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

Written By

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.

Related Posts

Should I Wait for Mortgage Rates To Come Down Before I Move?

đź–¨ Print Article This is a question I hear a lot these days. Many buyers talk about waiting to buy, thinking interest rates will come down. Others have decided to...

March 2024 real estate market update… inventory continues to grow

đź–¨ Print Article March inventory continues to be well above the last two years, closer to May levels… good news for buyers struggling with a shortage of inventory available to...

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Market Updates & Mid-Century Modern Listings

Our weekly HomesMSP Update includes current local market information and a curated list of mid-century modern properties for sale, plus posts from an inspector, a lender, a stager, info about neighborhoods, life in the Twin Cities… even recipes!


Blog Categories


Sharon and John Hensrud

About Us

The HomesMSP Team is committed to meeting you where you are and listening… really listening to understand you so we can use our extensive knowledge of the market and local neighborhoods to give you personalized service.