Archive for the ‘Mississippi River Gorge’ Tag

Minneapolis’s Amazing River Parks: West River Parkway

In view of my presentation to the Citizens Advisory Council on the Mississippi River Gorge Master Plan this evening, I am reproducing the histories of the East and West River Parkways here. I would recommend reading them both as not all background information is repeated.

West River Parkway

West River Parkway is the current name for the parkway along the river bluff that extends down the Mississippi River Gorge from Portland Avenue to Minnehaha Park. Included in the 205.13 acres of park land listed in the MPRB inventory is all land from the parkway down the gorge to the river’s edge.

The first official name for the riverside land was West Riverside Park, which was adopted in 1904. (Not to be confused with Riverside Park, which was south of Franklin Avenue and not yet contiguous then with the river gorge park.) William Folwell had proposed naming it Michael Accault Park. Folwell noted that Accault was the leader of the French exploring party that included Father Louis Hennepin as a subordinate member in 1679. Hennepin is credited with being the first European to view St. Anthony Falls, which he named after his patron saint, Saint Anthony of Padua. The park board chose a more descriptive name and Accault’s name has been forgotten. In 1906, when the parkway was given its first permanent pavement, it was renamed River Road West. Continue reading

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Minneapolis’s Amazing River Parks: East River Parkway

In view of my presentation to the Citizens Advisory Council on the Mississippi River Gorge Master Plan this evening, I am reproducing the histories of the East and West River Parkways here.

East River Parkway

East River Parkway extends along the east side of the Mississippi River from Arlington Street SE on the University of Minnesota campus downriver to the Minneapolis boundary with St. Paul. The entire acreage from the parkway to the river’s edge is 84.99 acres.

Originally the property was referred to informally as East River Bank Parkway, but was officially named St. Anthony Parkway in 1901. The name of the parkway was changed to East River Road in 1906. At the same time, the east and west river roads, Riverside Park and Minnehaha Park were all officially named parts of Mississippi Park. The current park name was adopted in 1968 when most park roads were officially renamed as “parkways.” In December 1894, upon the suggestion of William Folwell, the board approved naming the east river flats “Cheever’s Landing,” for the man who had operated a ferry on the site in the early days of the city. While the name was officially adopted, the area has always been referred to informally as the East River Flats Park.

The banks of the Mississippi River below St. Anthony Falls, the only true gorge along the entire length of the Mississippi River, played a central role in the creation of the Minneapolis park system. Horace William Shaler Cleveland, the Chicago-based landscape architect Continue reading

Horace Cleveland Gets a Park!

It could finally happen! I was delighted to learn that Minneapolis Park Commissioners Scott Vreeland and Steffanie Musich will introduce to the board this week a formal proposal to name all or part of the Mississippi River gorge in Minneapolis after Horace William Shaler Cleveland. He was the landscape architect who was so influential in the creation of the Minneapolis and St. Paul park systems and, especially, the protection and preservation of the incomparable river gorge as a park.

The cover of the park board's 1905 annual report shows the Mississippi River gorge looking up river from the mouth of Minnehaha Creek at left. (Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

The cover of the park board’s 1905 annual report shows the Mississippi River gorge looking up river from the mouth of Minnehaha Creek at left. (Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

I can think of no higher or more appropriate honor for a man whose vision meant so much to life in this metropolis than to name this magnificent ribbon of untrammeled, still-wild green in his name.

Scott Vreeland has pointed out that the proposal he will read this week is only the beginning of the process that must gain approval now from many jurisdictions, from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to the National Park Service. Perhaps it is indicative of Cleveland’s profound legacy that local, regional, state and national entities are now involved in the continued preservation and administration of the treasure the river gorge has become.

But it is a start. To read more about why I believe this is important, read my earlier articles here and here. Or click on Cleveland’s name in the tag cloud at right to learn a great deal more about this extraordinary person.

Thanks Scott and Steffanie for taking this step.

I hope all other organizations, public and private, that are interested in the river will support them.

David C. Smith

© 2014 David C. Smith