3030 E 53rd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Recreation Center: Keewaydin Recreation Center
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Tennis practice wall available.
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Size: 4.05 acres
Service Area: South
Master Plan: After two years of extensive community engagement, the Keewaydin Park Master Plan was approved in 2016 as part of the South Service Area Master Plan. The Keewaydin Park Master Plan will guide outdoor park improvements at Keewaydin Park for the next 20-30 years. Click the link below to view the master plan.
Name: The name comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha. Keewaydin was the “Northwest Wind, the Home Wind.” Before the name was formally adopted on May 2, 1928, the park was known as Alexander Ramsey Playground, because it was adjacent to what was then Alexander Ramsey School.
Acquisition and Development
Keewaydin Field Park came into being as the result of votes by the school board and park board in 1927 to cooperate on the purchase and use of a new school and playground, which would generate a “substantial saving” to the city. The school would provide a gym and shelter while the park board would develop outdoor playground and recreation facilities. A plan for the development of the property was included in the 1927 annual report of the park board. The 1928 annual report called this the first instance of close cooperation between the two boards, although earlier efforts to develop Audubon and Stewart parks also involved collaboration between the two boards.
The 1928 report announced that acquisition of land east of the recently built school was nearly completed. The land was purchased through condemnation procedures at a total cost of just under $2,400. After the acquisition, Nokomis Avenue between the park and school was vacated.
Improvements began in late 1928 and continued into 1929 when 38,600 cubic yards of fill were used to create a level playing field. The park board noted in its 1929 report that the park had the best-equipped shelter for skating and hockey rinks due to the “well-appointed” basement room provided by the new school. By the summer of 1930, the park board provided recreation instructors for the new park after playground equipment was installed and two tennis courts—with backstops— were built.
In 1930 and 1931 the park board continued to haul in fill in a fight to keep the land at a level grade. Because the park was built on a former swamp, fill kept settling. Finally in 1932, the fields were regraded and the tennis courts and a concrete wading pool were finished.
It wasn’t until 1959 that the park had year-round recreation programming.
The park board redeveloped the park and built a recreation center there in 1971-1972. At that time the park board and school board considered making the recreation center part of the school, but ultimately decided to build a free-standing facility.
A new playground for small children was developed at the park in 2000. A computer lab was opened in the rec center in 2007.
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.