Taking a Break

After writing a few hundred thousand words for this blog, which were viewed nearly a half-million times, I’m moving on to other subjects. Until I decide what to do with those thousands of words and topics, I have stored them away from this site. Some may reappear here or elsewhere, others probably won’t. Many of the best stories and comments on this site were simply hard to find because there got to be too much. More than 270 entries. Unwieldy. Even cluttered. In need of editing, which I hope to give them someday.

I have left a link to the University of Minnesota Press at right where you can purchase City of Parks: The Story of Minneapolis Parks. All profits from those purchases go to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. I receive nothing. It’s a pretty good book. Nine years after writing it and learning a great deal more detail about the history of Minneapolis parks, I would change very few things I wrote in the book.

I have always tried to find the truth. Thanks for reading.

David C. Smith

17 comments so far

  1. Rosemary Q on

    Great read tthank you

  2. Mark on

    Hi David. Great work, as others have more ably said.

    FYI, I turned your MNopedia article on Parade Stadium into a Wikipedia article. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parade_Stadium. I started with the full article (because of its licensing), but have tried to customize it and source it appropriately. Still, it is almost all your words. I invite you or anyone else to try to improve it further.

    Also, it is a tragedy that MPRB does not have its own article on Wikipedia, just a section of the Minneapolis article. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minneapolis#Parks_and_recreation. That is too big a project for me, but I’m willing to chip in if you or other readers want to work on it.


    • David C. Smith on

      Great idea, Mark. Thanks. I agree on an entry for MPRB, too. Ben are you seeing this? I don’t have a lot of time right now, but I’m not the only one who could get it started. Lots of good historians around.

  3. McGrath, Susan C. on

    Thanks kindly, for your wonderful work on behalf of the parks, David!
    Sue McGrath

  4. Don Lehnhoff on


    I understand, and thanks for letting your readers know your plans. I’ve really enjoyed the history lessons you’ve provided. I’m the guy whose main interest has been the Minnehaha Off-leash Recreation Area (worldsgreatestdogpark.com), but this past summer we moved from Edina (after 20 years) and bought a little house just 1/2 block from Powderhorn Park … so I’m now a genuine Minneapolis resident with a close connection to one of its parks. It’s a great city, and the park system is a major key to its greatness. As a new Minneapolis voter I read your comments on the Parks Dept. elections with great interest. There’s no one else whose opinion is more trustworthy when it comes to the parks.

    Thanks again. Please keep me on your mailing list for when you’ve decided what’s next.

    Don Lehnhoff

  5. Rita Martinez on

    Thank you so very much for your faithful and thorough efforts to preserve our Minneapolis parks’ history – the good, the bad and the ugly – but mostly, the beautiful! I love the Minneapolis Parks and have loved reading your book chock full of interesting facts and photos as well as your blog. I will dearly miss your blog. Maybe another book?

  6. Joseph Finley on

    Thank you, David, I have always enjoyed your writing.

  7. Tom Balcom on

    Your Book and your Blog have been a great gift for Minneapolis Parks and to all of your readers. Thank you and enjoy your break.

  8. Whitney Clark on

    David, as a Minneapolis kid who grew up in our world class parks I have been a devoted reader of your blog for many years. I have so appreciated your curiosity, your open and inclusive style and your great passion for our parks. I’ll miss the blog. My very best wishes to you!

  9. Julieann Swanson on


    I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts over the years, and your book is fantastic.

    Please don’t stay away too long, we will miss you.

    Best Regards,
    Julieann Swanson

  10. Scott Vreeland on

    I want to personally thank you for your work and passion. When I first came to the Park Board, our own history was being kept in boxes with only a few people who knew what was in those boxes and some valuable paper records turning to dust. I kept trying to fins a way to save the stories and pictures of our past, but it always seemed like a lesser priority that we couldn’t fund. Thanks to you we have finally begun the thoughtful process of how to record and celebrate our past. Your book about park history really made a difference and will be a lasting record of great import.
    But you have also done so much more in the telling the history of each park that is part of their story online and blogging about the search for more details and connections that put things in context with local and national change. I cannot say how wonderful it is that because of the gravitas of your work, that we now have stored access to information that will be available to future researchers and park lovers.
    Scott Vreeland
    Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
    Commissioner District # 3

    • David C. Smith on

      Thanks, Scott. I have appreciated your support in this history endeavor. Thanks for that and for your service as a park commissioner.

      And thanks to everyone who has posted a comment here. I really do appreciate your interest and feedback.

  11. Joan on

    Dear Mr. Smith,
    Your book was very helpful in addressing the history of the parks. It educated me about many things I did not know regarding the restructuring of our beautiful city. The designers gave us beauty out of swampland. I am learning today that there are ramifications to messing with mother nature that we only learn years later. For the last three years, I have watched the lake levels increase at Nokomis and heard the discussions of whether or not to flood Hiawatha golf course. I started to put together all of the infrastructure issues, park flooding, unintended expansion of holding ponds, loss of trees, and damage to residential homes with the groundwater issues in our area, trying to address my concerns with the multijurisdictional entities, only to be promised that they would “pass on my concerns”, yet hearing nothing more. Fortunately, we have residents in our neighborhood with extensive experience and a desire for a greater understanding of how our watershed works. Some are passionate about saving their homes and parklands, others have a history with the golf course. As we have joined together, we have worked tirelessly to bring attention to our legislatures, concerns with what is happening in our area. Thanks to Jean Wagenius, and other legislatures who met with us at the Capitol, south Minneapolis is getting the attention it deserves after being the dumping ground for 172 square miles of the 176 square mile watershed. Our hope is that US Geological Services will look at the watershed as a whole and help redesign a more equitable plan that will not put the heavy responsibility of water management on one community already deemed as “swampland”. As we continue to build on this swampland and use it to live, play and work. I hope we can be better stewards of the future realizing that the decisions we make today have long-term effects.

    Thank you for your efforts in writing a beautiful book that expressed the history of our city. I would recommend that people pick it up, as it is not only a beautiful book to display but very informative.

    Wishing you the best in your future endeavors.

  12. Gary Thaden on

    Thank you.

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