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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Minneapolis in Hennepin County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Lucy Wilder Morris

and Father Hennepin Bluffs Park

 
 
Lucy Wilder Morris Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 22, 2014
1. Lucy Wilder Morris Marker
Inscription.  Did you know that this park began as a power plant easement?
A local amateur historian, Lucy Wilder Morris, convinced the St. Anthony Falls Water Power Company to grant an easement for a small park here in 1924. Lucy's interest in local history led her to publish "Old Rail Fence Corners: Frontier Tales Told by Minnesota Pioneers" in 1914. In 1922, ready for a new project, she founded the Daughters of the American Colonists (DAC) to preserve historic sites around Minnesota. The first DAC project was to protect the site at the east end of the Stone Arch Bridge, where, in 1680, Father Louis Hennepin was said to be the first European to "discover" and name St. Anthony Falls, with the help of native American guides, who had long revered the area.

With an easement in hand and Lucy in the lead, the DAC developed the half acre site, adding fencing, a gate, trees, and importing a large boulder for a plaque. They also created a $500 endowment for 'perpetual upkeep.' Approximately $25 per year funded cutting the grass, pulling weeds, and maintaining the fence.

The park was dedicated as Lucy Wilder Morris Park in 1924. The
Marker detail: Lucy Wilder Morris image. Click for full size.
Minneapolis Historical Society
2. Marker detail: Lucy Wilder Morris
Lucy Wilder Morris speaking at the planting of the Loring Elm, 1916
Park Board agreed to care for the park in 1931. In 1957, Northern States Power conveyed the deed for the park to the Hennepin County Historical Society, though the Park Board continued to maintain it. By the time the adjacent land became Father Hennepin Bluffs Park in 1977, its plaque and small iron gate had disappeared.

It was not until 1989 that the Park Board actually acquired legal title to Lucy Wilder Morris Park.

How did Lucy's park get lost?
Over the years, maintenance of Lucy Wilder Morris Park was limited. By 1970, it showed its age and Rolf Svendsen took it upon himself to clean up Lucy Wilder Morris Park.

Svendsen arranged for a crew of 75 youth to re-develop the park and surrounding land. Using funds from the Council for Community Action, Burlington Northern, and Cutler-Magner Salt Company, with equipment and materials from the MPRB, they built stairways to the riverbank, brick walkways, and a small bridge to the nearby island.

His work re-invigorated the area and began a park acquisition debate which took many years to resolve. It ultimately lead to the 1977 acquisition of the eight acres which is now named Father Hennepin Bluffs Park. A plaque about Lucy Wilder Morris Park was re-installed, but the park itself and its name became obsolete.

The Minneapolis Park System provides a wide range of activities along the
Marker detail: Lucy Wilder Morris Park, 1942 image. Click for full size.
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society
3. Marker detail: Lucy Wilder Morris Park, 1942
Mississippi, from historic hiking trails to biking and bird watching. Visit www.minneapolisparks.org to trace the footsteps of history!

The 125th Historical Markers Project
Celebrating 125 Plus Years of Inspiring and Unusual History of
the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

 
Erected by Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsParks & Recreational AreasWomen. In addition, it is included in the Daughters of the American Colonists series list.
 
Location. 44° 58.896′ N, 93° 15.015′ W. Marker is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in Hennepin County. Marker can be reached from 6th Avenue Southeast just south of Southeast Main Street. Marker is located beside the walkway in Main Street Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 420 Southeast Main Street, Minneapolis MN 55414, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Portaging Around the Falls (within shouting distance of this marker); Marcy~Holmes (within shouting distance of this marker); Pettingill's Wonderful Water (within shouting distance of this marker); Father Hennepin Bluffs (within shouting
Marker detail: Father Hennepin plaque image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Father Hennepin plaque
Detail of plaque on Father Hennepin Statue
located at St. Mary’s Basilica, 2009
distance of this marker); The Stone Arch Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Sawmilling: The City's First Industry (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Pillsbury A Mill (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Pillsbury A Mill (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Minneapolis.
 
Also see . . .
1. An Unembarrassed Patriot: Lucy Wilder Morris. When the Daughters of the American Colonists learned the property was owned by Northern States Power Company and the Great Northern Railway in the summer of 1981, 223 members launched a series of moves distinguished partly by persuasion and partly by modification of their rules to win easements to the property and their right as a society to hold it. A fence was constructed with a locked gate to protect unwary children from the railroad tracks. A water system was installed, and appropriate bushes and trees were planted. The Daughters of the American Colonists voted to name the property the Lucy Wilder Morris Park. (Submitted on August 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Old Rail Fence Corners by Lucy Leavenworth Wilder Morris. Old Rail Fence
Marker detail: Father Hennepin Bluffs, 1973 by Steve Gustafson image. Click for full size.
Minneapolis Collection, Hennepin County Public Library
5. Marker detail: Father Hennepin Bluffs, 1973 by Steve Gustafson
Corners is an historical treasure trove containing the stories of the first significant waves of European-American settlers in the now state of Minnesota (United States of America). This book has direct accounts of mid-19th century lives and experiences on the frontier, recounted by the frontiersmen and women when many of them were in their mid-90s. (Submitted on August 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Father Hennepin Bluff Park History. Another half-acre of land on the bluff, Lucy Wilder Morris Park, was officially added to the park when title to the land was turned over to the park board by the Hennepin County Historical Society in 1989. The park board had been maintaining Lucy Wilder Morris Park, however, since 1931 under an agreement with and funding from the Daughters of American Colonists. (Submitted on August 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Lucy Wilder Morris Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 22, 2014
6. Lucy Wilder Morris Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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