The park that almost wasn’t

Shingle Creek Trail. Photo by TrailLink.

This article was written by Deanna Averill

Shingle Creek Park is 75 acres of a diversified eco system. In addition to the fish in the 12-mile creek, many water fowl, such as ducks and geese, call the creek home. Mammals like fox, squirrels and deer also call the creek bed home. There are miles of walking paths for families to enjoy a quiet evening stroll.

Shingle Creek got its name because of the numerous shingle mills that once dotted the banks near the Mississippi River. 

The creek that runs from Eagle Lake in Maple Grove to Webber Park and the Mississippi River was low swampy land with very little development potential. Following World War II Minneapolis was experiencing a housing shortage. One of the last undeveloped areas in Minneapolis was the area around Shingle Creek. Prior development plans by the park board had discounted the area; but the city sewer department and city council saw its potential and proposed to make adjustments to the Shingle Creek for development. This was to be done by lowering the water table to an acceptable level for housing construction and relocating the creek. The park board was charged with making this happen in 1942.  

Bonds were issued to acquire the land around the creek for storm-water drainage. Many landholders were opposed to the project fearing that the land values set by the appraisers were too low. The disputes were ultimately resolved, but it would take 15 more years for construction on the park to eventually be completed.

Near the end of the 1950s, the park construction was started. The park was dedicated in 1960. The creek was manipulated for the park to be developed. During construction, North Minneapolis had two Shingle Creeks to allow for the re-channeling. The park is now home to several baseball fields, basketball court, playground/tot lots, soccer field, wading pool and sledding hill. The community center next to Olson Middle School came to be in 1977, but was damaged by arson in 1998. It was rebuilt the following year.  Improvements to the building and the addition of the skating park were added in 2005. Work has been ongoing at the park to include a pedestrian and bike pathway and a cross-country ski trail along the creek. 

Our beloved park is utilized all year-round by folks of all ages for a variety of activities. In the summer time you can watch a sepak takraw (kick volleyball), football practice or a baseball game. In the winter you can see kids having fun sliding down the sledding hill or even see a dog musher on the walking paths. If you are quiet, you might be able to see the neighborhood deer, beavers or woodchucks looking for their next meal. What is your favorite activity at Shingle Creek Park?