How The Environment Has Shaped the State

From Sustenance to Leisure on Minnesota Land

Expert Essay: Associate professor of history Michael J. Lansing, published in Environmental History as well as Ethics, Place, and Environment, highlights the many ways people have made use of Minnesota's flora and fauna over time and reviews the state's more recent efforts at conservation.

Map showing the location of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Map showing the location of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Map showing the location of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as well as the Superior National Forest, Voyageurs National Park, and Quetico National Park. Created by Wikimedia Commons user Kmusser, February 10, 2009. CC BY-SA 3.0

Overhead view of Victory Memorial Drive

Overhead view of Victory Memorial Drive

Overhead view Victory Memorial Drive and Parkway in North Minneapolis. View looking west from Humboldt Avenue North, near the northeast end of the parkway. Photo by Flickr user Tony Webster, February 18, 2017. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Victory Memorial Drive

Victory Memorial Drive

Rows of memorial elm trees lining the northbound lane of Victory Memorial Drive, 1945. Bronze crosses are visible in front of the trees on the right side of the roadway. Crosses and Stars of David were embedded in concrete in 1953.

Procession during Victory Memorial Drive dedication ceremony

Procession during Victory Memorial Drive dedication ceremony

Image of the 1921 Victory Memorial Drive dedication ceremony showing a procession traveling from west to east. The photographer (C. J. Hibbard) is standing near the memorial flagpole facing west. The decorative pylons appear to have been temporary and built for the dedication ceremony.

Victory Memorial Drive dedication ceremony

Victory Memorial Drive dedication ceremony

West-facing view of the 1921 dedication ceremony of Victory Memorial Drive in Minneapolis. The memorial flagpole is shown at the center. At the time, the surrounding land was relatively undeveloped.

Map of Victory Memorial Parkway

Map of Victory Memorial Parkway

1921 map showing the location of Victory Memorial Parkway relative to the North Loop of Minneapolis. The dashed lines indicate streetcars lines that many of the over 30,000 dedication ceremony attendees could have used to get to what was then the edge of development in Minneapolis. Also shown are the location of the ceremony’s grandstand and speaker’s stand at the northwest corner of the parkway at the site of the memorial flagpole base.

Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway), June, 23, 1920

Glenwood-Camden Parkway (now Victory Memorial Parkway), June, 23, 1920

1920 photograph showing the construction of what is now Victory Memorial Parkway, looking south from Thirty Sixth Avenue North. While the image shows a steam shovel being operated in the distance, most of the grading work is being completed using teams of horses and spoil (excess dirt) is being removed by horse and wagon. At the time, the surrounding landscape was undeveloped.

1920 Minneapolis Park Board plans for the north end of Victory Memorial Drive

1920 Minneapolis Park Board plans for the north end of Victory Memorial Drive

Cover sheet of 1920 Minneapolis Park Board plans for the north end of Victory Memorial Drive, designed by Theodore Wirth (superintendent of parks) and Alfred C. Godward (engineer).

Lake Harriet bandshell in winter

Lake Harriet bandshell in winter

View of the Lake Harriet bandshell in winter, 2019. Photo by Linda A. Cameron; used with permission.

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