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Collection on the Sumner Field Housing Project

Identifier: M/A 0233

Description of Contents

This collection includes 3 boxes of materials from the Sumner Field Housing Project. Box one consists of scrapbooks of clippings dating from 1936-1939, 2 photo albums, additional photographs, newspaper clippings, and material on the Heritage Park Development that replaced Sumner Field Homes. Box two includes the copper cornerstone box that was opened the summer of 1998 when a new housing development was to begin on the land that was occupied by the Sumner Field Homes. Box 3 includes the contents from the cornerstone box. The cornerstone box and contents were given to Grace Belton, librarian at Sumner Library. In 2002 the Sumner Library staff under Dan Kelty and David McAloney turned the materials over to the Special Collections Department. Newspaper clippings and photographs from the Minneapolis History Collection were later added to the collection.


  • 1924 - 1945
  • Majority of material found within 1936 - 1939


Access Restrictions

The collection is available for use in Special Collections during the department's open hours.


The first government built and operated housing development in Minneapolis was Sumner Field. Built in 1938, it consisted of 44 two-story row houses and four three-story apartment buildings in a municipal park-like setting. It was a government effort to clear slums, address a housing shortage and create construction jobs during the Great Depression. Private landlords opposed it.

Sumner Field was the oldest, largest, and second of four housing complexes demolished under the settlement of a lawsuit (1995 Hollman settlement) alleging that public agencies discriminated by concentrating minorities in inner-city public housing.

Sumner Field was razed in 1998. It was replaced by the Heritage Park Housing Development, built between 2002-2009. Heritage Park is roughly bounded by Lyndale, Emerson, Third and 10th Avenues North.

The early residents of Sumner Field were predominately Jewish along with some African-Americans. African-Americans and Southeast Asians made up the majority of residents immediately before Sumner Field was razed.

Sumner's most famous residents were the musician Prince Rodgers Nelson and Richard Green who at one time led the Minneapolis and New York school systems.


0.83 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 oversize map)

Language of Materials


Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

Film footage of the Sumner Field Housing Project is available online in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.

Additional photos can also be found in the digital collections: P12235, P12252, P12253, P12257, P12486

Collection on the Sumner Field Housing Project
October 2002
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.