Monday, August 20, 2018
East Harriet neighborhood of Minneapolis | Cody Anderson

Click here to view an interactive metrics link for the median sale price of homes in East Harriet: 

The residents of East Harriet love their parks, and they’re something the rest of the city is proud of, too.


The neighborhood lies east of one of the city’s largest and most beloved lakes, Lake Harriet, known for its rose gardens, nightly summer concerts at the bandshell, and winter kite festival. The boundaries of East Harriet are West 36th Street to the north, Lyndale Avenue South to the east, West 46th Street to the south, and Lake Harriet, Lakewood Cemetery, and William Berry Parkway to the west.



Perhaps the parks in the neighborhood are among the best in the city because the architect of the Minneapolis Park system resided right here. Enticed to the city in 1906, Theodore Wirth shaped the Minneapolis park system as superintendent until 1935 and as superintendent emeritus until his death in 1949. The Park Board built him a home in Lyndale Farmstead, and the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It was recognized for Wirth's status as an international figure in the field of park design, for its role in bringing Wirth to Minneapolis, and for the work he did in the offices where he designed or redesigned the Minneapolis parks.



Speaking of Lyndale Farmstead, it’s the crown jewel of the neighborhood, and a gathering place for residents. East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA) partially funded staff at the 61-acre park until the Minneapolis Park Board took over staff payroll in 2000, and it has funded new park lighting, tennis courts, and playground equipment. The land was originally the summer estate of Colonel William S. King, who directly influenced the shape and tone of East Harriet. King was also instrumental making sure much of the vast acreage encircling Lake Harriet was set aside as park land. There’s even a Minneapolis walking tour that looks at how this 1870s countryside estate was turned into a public park and the scenic residential area today called the East Harriet neighborhood.



Part of the well-known Chain of Lakes, Lake Harriet has an area of 335 acres and a maximum depth of 85 feet. It was named for Harriet Lovejoy, who lived with her husband Colonel Henry Leavensworth at Fort Snelling. The two came to the area in 1819. Lake Harriet is popular for recreation. It offers sailing, two beaches, and a system of bike and pedestrian trails (about 2.99 miles for the bike trail and 2.75 miles for the pedestrian trail). The trail and parkway system, part of the Ground Rounds National Scenic Byway, connects with Bde Make Ska on the north end of the lake, via William Berry Parkway, and with the Minnehaha Creek trail system at the southeast side of the lake. For a fun history lesson, check out the preserved section of the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line that runs between Bde Maka Ska and the Lake Harriet bandshell area. The bandshell complex also contains a picnic area and a seasonal outdoor restaurant, Bread & Pickle.



This rose garden is the second oldest public rose garden in the U.S. It was designed by Theodore Wirth, who also designed the first public rose garden in the U.S. while head of Connecticut’s Park System. The garden layout has not changed since its initial planting in the spring of 1908 with 62 rectangular plots in its central section planted with hybrid tea and grandiflora roses. The outside fence is lined with floribundas, old fashioned and shrub roses. There are over 3,000 roses of over 250 varieties on display, with naming signage. During its peak season, the garden can contain about 60,000 blooms. The garden was chosen as the northern most of All American rose selection test garden’s in 1946. This is a wonderful place to view and evaluate different rose cultivars. At the uppermost end of the garden, which slopes up from Lake Harriet, is the Heffelfinger Fountain, a bronze and marble sculpture imported from Italy.



Avid birders have spent a century visiting the Roberts Bird Sanctuary, where they currently spot 220 different species. Adjacent to the Rose Garden and north of the lake is the 31-acre Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary, which offers a quiet spot for bird watching in an undeveloped park land. The Sanctuary was established in 1936 and renamed in 1947 to honor Thomas Sadler Roberts, a physician, University of Minnesota professor of ornithology and Director of the Museum of Natural History (now the Bell Museum) who is considered the “Father of Minnesota Ornithology.”



This free, fun, family festival included horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing and guided nature tours, ice fishing for kids, a marshmallow roast, music, Wild Rumpus Reading Walks and Farmstead Bike Shop Fat Tire Bikes Demo and the Art Shanty event. Minnesota Kite Society experts demonstrate maneuvering spectacular kites throughout the day, offering their expertise to kite flying enthusiasts and to those who are new to the pastime.



Typical homes in this neighborhood are two-story and have a great deal of curb appeal, especially those that front Lake Harriet. More than 300 trees on local boulevards have recently been planted and pedestrian lighting among certain streets has been upgraded.  Over $1 million has been invested in neighborhood housing in East Harriet through several programs. Most notably, 90 neighborhood homeowners have taken advantage of low interest Home Improvement Loans. The interest generated from this program is captured and can be reinvested into the Revolving Loan Fund, or other neighborhood projects.