Lost Minneapolis Parks: Kenwood Triangle Photo Found

In a striking bit of good fortune, I found myself on an airplane last week with Rick Berglund. When Rick told me where he lived, I asked if he had ever seen a picture of Kenwood Triangle, which I had described in Lost Minneapolis Parks: Part II a few weeks ago. The triangle at the intersection of Penn and Oliver avenues next to Kenwood Park was paved over when Franklin Avenue was diverted slightly north in 1981 after Kenwood School was expanded. Rick told me that an old photo of his home included a view of Kenwood Triangle. He has generously shared a copy of the photo, which was taken in 1919.

Kenwood Triangle at the intersection of Penn and Oliver at Franklin next to Kenwood Park. (Lee Brothers, Rick Berglund.)

It was obviously not a triangle in which the park board invested much time, money or creativity. The overhead wire in the photo was likely for the trolley.

The most interesting revelation from my talk with Rick, however, was that he also has the original landscape designs for his property. The designs were created by Phelps Wyman in 1911. It must have been one of his earliest landscapes in Minneapolis. Wyman was the celebrated designer of Thomas Lowry Park and a Minneapolis park commissioner 1917-1924. (See also his marvelous, never-used plans for the Lyndale-Hennepin Bottleneck, Washburn Fair Oaks and Victory Memorial Drive.)

I suspect that many other photos of Minneapolis landmarks are stored away in files, vaults and boxes around town. If you have some, make copies and send them to us. We’ll post them here with attribution and any details you can provide.

David C. Smith


3 comments so far

  1. Sue McGrath on

    David, I bet you didn’t want that flight to end! Thanks for sharing…

    • David C. Smith on

      Thanks, Sue, you’re right. It’s amazing the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard through this blog. And very soon I’ll be sharing more of a fabulous story that has come to my attention. Stay tuned.

      • David C. Smith on

        I received this note today from Bill Payne and, with his permission, I’m posting it because I thought others would be intrested, too. Thanks for the information, Bill. DCS

        “Thanks for publishing the information on Kenwood Triangle. I was struck by the size of the property, and attempted to find out more. Here’s the only historical picture I could find online: http://cdm15160.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/mpls/id/1384/rec/41 In trying to find photos, I found one looking down Penn toward Oliver and showing the Kenwood Triangle in winter, so there really wasn’t much to see. I was searching the photo collection at Hennepin County, I believe, search term “Penn Avenue South”.

        The property toward the bottom of the hill has been filled in with a number of houses, one being listed in Millet’s most recent book as well as the old AIA guide, as a 1950’s modern design. The pergola shown in the picture appears to be gone based upon the Google satellite photos. The house dates from 1904 and probably took a couple of years to construct. But I could find no recognition of the house historically, based on an address search or a name search on Google.

        I wonder what other estates have disappeared from Lowry Hill-Kenwood? The “castle” at Mt. Curve and Humbolt once had a stable and extended to Douglas (I’m told). At least it extended to Humbolt–you can see two recent fill in properties on Humbolt. The Dunwood property, Lowry’s property, the site of the Gates mansion, all sizable pieces of property. But this carries us far beyond the Minneapolis parks.”

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