Two hundred and fifty pages weren’t enough. When I was hired to write the history of the Minneapolis park system in 2007 by the Foundation for Minneapolis Parks, that was the page limit I was given.
You can find the book that resulted, City of Parks: The Story of Minneapolis Parks, at your favorite bookseller or library. It’s distributed by the University of Minnesota Press.
The book tells the story of how the Minneapolis park system was created and how it grew and changed, but a lot of information about individual parks had to be left out. Fortunately I was able to include much more park-specific information when I wrote a history of each Minneapolis park – more than 180 of them — for the website of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. But I still have pages of fascinating, curious, amusing, odd details that didn’t fit into the book or the website. This space will allow me to pass along some of the most interesting information on Minneapolis parks I continue to discover.
Since finishing the book and website I have met many people who have great stories about Minneapolis parks, but no place to share them. So this blog provides space for anyone to tell their stories about our parks. Visit the park board’s website and read the history there of your favorite park then augment, embellish, clarify, or (gasp!) correct those histories through this blog. What do you remember of parks years ago? What are your favorite parks? How have they changed? Tell us what you do remember and cherish. Maybe it was fifty years ago. Maybe it was last week.
If your observations or memories are fairly brief, respond on this site as a “comment.” If you have more to say, send me an e-mail at minneapolisparkhistory [at] q.com. I’ll post your story for you. We’d also love to include your pictures of parks in days gone by. If you have digital versions of those pictures e-mail them to me and I’ll try to post them.
I welcome all comments on park history, but I’m not terribly interested in comments on present park politics. Other blogs or websites can address those issues. I may edit submissions for clarity or brevity or double-check with you on facts if warranted. All comments will be reviewed by me before posting. Please be patient if it takes me a bit of time to get to your comments.
David C. Smith
minneapolisparkhistory [at] q.com