Then & Now: Motoring Through Minnehaha



The Falls motel on Minnehaha and 52nd


In 1958 Minnehaha Park expanded after the Minneapolis Park Board acquired 26 acres of old Fort Snelling from the federal government. The board continued to lobby Congress to donate most of Fort Snelling to the park in hopes of continuing West River Parkway all the way to the Minnesota River. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but nothing ever came of it. A couple years later, the highway department began planning for a new freeway between downtown Minneapolis and the airport. An elevated roadway was proposed between Minnehaha Park and Longfellow Gardens . The park board argued that the roadway should be diverted around the western edge of Longfellow Garden and challenged the highway plan all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Before the case was heard the court ruled in favor of a similar case in Nashville. A compromise never had to be reached because federal money for building the freeway dried up. When a new highway was eventually built in the 1990s, the decision was made to place a tunnel over Minnehaha Creek and create a “land bridge” between Minnehaha Park and Longfellow Garden.



Early 60’s postcards and commemorative Coca Cola bottle caps


reposted from Nokohaha

1 thought on “Then & Now: Motoring Through Minnehaha

  1. Froggie

    A couple errors in this post.

    – First, the freeway proposal was at-grade, not elevated. Minnehaha Pkwy was planned to bridge over the freeway…that’s something that could not have happened with an elevated freeway.

    – The part about “federal money drying up” is not true. Opposition to routing any sort of freeway either along Hiawatha near the falls or around the west side of the small lagoon in the creek (roughly along 49th St and 39th Ave…one of the alternative alignments considered similar to what the author says the park board wanted) is what killed the project. The death knell was the 1985 Environmental Impact Statement that recommended a 4-lane boulevard and LRT as the preferred alternative.

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