2448 Ilion Ave. N
Minneapolis, MN 55411
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Major investments at Central Gym Park in 2018 were made possible with funding from the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan. This historic agreement between MPRB and the City of Minneapolis helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities.
Name: The park was named for Samuel C. Gale, a prominent settler, scholar, attorney and realtor who donated the land to the park board. Gale was an early proponent of parks in the city and helped create one of the earliest parks near downtown at Oak Lake, which no longer exists. He initially platted parks in his real estate development in 1873, ten years before the park board was created. Gale was a leader in most business and civic organizations of his time, including the Board of Trade.
Acquisition and Development
The park was donated to the city by being dedicated as parkland in the plat of Forest Heights on July 31, 1883. Other park properties dedicated in the plat were Cottage Park, Irving Triangle and Oliver Triangle. In 1887, the park board officially requested the city council to turn over the land for park purposes and park board expenditures for 1887 include $2.80 for the “Gale tract.” The 1888 annual report includes “Gale” among other small parks in its inventory.
The Forest Heights “squares” were first included separately in the annual report inventory of 1890, which listed them as 4 acres total.
The board appropriated $2,000 for the initial improvement of Glen Gale in 1892, but that work was not done until 1894. City water was extended into the park in 1898.
The first improvements to the park were made in 1909 according to plans published in the annual report that year. The center of the park, which Theodore Wirth noted was about a foot below the street grade, was used for a skating rink and playground.
A small addition was made to Glen Gale n 1914 when the city council asked the park board to take over a small street triangle adjacent to the park.
Glen Gale at one time was provided with a skating rink and warming house, but the warming house was removed at the request of area residents in 1925.
Petitions to create a baseball or softball field at Glen Gale were turned down in 1914 and again in 1932.
A tot lot built in Glen Gale in 1968 as part of an effort to provide more facilities for children in the neighborhood was renovated in 1987. New playground equipment was installed in 2010.
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.