Van Cleve Park, 901 15th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Van Cleve Park

Van Cleve Park at sunset during the winter
Van Cleve Park baseball field on an overcast day
Address: 901 15th Avenue SE
Location of Site: Just North of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus
Neighborhood/s: Southeast Como, Minneapolis, Minnesota
City/locality-
State/province
Minneapolis, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1890
Founded by: Named after Major General Horatio P. Van Cleve
Historic Function: Park
Current Function: Park

Southeast Como Minneapolis Hennepin County

Van Cleve Park, 901 15th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.9853747° N, 93.2303982° WLatitude: 44°59′7.349″N
Longitude: 93°13′49.434″W
)

Van Cleve Park is a park in the Como neighborhood, just north of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. The park is a chief recreational area for the many students who live in the Como neighborhood in addition to general Minneapolis patrons.

Current functions include: Baseball Field Basketball Court Broomball Rink Hockey Rink Ice Rink Picnic Area Public Art Soccer Field Softball Field Garden, Tennis Court Wading Pool Restroom Facilities Tot Lot/Playground

Van Cleve Park has long been an important subject for the city of Minneapolis. It's relevance as one of the city's earliest, flourished, and well-invested park speaks to today's efforts to renovate and maintain the park. The park's function hasn't really changed since its creation; Van Cleve Park has rather been enhanced over the years to remain a chief landmark for recreation and the community for the vast, surrounding residential neighborhood and for University students.

Contents


Site History

The name is adopted after Major General Horatio P. Van Cleve. Van Cleve Park was purchased by the city of Minneapolis on March 1, 1890 and became one of the first Minneapolis parks with a playground. The 1 ½ acre pond was created immediately, the park fenced, and walks were laid down along with a double row of elm trees around the park. In 1904, a tennis court was added along with a warming house for skaters and two “toilet rooms”. Van Cleve park was one of the first whose plan incorporated active exercise and sports as parks at the time were just outlets for people to relax and get away from the city. The plan was contemporary by including both areas for activity and relaxation.

By the early 1920s, Van Cleve was the most heavily patronized of all city playgrounds in part due to its addition of playing fields.

By 1970, Van Cleve added a new wading pool, concrete tennis court, athletic fields for softball, baseball, and football, field lighting, and a new community center and gymnasium. The park expanded by nearly two acres. In 1999, the Van Cleve community center was closed and remodeled, completed in 2000. Van Cleve Park has since been voted as the best park for ice skating by the Minneapolis City Pages.

Annual Reports:

From 1893 on, there are references to “taking down the skate house” or “removing the warming house to the park toolyard,” indicating that this was a temporary seasonal warming house.

1900: shows that, to date, $17,257.83 has been spent on “improvements” at Van Cleve Park and $14,974.69 has been spent on “maintenance.”

1906 Annual Report mentions that “dilapidated fences” were removed at Van Cleve Park and that this “greatly improved the appearance.”

1907 Annual Report lists the following improvements at Van Cleve Park, for a total cost of $1,053.90: new sidewalks, grading and filling, planting, seeding and turfing, “gymnastic apparatus, etc.”

Proceedings of meetings of the Board of Commissioners:

April 5, 1890 > Instructing the Superintendent “to proceed with the improvement of Second Wark Park according to the plans submitted by the landscape gardener and approved by the Committee on Improvements,” not to exceed $2,000.

April 5, 1890 > Directing that a survey of Second Ward Park be made and “that thereupon the landscape gardener be authorized to make and submit a design for its improvement.”

May 19, 1890 > “Professor Cleveland submitted a plan for the improvement of Second Ward Park, whereupon Commissioner Folwell moved that that part of the park designated as a playground be changed to a pond, and that so changed the plan be approved.”

August 2, 1890 > Directing the Superintendent to complete the improvements planned for Second Ward Park.

May 20, 1891 > Authorizing bids for brick clay to complete the construction of a lake in Second Ward Park.

June 3, 1891 > Directing the Superintendent to complete the lake in Second Ward Park

October 7, 1891 > Authorizing $400 for grading walks in the Second Ward Park (actual cost was $413.25)

July 6, 1892 > Directing the Committee on Nomenclature to “report a suitable name” for Second Ward Park.

