2000 Second St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Recreation Center: Bottineau Recreation Center
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Name: Bottineau Park was named for Pierre Bottineau, one of the first settlers of St. Anthony, who owned a large portion of what is now northeast Minneapolis. According to a 1975 compilation of the names of park properties, Bottineau at one time had platted the land for a park. In 1933, the Polish Central Organization petitioned to change the name of the park to Pulaski Field, but that request was never approved. Kazimierz Pulaski was a Polish soldier who became a general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and is credited with establishing the first cavalry in the U. S. Army.
Acquisition and Development
The original 6.22 acres of Bottineau Park were purchased in 1915 for nearly $29,000. The first plans for Bottineau in the 1915 superintendent’s report show that the park was to be devoted exclusively to recreation. In 1916, the park that had once been a vegetable field was improved to include one baseball field and one football field, to double as a skating rink in winter, six tennis courts, one outdoor gymnasium each for girls and boys and two drinking fountains. The park was also provided a temporary frame fieldhouse of “plain but neat appearance,” according to Theodore Wirth’s report of 1916. At that time Wirth also recommended a permanent fieldhouse and a wading pool. The park was given its first toilets in 1918 when the board transferred two toilets from Loring Park, which already had indoor toilets in the Loring Shelter.
While money to further improve Bottineau and other first ward parks was approved in 1917, the improvements were put off until 1929, when the park got a “much-needed” resurfacing and other improvements, which cost about $5,000, according to the 1929 annual report.
With the onset of the Great Depression, followed by World War II, few improvements were made to any parks. In 1938, Park Superintendent Christian Bossen presented a plan for a wading pool and a permanent shelter building at the park. Those plans were not executed until 1950, when the wading pool was built and an architect was hired to create new plans for a recreation building. A bandstand was also constructed in the park in 1950. Construction of a new recreation shelter in the park finally began in 1956, but it wasn’t completed in time to serve as a warming house that winter, so a temporary shelter was put up for skaters.
Near the end of the park board’s building boom of the 1970s, Bottineau Park received a new recreation center in 1977. That shelter burned down in 1999 and was replaced in 2001 by a domed fieldhouse unique among Minneapolis recreation centers.
A skate park was added to Bottineau Park in 2005. Significant improvements to the playing fields were begun in 2010 and completed in 2011, including the installation of an irrigation system, new fencing and new lighting.
Bottineau Park was the site of a memorial concert on August 8, 1923, to honor President Warren G. Harding whose funeral was held that day. All other parks, except Lake Harriet, where another memorial concert was held, were closed that day and park employees at all other parks were given the day off with pay. The park board also posted notices throughout the park system asking park visitors to show proper respect on that day of national mourning.
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.