Minneapolis parks encompass the city’s defining lakes and the river banks at the core of the city’s development. Acquired by purchase and donation, the parks include features of astonishing beauty, historical significance and ecological wonder, all within a thriving urban setting. More than this, the parks are imbued with personal meaning—the playgrounds that live in the memories of generations of people, are the soul of our communities.

Today, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is an independently elected, semi-autonomous body responsible for governing, maintaining and developing the Minneapolis Park System. The 6,800-acre system consists of local and regional parks, playgrounds, golf courses, gardens, biking and walking paths, nature sanctuaries, lakes and a 55-mile parkway system.

Take a step back in time to discover how our world-renowned park system got its start.

Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline

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1855-82


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1883


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1884-1905


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1906-29


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1930-41


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1942-50


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1950s


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1960s


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1970s


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1980s


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1990s


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2000s


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2010s


Online Resources

Annual Reports

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board annual reports give a synopsis of park board activities for the preceding year. Annual Reports 2010-2016 [PDFs] are available on the Superintendent page.

To view digitized versions of the years 1884-1887, 1891, and 1894, please go to the Minnesota Digital Libraries repository.

Other digitized years can be viewed through Google Books and HathiTrust. A full set of physical copies is available through Hennepin County Libraries. 

Proceedings

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board proceedings are the official minutes for each meeting of the board.

Digitized versions of the 1883-1891 park board proceedings can be found online at Minnesota Digital Libraries.

A full set of published copies is available through Hennepin County Libraries.

Central Library Archive

Minneapolis Parks Collection at Central Library

Thousands of original documents providing a detailed, fascinating record of Minneapolis park history are now safely preserved and open to the public in Special Collections located on the fourth floor of Central Library. Learn more and check hours of operation at the Hennepin County Library Special Collections page.

Historic Images

Hundreds of historic Minneapolis Parks images were scanned and uploaded to the Minnesota Digital Library in 2017. A small collection of these photos are posted below. Visit the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Collection on the MDL to browse through all these fascinating photos, drawings and glass lantern slides.

Funding for this project was provided to the Minnesota Digital Library through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, a component of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment, ratified by Minnesota voters in 2008.