May 5, 1893 > The Committee on Nomenclature recommends “that Second Ward Park be designated as VanCleve Park. This in honor of both Gen. VanCleve and Mrs. Charlotte O. VanCleve, each of whom are illustriously identified with the early history of Minneapolis .”

May 20, 1895 > Directing the Superintendent to “build cement sidewalks around Van Cleve Park, also extend watermain throughout park for sprinkling purposes.”

May 16, 1904 > The Standing Committee on Improvements recommends granting the request of J. C. King et al “for the construction of a clay tennis court in Van Cleve Park.”

April 17, 1905 > Recommending the construction of “two toilet rooms” in Van Cleve Park.

October 31, 1905 > Superintendent Berry inquires about the wishes of the Board “about having a new skate house at Van Cleve.”

April 16, 1906 > Authorizing installation of “telephone station for park service only” at Van Cleve (and other parks) to improve communications with the Superintendent's office.

May 21, 1906 > Superintendent Wirth recommends “ten gasoline lamps be put up in Van Cleve Park. The park is without lights at present and the demand for lights in the park by the people of that vicinity is from all points of view reasonable and justified.”

June 4, 1906 > Seven gasoline lights not in use elsewhere have been installed in Van Cleve Park.

March 4, 1907 > Appropriating up to $4,000 for playground apparatus in 1907 for Farview, Powderhorn, and Van Cleve Park.

May 6, 1907 > Allocating $500 for “regarding the lawns” in Van Cleve Park

February 25, 1909 > Superintendent Wirth recommends bonding for projects including “proper shelter and toilet building” at Van Cleve Park, in the amount of $7,000.

May 2, 1910 > Awarding contract for “the construction of the Van Cleve field house.:

July 3, 1911 > Authorization to “move the toilet buildings now in Van Cleve Park and not in use, to a point … near the boat dock at Lake Calhoun.”

December 15, 1915 > Recommending the use of $700 for two tennis courts in Van Cleve Park

August 20, 1919 > Recommending the use of $10,000 from the 1917 bond issue to “improve the south end of Van Cleve Park.”

July 19, 1922 > Approving “the cutting off of the corner of Van Cleve Park at 15 th Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue.”

October 16, 1931 > The City Council recommends that the Park Board develop plans for a swimming pool in Van Cleve Park; referred to the Standing Committee on Improvements.

June 3, 1936 > Commissioner Wallace suggests that the Superintendent be authorized to prepare detailed plans for a swimming pool at Van Cleve Park to submit to the WPA authorities.

April 6, 1938 > Commissioner Wallace moves “that the officers of the Board be authorized and directed to assist the two committees of Southeast citizens working on a playground in the west end of the ward and a playground near Van Cleve Park by providing whatever pertinent facts and surveys that they might have.”

July 15, 1940 > Closing the well pump at Van Cleve Park due to water contamination

August 18, 1948 > Approving plans for improvements at Van Cleve Park

June 1, 1949 > Accepting bids for concrete work at Van Cleve Park

June 15, 1949 > Awarding contract for concrete tennis court at Van Cleve Park ($6,560)

July 18, 1949 > Awarding contract for “paving and finising cement for wading pool” at Van Cleve Park

April 4, 1961 > Petition from Mrs. Fay Cuzner “urging the members of the Board to take whatever steps are possible to retain Van Cleve Park as and where it is.”

June 7, 1961 > Approving the plan for the improvement of Van Cleve Park

September 20, 1961 > Recommending the transfer of $15,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund for improvements in Van Cleve Park





Memories and stories

Memory

I remember Van Cleve Park for a number of different reasons and park functions. It is a node for students to enjoy a variety of sporting activities and a meeting place for my friends and I. But maybe more important than the day-to-day activities, Van Cleve Park was the place where I voted for the presidential campaign in 2008 - my first time voting, which will hold sentimental value for me into the future.

- Tim Hanrahan

Photo Gallery

Related Links

[http://www.minneapolisparks.org/home.asp Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board HOME]


Notes

Sources: Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Southeast Como Improvement Association


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