Open Door at the Superintendent’s House

Today and tomorrow, May 13 and 14, the Minneapolis Park Superintendent’s House in Lyndale Farmstead Park will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a rare opportunity to see the interior of the home–and office–built for acclaimed Park Superintendent Theodore Wirth in 1910. The house is currently the home of Park Superintendent Al Bangoura and family. They have kindly agreed to open their historic residence to the public this weekend.

I will be at the house to talk about parks, Theodore Wirth, and the house. I hope you will drop by and say hello. We will even have copies of City of Parks for sale. I would be glad to autograph a copy for you–and maybe one for your Mother for a special Mother’s Day gift. No formal presentations are planned, but we’d be happy to try to answer your questions about the house and park. This will be a great chance for you to meet Al Bangoura and his wife, Kendra Lewis, too. We will also be joined part of the weekend by Dana Wirth Sparks, great granddaughter of Theodore Wirth, and by Mark Ruhe, who lived in the house when his father, Robert Ruhe, was park superintendent in the 1960s and ’70s.

This was the first plan of Lyndale Farmsted Park that shows the location of the proposed Superintendent’s House, center right. It was published in the park board’s 1906 Annual Report, the first prepared by new superintendent Theodore Wirth. The rest of the park, William King’s old farm, was then envisioned as a nursery to grow trees and flowers for use throughout the park system. At the time the park board had not yet acquired the southern half of the property.

I’ve written about the house and some of the controversy surrounding its construction here. You can read much more about the park and house by clicking on the “History” tab on the Lyndale Farmstead Park page at

I hope to see you there. I’ll be on the lower level of the house in what was once a drafting room and Theodore Wirth’s office. A word of caution: the staircase to the lower level is steep and there is no elevator.

David C. Smith


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