BEEHIVES AND STONE STRUCTURES

Bob Reiss, from the Re-Echo, Fall 2002

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is planning the construction of a six lane freeway from Cedar Lake Road south to 36th Street on the Highway 100 corridor.  An informational meeting was held on July 16, 2002 between the St. Louis Park Historical Society, MnDOT, and the City’s Public Works Department to determine the impact on the beehive and stone structures located on two sites in St. Louis Park in this corridor.  One is located in the SE quadrant of Highway 100 and Highway 7 and the other along Highway 7 north of Minnetonka Blvd.

No funds for this construction are planned until 2008, and there is concern that the structures will be lost before any plans for saving them are implemented.  The two sites had not been maintained and there was a danger that they appeared to be abandoned.  MnDOT agreed to resume maintenance.

These two sites are on the National Register of Historic sites and are subject to historical advantages/limitations and possibly financial opportunities.

MnDOT’s current plans do not include any change to the park and structures in the SE quadrant.  It is outside the area of future construction.  Since this site is also directly south of the Hennepin County’s Southwest Corridor Trail which runs from Minneapolis to the western suburbs, it could remain intact and Hennepin County or St. Louis Park could incorporate it as part of the existing trail system.  There is already evidence that the trail users have been using this park as a rest stop.

The site on Minnetonka Blvd. will be lost to the highway construction.  The structures in the park will have to be moved to other locations to be saved.  Potential permanent locations are Wolfe or Jorvig Park.  Another possible location for the structures might be along a need trail connection between the Southwest Corridor Trail and the Cedar Lake Trail.  This trail would probably be build in connection with the new freeway so an interim spot might have to be found for them to be saved.

The discussions at this meeting were positive and resulted in long and short range suggestions for the preservation of these historic sites.  Several civic organizations have expressed an interest in this project.  The St. Louis Park Historical Society will continue to monitor MnDOT’s plans.