. (MPRB)

The views from top and bottom are cool, but they don’t show all the work that went into building this slide. You can only appreciate that from a side view.

The impressive structure of the Lake Harriet toboggan slide. Note the passage made for cars on the parkway through the lattice. (MPRB)

Feel any cooler?

David C. Smith


8 comments so far

  1. […] to a link in the piece Robinson inhabits on this site, I also restored some of my favorite photos: the toboggan slide from Queen Avenue out onto Lake Harriet. There is much to see in those images from […]

  2. Pamela Nault on

    It sounds like the toboggan slide was short-lived, perhaps only a couple of years?

    Re: toboggan slide injuries/lawsuits –

    The first mention of a park hockey league was in 1914 when the board reported that the league played on a lighted rink on Lake Harriet. In that year the park board also questioned whether it was wise to continue to operate the toboggan slide it had built in 1912 from the west bank of the lake at Queen Avenue out onto the lake. Despite precautions, Wirth wrote, several injuries had been incurred at the slide resulting in lawsuits.”

    Click to access Lake_Harriet_History.pdf

    • David C. Smith on

      Thanks, Pamela, good find. I should have remembered writing that!

  3. […] couple of months ago I posted photos of a toboggan slide at Lake Harriet in 1914. Now I’ve rediscovered a description I had saved long ago of a toboggan slide from an […]

  4. Lisa McDonald on

    Wow clearly there were no liability lawyers back then. Looks like a wild ride!

    • David C. Smith on

      That had to be one reason they disappeared. That would be an interesting research topic: whether the park board was actually sued for injuries on such things. Anybody with a few hours free? Thanks for your observation.

      David C Smith minneapolisparkhistory[at]

  5. sdmusich on

    Was this put up for just one winter season and taken down in the spring?

    • David C. Smith on

      Good question, thanks. I believe it was taken down each spring. I don’t know how many years it was put up. Down at the Lake, a book by the Linden Hills History Study Group, includes a picture of a toboggan slide about fifty yards further south. Do any Linden Hills people know more of the story?

      David C. Smith minneapolisparkhistory[at]

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