Longfellow Gardens… part zoo, part amusement park by Minnehaha Falls

Longfellow Historic Gardens
photos courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

Have you ever wondered about the yellow house on the hill across Minnehaha and Hiawatha Avenues from Minnehaha Falls?  It is Longfellow House, the former home of the man who once owned this property, R. F. “Fish” Jones. He was a Longfellow admirer, and the house is a 2/3 scale replica of Longfellow’s house in Massachusetts, built by Jones in another Minneapolis location and moved to this site in 1996.

A unique piece of history, Jones also collected a menagerie of animals at his farm on the site of the current Basilica of St. Mary. The neighbors started to complain about the smells and sounds of the animals so he sold that site to the archdiocese and bought a parcel of land near the popular Minnehaha Falls. This became the site of Longfellow Gardens from 1906 to 1934. Part zoo and part amusement park, it featured free roaming flamingos and seals along with assorted other attractions including caged lions, tigers and bears. The statue of Longfellow that stills stand on this site was a centerpiece of the gardens.

longfellow gardens2

In its day it was quite the attraction. Much as zoos are today, Longfellow Gardens was a popular family destination. He even dug a well and had a pump installed to create a reservoir to hold water for regulating the falls display.

Historic Longfellow Gardens
photos courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
 
Today all that remains of the Longfellow Gardens is the statue of Longfellow.  Click on the photo below for a short TPT video on the Longfellow Zoological Gardens.

Longfellow-tpt video

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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