Archive for the ‘Minnehikers’ Tag

Minneapolis Park Memory: A Hike Down Memory Lane

The Minneapolis Municipal Hiking Club celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. On the first Saturday of January every year, we do an anniversary hike, starting at Rarig Center on the West Campus and continuing on West River Parkway all the way to Minnehaha Falls. The hiking club was started by Theodore Wirth in 1920, and they hiked from Minnehaha Falls to Riverside Park, where they cooked coffee over an open fire and enjoyed donuts. The club has done this hike every year, but in reverse. I have hiked this route many times, even in bitter cold weather, as cold as minus 16 degrees. We end up with dinner at one of the churches. I believe the hiking club has hiked in every park in Minneapolis over the years. The club has also donated over $21,000 for flowering crabapple trees and other tree varieties, also benches by the rose and peace gardens. I recently helped edit a history booklet highlighting some of the activities and trips taken by members.

Edith Johnson

Editor’s note: For more information on the history of the Minneapolis Municipal Hiking Club, or Minnehikers, visit the Special Collections department of the Central Library in Minneapolis. The collection includes hiking club yearbooks for almost every year 1924-1999. The Minnesota Historical Society Library has a more limited collection featuring the earlier years.

We would enjoy reading more memories of club hikes in these pages.

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Minneapolis Park Memory: A Memorable Silence

I was the editor of the Minneapolis Municipal Hiking Club’s monthly newsletter for many years, up through the last month of the club’s existence in October 2010.

One hike I particularly remember took place on Wednesday, September 12, 2001. The Club had an evening hike scheduled for the neighborhood around Bossen Field in south central Minneapolis. Many planes fly over this area approaching the airport, but this was the day after 9/11 and all U.S. civilian planes were grounded by federal decree. It was quite a sensation walking in this area, expecting to hear planes fly over, but hearing none.

George Bridgman

Minnehikers was a popular club. Annual banquet, 1938. (Norton and Peel, Minnesota Historical Society, GV1.22 p87)

Editor’s note: The Minnehikers, as the club was known, was originally organized by the park board’s recreation staff in 1920. According to Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis Park System 1883-1944), the first hike took place on January 10, 1920. Minneapolis Mayor J. E. Meyers, Judge Edward Foote Waite and Wirth led 83 hikers 3 1/2 miles from Minnehaha Falls to Riverside Park.

Twenty-nine years later, the park board named a park for the juvenile court judge who participated that day: Waite Park in northeast Minneapolis.

Waite Park and Waite Park School, the first joint school/park development in Minneapolis in 1949, were named for Judge Edward F. Waite, pictured here with students and teachers at the school in about 1955, when he was 95. (Newburg Studio, Minnesota Historical Society, por 5807 p8)

The mayor’s name is on a park too, the J.E. Meyers Memorial Park in Mound on Lake Minnetonka. Internet sites list it as both a boy’s camp and a cemetery. A mystery to be solved. Of course, we know that Wirth has a park named for him, too.

I would tell more about the Minnehikers, but I hope former members of the group will do that themselves with first person accounts. The club sponsored its last hike in October. Changing times.

David C. Smith