Swede Hollow Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Swede Hollow Park

Day-lighted segment of Phalen Creek, 2001
Swede Hollow, St. Paul, ca. 1910
Address: 650 Payne Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Dayton's Bluff, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Payne-Phalen, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Historic Function: Neighborhood/community
Current Function: Park

Dayton's Bluff, Payne-Phalen Saint Paul Ramsey

Swede Hollow Park is nestled between the Dayton's Bluff and Railroad Island communities in the ravine that once carried Phalen Creek to the Mississippi River.

Swede Hollow Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota
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Site History

The first settler to the picturesque valley was Edward Phalen in 1841. He sold his claim in 1844 to William Dugus who built Saint Paul's first sawmill on the creek. Other businesses followed and in 1865 the first train rolled through the valley heading to Duluth.

The early industry attracted Swedish immigrants who settled just south of the industrial area and named the valley Svenska Dalen or Swede Hollow. As the Swedish moved "up onto the street", other immigrant people moved into the homes: the Polish, Italian and then the Spanish Americans.

Gentille Yarusso lived in the Hollow in the 1920's and wrote "We children often wondered why our people chose this enchanted place to settle in. Why not somewhere else? As we got older we knew; they chose this place because they were with their own countrymen, with familiar faces, family noises, gestures, facial expressions. They selected this enchanted landscape because it resembled the place they had left behind. They loved the hills, the trees, the stream, the security of friends and relatives."

In December 1956, the city Health Department discovered that Swede Hollow had no sewer or city water service and declared the Hollow a health hazard. The last 14 families were moved out and the remaining homes destroyed. Ideas for the property at that time included filling it in for industrial use, bridging it for use as part of the highway 212 project, or making it a city park.

Plans to make Swede Hollow a park can be traced back to 1900, when William Hamm served on the Park Board and wanted the beautiful little valley to be a city park in memory of his father, the founder of the Hamm Brewery Company.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, ideas for Swede Hollow ranged from filling it in for industrial use to using it as part of highway 212 project that would have cost Dayton's Bluff nearly 500 homes. However, in 1973 Swede Hollow was designated a Saint Paul Park. The restoration of Swede Hollow as a park was the Saint Paul Garden Club's Bicentennial project, for which they received the Garden Clubs of America's Founder's Fund Award in 1977.

Much work has been completed on Swede Hollow Park, and the Bruce Vento Regional Trail now connects Swede Hollow to Phalen Park. In the years to come the Bruce Vento Trail will connect with the Willard Munger recreational trail, which will connect Saint Paul to Duluth. [1]

Preceeded by

The Swede Hallow Neighborhood

Memories and stories


65}px This place is part of the
Dayton's Bluff Driving Tour

Photo Gallery

Related Links

Payne-Phalen Neighborhood

Foresters Hall, 876 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

960 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Payne Avenue State Bank, 961-963 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

983 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

991-993 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Nelson Brothers Grocery Building, 1020 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

G. A. Johnson Building, 987-989 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota


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