Historic maps & aerial photographs of Lyndale park

Lyndale park has experienced many and sometimes drastic changes since the first designs and intentions to the way the park is designed and used today.  Following is a wonderful collection of park maps and aerial photographs of Lyndale park and the Rose Garden.

This map from the 1900’s was hanging in Theodore Wirth’s office. The rose garden construction began in 1908. It is the only part of this map that exists today. Spend some time looking at how differently the park was first envisioned. From the 43rd Street water landing and concourse, to the small park keeper’s cottage on 42nd & King’s Highway. That spot was chosen because the vantage point allowed for a view of the entire, proposed park.

This undated rose garden layout is the same as the color map featured above.

This map of the Men’s & Women’s Garden area is one of my favorite finds within the park board’s archive. The detail of the drafting and lettering is extraordinary. This map is from 1925 and also has Louis Boeglin listed as the Horticulturist.

From 1931, a plan “To Provide Better Pageant Accommodations”. There were yearly children’s pageants performed at Lyndale park that are the stuff of legend. (Make a link in stories area of blog) Thousands of people watching costumed children singing and dancing, performing in original, yearly shows. I imagine these events rivaling our May Day parades as far as crowd and spectacle. The crowds were so big, and the event so popular that this type of stage and seating was seriously considered.

This is the first of a series of aerial pictures featuring the park. Here is a link to a UMN web site that has collected decades of aerial photographs from across Minnesota. https://apps.lib.umn.edu/mhapo/ This is a fantastic resource for those interested in seeing urban growth, farm land evolution, or maybe what your house and neighborhood looked like in 1938.

This map from 1940 is very detailed. Some of the unique features include rose beds on the western side of Roseway Road, where the park board municipal yard and customer parking lots are, and a detailed Key to Climbing Roses. At that time there were 104 climbing rose bushes planted around the fence of the rose garden. The arrangement of the additional beds around the fountain area is also of interest, as the current gateways didn’t exist and the traffic and display patterns would have been very different. At the southernmost edge, the fence is continuous with no entryway and the current grove of flowering crabapples had not been planted yet.

A map of the Minneapolis Parks from 1947. One can see, from the lack of connection, the “missing piece” of the grand rounds roadway system.

Aerial pictures from 1947.

This very ambitious design was made in 1954. The type of design where the thought of a budget isn’t a concern. Teo points of design interest are the bed layouts at the top of the rose garden, by the fountain – here labeled Pool. The layout of these top beds changes often from design to design. At the bottom of the rose garden is a more formalized entrance from the lake.

A set of two aerial photos from 1956 and 1961.

There are quite a few close-ups from these two larger, detailed and involved drawings from 1963. This mid-century modernist design would have been transformational for the park. With the controlled space-age meets mickey mouse curves to the patterned beds and patios of the Garden Center & Conservatory. Roseway road has also been re-routed.

For anyone who has been in the park at night – which is against the law anyway so go home already. Anyway, here is a “Suggested Lighting Arrangement” from 1966 that had a lot of thought put in to it.

Another series of aerial photographs. There were many changes between 1961 and 1967. The years that follow are 1967, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1983 & 1993. The quality of the images varies with these.

There are several images from 1993. These are all early digital maps of elevation lines and I believe a focus on the trees throughout the park.

The last image is a 3’ x 5’ collage map of the Rose Garden, that I made in the winter of 2019. The rose bed colors are accurate to the actual garden.

We would like to thank our new sponsors.

Faceplant, a social media platform for horticulturalists.

The Dorothy Parker School of Conceptual Gardening. When you know your roses kick grass.

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