Did you know?
Lake of the Isles was once a swamp. The Minneapolis Park Board chose the beautification of the lakes as their most important task. They virtually remade the landscape.
The dredging process began on Lake of the Isles in 1889 and continued till 1893. The area between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles was a swamp. A railroad was built between the lakes. The railroad began a filling process creating a right of way over two small hillocks on the south shore of Lake of the Isles that had once formed the third and fourth islands in the lake. These railroad tracks have been removed and replaced by a bike path.
The park board concentrated on creating a roadway around the lake. Lake shore residences were sparse. There were only six residences around Lake of the Isles, all on the east shore.
During 1907 – 11, half a million cubic yards of fill was dredged out of the lake. This created the Kenilworth Lagoon where a swamp had once existed. This made possible the connection between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. (This information is from a book on the history of the lakes by Lanegran and Sandeen.)
In the 1930’s the path around Lake of the Isles was dirt. There was a horse barn at 28th and Dupont. Horses could be rented and riders could go around the lake. Eventually, the horses were gone. The dirt path was black topped. People could walk around the lake. Bike riders began to use the path. The park board began to plant grass, bushes, trees and more paths. There are no swimming beaches on the lake and motor boats are not allowed.
The Minneapolis Park Board has worked to make the area and lake what it is today. There are many activities such as walking, biking, ice skating, ice fishing, ball games and many more for people to enjoy!