Lake Calhoun Outlet and Lakewood Cemetery Greenhouses

I acquired this photograph because it’s the only one I’ve seen of an outlet from Lake Calhoun. But in light of today’s public tours of Lakewood Cemetery’s greenhouses I looked at the picture differently. Until I was told by Katie Thornton at Lakewood that the cemetery once had six huge greenhouses I had no idea what the buildings in this picture near the southeast shore of Lake Calhoun could be. Could they be the original Lakewood greenhouses?


I don’t know the date of this photograph of the south shore of Lake Calhoun — or the photographer. I was interested in it primarily because of the “outlet” and the parkway running so close to the shore. But it may also be the only picture I’ve seen of the Lakewood Cemetery greenhouses. What else could that be near the southeastern shore of the lake? (Photo: David C. Smith Collection)

If you make it over to the Lakewood Cemetery greenhouse tour today and I don’t, please ask if their greenhouses are what we see here and let me know what you learn. If you have better information—or guesses—on what those structures might be, please share.

David C. Smith


10 comments so far

  1. Mary Rennich on

    My mom lived by Lake Calhoun in the early 1920’s. She remembers a Swedish Embassy across the street. Their daughter was Kitty.

  2. sean ryan on

    Do you have a higher resolution of the photo? If we can see a streetcar bridge I think we’ve got a match.

    • David Smith on

      The bridge isn’t visible on the original. Its location is obscured by the trees planted on the shoreline.

      • David Smith on

        A quick check of Minneapolis directories shows listings for Minneapolis Floral Company greenhouses at the 36th St. and Lake Calhoun Boulevard location from 1901 to 1916. The proprietor of the company, John Monson, apparently died in 1914, Evelyn Monson is listed in the 1915 and subsequent directories as “wid John” and as VP then Secretary of Minneapolis Floral. In the 1917 directory the company’s greenhouses are located in Hopkins, and no other florist or greenhouse is listed at the previous 1612 W. 36th St. address leading me to believe that the greenhouses were no longer in use as of 1917 and in all likelihood demolished or dismantled around that time.

  3. sean ryan on

    Based on the vantage point, I think we’re looking at the Minneapolis Floral complex, but I don’t know exactly when that went up. The earlier Sanborn map is as late as 1912. This atlas plat is from 1885, still showing the Lyndale Hotel. I circled the outlet in red and marked the perspective with a blue arrow. The yellow areas are known glasshouse locations.

  4. sean ryan on

    The greenhouses were near the current admin building/ greenhouse facility. There were also some private grower’s glasshouses north of the cemetery on Hennepin Ave (Wessling’s) and on Irving Ave (Minneapolis Floral.)




    • David Smith on

      Thanks, Sean. Fascinating. Based on this, the buildings we see are most likely the greenhouses of Minneapolis Floral. I had guessed that 36th was north of the structures in the picture, but it now seems clear that 36th was south of those buildings. Sean, do you have a date for the images you provided?

  5. Joseph Finley on

    I recall some years back a woman’s small dog was sucked into the outlet and did not survive. As for the possible greenhouses, I will bet that is what is seen in the photo. Looking forward to hearing the response from Lakewood.

    • David Smith on

      That’s awful, never heard that story. I’ll let you know what we learn.

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