“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Maplewood in Ramsey County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Frost Avenue

Gateway to Gladstone

— Transportation • Economy • Community • Recreation —

Frost Avenue marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, June 5, 2019
1. Frost Avenue marker
Inscription.  The intersection of Phalen Creek and the Frost Avenue Bridge is indicative of constructed change for social, economic, and recreational activity over the years. The waterways in this area that connect Gervais Lake, Keller Lake, and Lake Phalen have been dredged and nearby bridges have been built and re-built since as early as 1864, all in an effort to move people and connect resources throughout the St. Paul region.

Frost Avenue Bridge
Automobile recreation was a favorite pastime for local residents in Gladstone. As traffic increased, roadways such as East Shore Drive were created to allow more people to enjoy the scenic vistas and parkside landscape of Lake Phalen. Frost Avenue was not fully surveyed from English Street to Keller Creek until 1906 and only became a major street in 1926 when it was first paved.

The original Frost Avenue Bridge was constructed in 1930 and offered direct access from U.S. Highway 61 to the Gladstone area. In the 1980s, Frost Avenue was changed into a 4-lane road in anticipation of becoming Highway 5 running from St. Paul to Stillwater, but that direct connection never happened. In 2011,
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Frost Avenue was narrowed to 2-lanes and the old limestone bridge was replaced with the bridge you see in front of you today. Pieces of limestone were salvaged from the old bridge and are now the foundation of the structure that holds this information panel. The original bridge plate was salvaged and relocated on the west side of this structure as a tribute to the original 1930 bridge.

A. Aerial view of nearby Lake Phalen looking north.

B. This bridge was constructed in 1912 over Keller Creek, just east of the terminus of Roselawn Avenue and Highway 61. Keller Creek ran through the left archway and Keller Parkway through the right one, which allowed vehicles to conveniently move around Lake Phalen. The road above it was paved in 1921 running from St. Paul to White Bear Lake and was re-named U.S. Highway 61 in 1926.

C. Local residents canoed through Keller Creek, which connected Lake Phalen to Keller Lake and Lake Gervais. Canoeing was historically a popular way to pass the time on hot summer days in St. Paul and continues to be a favorite recreational activity throughout the Twin Cities and Minnesota.

D. The area adjacent to the Frost Avenue Bridge is proximate to where U.S. Highway 61, a famous historical corridor in Minnesota, begins its journey North. Highway 61 has been a critical road for local economies to move goods and services
Frost Avenue marker and 2011 bridge image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, June 5, 2019
2. Frost Avenue marker and 2011 bridge
The marker stands on limestone salvaged from the original 1930 bridge at this location
and also has served as an essential route in the structure of Minnesota tourism since it was first named in 1926. The landmark sign of vacation, the "St. Paul Tourist Cabins," was located on Frost Avenue for many years. It has since been donated to the Minnesota Historical Society.

E. U.S. Highway 61 was surveyed, platted, and built as a public highway in 1870. This new highway played an essential role in the stability and growth of the local and regional economy, from Maplewood to the north shore of Minnesota. In addition to acting as a conduit for tourism, the highway also allowed farmers such as the Koch family (seen above) to expand their farms.

F. The 1912 bridge shown above (see map symbol B) was demolished in 1951 and rebuilt north of its original location. When initially surveyed, it was discovered that the southern end of the new bridge sits exactly on the 45th parallel north. If you continued north about 500 yards from this information panel, you would be standing on the 45th parallel, exactly 1/2 the distance between the equator and the North Pole.

G. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) is seen here constructing the Phalen Park dam across Keller Creek. 200 years north of this spot, the old Highway 61 bridge can be seen in the background.

H. The paving and road construction for Frost Avenue was a major event for Gladstone.
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The town had a large parade with dancing in the streets to celebrate this new thoroughfare.

I. Honeymoon Falls was constructed in 1932 to pump well water into Keller Creek to raise its water level for recreational boats. Honeymoon Falls was removed in 1980.

J. This plaque and stone shown above was installed by a local women's club and marked "The Washington Memorial Grove." It was located on the slope where Frost Avenue and the historic Keller Parkway intersected. Unfortunately, the memorial no longer exists.

K. This is a picture of the original 1930 Frost Avenue Bridge. Although the bridge has evolved over time, the trail along Keller Creek continues to provide a scenic connection between Lake Phalen and Keller Lake for cyclists and pedestrians.
Erected by Maplewood & Maplewood Area Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsParks & Recreational AreasRoads & VehiclesWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1926.
Location. 44° 59.839′ N, 93° 3.729′ W. Marker is in Maplewood, Minnesota, in Ramsey County. Marker can be reached from Frost Avenue. Marker is on the east side of the paved path along Phalen Creek in Keller Regional Park, just south of the Frost Avenue Bridge. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Paul MN 55109, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Destination Lake Phalen (approx. 0.2 miles away); Phalen Regional Park Waterfall (approx. 0.3 miles away); Tallest Ice Structure in History (approx. half a mile away); A History of Change (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Shops at Gladstone (approx. 0.7 miles away); Water: A Well Needed Resource (approx. 0.7 miles away); History in Depth (approx. 0.7 miles away); In Memory of Civilian Conservation Corps Personnel (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Maplewood.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 461 times since then and 231 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 26, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 22, 2023