1000 E 14th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Recreation Center: Elliot Recreation Center
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Name: The park and avenue were named for Dr. Jacob S. Elliot, who along with his wife donated the original land for Elliot Park in 1883. The Elliot’s son, Wyman, served as a park commissioner 1899-1901.
Acquisition and Development
Dr. Elliot had once resided in Minneapolis but had moved to California by the time the park board was created in 1883. Upon learning of the new park authority, he offered to donate as a park the land that had once been his garden. The park board accepted his donation of 2.18 acres in July of that year.
The park was quickly expanded when the Homeopathic Hospital offered to sell an adjoining two blocks of land to the park board for $20,000. The park board accepted that offer in December 1883. In the summer of 1884 the park board vacated 9th Street through the park and asked Horace Cleveland to create plans for the park.
The original plan included a pond in the center of the park. A water pipe was installed to the center of the lake in 1889, which produced a fountain of water that reached fifty feet into the air. The pond served as a skating rink in the early years of the park.
Nearly three acres were added to the park in 1908-09 for about $34,000. Negotiations for the land to the east and south of the original park took more than a year to complete.
With the addition of the new land Superintendent Theodore Wirth presented two plans for the park in the 1909 annual report. In both plans the one-time pond was shown as a wading pool. The plans differed in that one would have developed the eastern part of the park as a playground and the other plan called for a sunken flower garden. Wirth’s plans assumed the closing of 10th Avenue through the park, which had been approved by the board. However with improvement plans on hold, 10th Avenue was kept open by request of residents of the neighborhood.
Wirth’s playground option for the park was selected by the board for implementation in 1912, but after less than a year of operation, the nearby hospitals complained about the noise of children playing, and the playground equipment was removed in early 1913.
Although Wirth’s sunken garden was never created, even after the removal of the playground equipment, Elliot Park was planted with more flowers each year than most other parks. Elliot trailed only Loring Park, Minnehaha Park, Lake Harriet and the Armory Gardens in the number of flowers and bedding plants planted in 1919, with more than 4,000 plants.
As with most other parks, few improvements were made again until after World War II. In 1948, 10th Avenue was finally closed in preparation for a new playground, athletic field, tennis courts and wading pool, which were built in 1949. A shelter at the park was completed in 1950. The shelter was renovated in 1961.
In 1980, Elliot Park became the site of a unique project in Minneapolis parks. With the help of federal and state grants totaling nearly a million dollars, the first recreation center fully accessible to people with disabilities was built in Minneapolis parks.
The play areas in the park were updated in 1998, including a new basketball court, new pathways and landscaping. A skateboard park was added to the park in 2004.
Internet-enabled thermostat controls were installed in the rec center in 2008 to improve energy-efficiency and reduce operating costs. Security cameras were also installed that year.
In 2010 one of the first Nice Ride bicycle rental kiosks was installed at the park.
In 2015 a new synthetic turf athletic field replaced the battered grass field that had fallen into disrepair. The new field is larger, sporting NCAA-regulation dimensions (70 x 115 yards). Neighboring North Central College contributed a significant portion of the field’s construction cost and its men’s and women’s soccer teams host home games there.
History through 2008 written by David C. Smith, with updates from 2009 to present written by MPRB.