Park Siding Park

Park Siding Park

3113 W 28th ST

Park Siding Park is a favorite gathering space, and playground with an interesting history. It includes a drinking fountain, grill, picnic area, playground/tot lot, and garden tended by neighbors.

The Name

The park name, adopted November 4, 1925, was chosen because the property was adjacent to the railroad track just west of Dean Boulevard. There was actually a track spur, or “siding” from where park board equipment and supplies could be unloaded. From 1916, when the park board first leased the property, it was referred to as the Dean Boulevard Construction Yard or the Nelson Tract after the name of the company that sold the land to the park board.

Acquisition and Development

The original property of three acres was purchased June 4, 1919 from the Nelson Brothers Paving and Construction Company for $26,200, payable over ten years. The property was acquired to provide a storage and work yard, primarily as a paving plant for parkway construction. Theodore Wirth wrote in his 1919 annual report that the location provided excellent railroad track facilities for off-loading supplies, and space for shops, storehouses and yards.

Park Renovation

A proposal to rename the park Woodcarvers Park, in 1977, in exchange for the donation of three 25-foot totem or heritage poles for the park was not accepted by the park board. The park was referred to informally by park staff as Woodcarvers Park anyway because of the woodcarving shop and school across the street from the park.

When the park board completely renovated the little park in 1997, it won a design award from the Committee on Urban Environment. The renovation was financed in part by Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood revitalization funds.

Today the tranquil little park, nestled on a dead-end street among modern townhouses, lies beside not a railroad track, but a bicycle and pedestrian path. No longer a place to unload railcars, it’s an excellent place for a breather for cyclists who travel the path the trains once did. No hint remains of the muscular work of mixing asphalt and building roads.

© Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, 2008, Compiled and written by David C. Smith. Reprinted by permission of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the author.