The Park Today
In the early days of Minneapolis, Cedar Lake figured more prominently as a major train switching yard than as a park. Despite the presence of the railroad and a large ice-cutting operation, land was purchased around the perimeter of Cedar Lake for houses, hotels and other urban structures. Eventually the lake was connected to nearby lakes. Most of the railroad facilities closed in the mid 1980’s. Tracks were removed and buildings were razed. Nature slowly reclaimed the area. Flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees took root on the land and wildlife such as deer, foxes, song birds, hawks, and many other species returned. When citizens raised money to buy the land, they envisioned and then created a new kind of park: a wild, yet urban, nature preserve linked by trails to the Mississippi River and other portions of Chain of Lakes Regional Park. The lands and waters that make up Cedar Lake Park have changed significantly over time. Today the park’s topography, ecological features and human activities vary greatly from place to place.
The images in this section reflect the park’s wildness, its urban surroundings, and its wide diversity–in topography, ecology, and human uses–both now and in the past.
Photos in this section highlight Cedar Lake Park’s diversity and its beauty. Come visit the park!
The photos in this section show Cedar Lake and surrounding land from around 1850 to 1950. Click on images at right to see larger views with annotations.
These aerial photos, taken in 2001, document the double spiral of the memorial Cedar Grove. Sixty-six cedar trees are now visible from the air. With the help of the GPS system, the spirals have been extended from the heart of the park outward into the surrounding city.
Founding of the Park