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Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Records

Identifier: M/A 0324
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Description of Contents

This collection is currently being arranged and preserved. The finding aid is not complete. If you have questions, please contact Special Collections staff.

Committee materials, correspondence, subject files, petitions, oversize maps, and other administrative records created by the Minneapolis Board of Park Commissioners (now the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board) from the 1890s to 1960s. Materials are arranged in series based on the records original organizational system. The bulk of the collection is in the committees series. Most materials are organized by committee and are most easily located through references in the published Board Proceedings, which are also available in Special Collections.


  • Creation: 1880s - 1960s



The physical collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours. Selected maps, plans, and architectural drawings from this collection are available in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.


Established in 1883, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board manages the Minneapolis Park System. Board commissioners are elected by Minneapolis residents. A Superintendent appointed by the board oversees the operation of 185 parks.

The original Board of Park Commissioners (as the organization was first named) was appointed by the Minnesota state legislature in 1883 following a vote of Minneapolis residents. Charles Loring was the board’s first president. William Berry became the board’s first superintendent in 1884. During his tenure, the Board of Park Commissioners acquired much of its current park land, including the Chain of Lakes, Minnehaha Park, and Theodore Wirth Park. Theodore Wirth was named as Berry’s successor in 1906. Wirth was an advocate for the use of parks by all community members, and he was a national leader in the establishment of neighborhood parks and recreation facilities.

During the twentieth century, the park board continued to expand the Minneapolis Park System, increase recreation services within the parks, and manage existing park lands. Comprising 7,059 acres of parkland and water in 2023, the Minneapolis parks have been nationally recognized as a preeminent park system.


124 boxes (124 boxes)

Language of Materials


Processing Information

This collection was processed by Gage Backman and Lindsay Peterson from September 2018 to 2023.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Records
Gage Backman, Jenna Jacobs
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.