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Historic Sites

Along the River Bluffs

Indian Mounds

The largest group of mounds in Bloomington is in Mound Springs Park, east of 12th Avenue and 102 Street on the Minnesota River Bluffs. The Indian mounds are near the edge of the bluffs. From here, there is a good view of the Minnesota River Valley.

Quinn Point

Peter Quinn was the first white man to settle as a farmer in Bloomington. When he came in 1843, he was appointed by the government to teach Indians how to farm. His log cabin was built on the Minnesota River Bluffs, about where Elliot Avenue, if extended, would intersect the bluffs. His fields were to the north. The point where his cabin stood is called Quinn Point.

Parker Picnic Grounds

The Parker family had a farm from the early 1930s on the bluffs east of Portland Avenue. Since 1965, the area has been a city park and picnic area.

Indian Cemetery Near Gideon Pond House

Missionary Gideon Pond's letters state that from 1843 until the Oak Grove Cemetery was established in 1856, Pond buried a number of Indians on the river bluffs. Indian graves found on the Wilson Pond farm, southeast of the Gideon Pond House, may be the burial site. This area of Indian grave sites is preserved by the City of Bloomington.

Gideon Pond House

Gideon Pond and his brother Samuel settled on the east shore of Lake Calhoun in 1834 and worked as missionaries to the Indians. In 1843 they moved to Bloomington and their first log cabin, south of 104th Street near 4th Avenue, stood a short distance from the present brick house.

Terrain Markings of an Indian Village Site

The site is still visible at the foot of the Minnesota River Bluffs near 2nd Avenue, if it was extended extended. There are at least eighteen tepee sites visible on the undisturbed virgin sod. This was a winter camping ground and the Indians were known to have camped there in the 1940s. An Indian trail, called "Travois Trail," leads from the camp site to the top of the Bluffs. On the slopes of the Bluffs in this area, the wild "Sage" grows. It is thought that sprigs and roots of the western sage, caught in the cracks of the travois poles, were brought in by the Indians on their return trips from the Black Hills, where they obtained lodge pole pine for their tepees.

Chatelle Cabin, Blacksmith Shop, Barge Landing

Victor Chatelle, one of Bloomington 's earliest settlers, was appointed to do blacksmith work for the Indians in 1847. His blacksmith shop was on a Minnesota River Bluff point, a few feet southeast of the house located at 171 West Spring Valley Drive, and the site of the Chatelle cabin was in the front lawn of the house at 201 West Spring Valley Drive.

About two city blocks to the west, on a southerly extension of Hopkins Road, is the site of the steamboat landing road, a trail which wound down the river bluffs, to the steamboat landing on the river bank. This trail, the northerly extension which later became Lyndale Avenue, has been called the oldest County Road in Hennepin County. At the top of the bluffs, Victor Chatelle once platted a town site called "Chatelle," which was never developed.

The Chatelle Steamboat and Pole Barge Landing was a Port of Call for the paddle boats, pole barges and steamboats plying the Minnesota River from the 1850s to the 1890s.

Martin S. McLeod Home

Born in 1812, Martin arrived at Fort Snelling in 1837. Martin S. McLeod settled in Bloomington in 1849. His home was on the Minnesota River Bluffs on the west side of the Steamboat Landing Road and east of the present Lyndale Avenue. Today the Archer-Daniels-Midland office and Research Building stands on the McLeod site.

Martin S. McLeod was one of Bloomington 's most prominent and influential citizens. He served with the territorial legislature and helped organize and served on the first township government in Bloomington. Several descendants still live in Bloomington.

The Wales Estate

The Wales Estate buildings were located on the Minnesota River Bluffs near Thomas Avenue. This estate was owned by Charles E. Wales, a wealthy lumberman and pioneer fuel dealer, who developed the estate in the 1890s.

The buildings included a very large mansion with a wine cellar and a tunnel below the house to the Club House. The Club House contained a ballroom and all the features necessary for lavish entertaining. Connected to the Club House was a huge swimming pool. There was also a large barn, a 16 stall carriage house and an observatory with a telescope for studying the stars. There is a story about the first Wales Mansion. After the architect's plans were approved and the contractor started the building, Mr. and Mrs. Wales left for Europe. When they returned, the mansion was finished but Charles didn't like it so he had it torn down and had another large mansion built. This last building was torn down in the 1930s.

Frederick B. Wells bought the estate about 1935 and built a very large house. Marvin Anderson bought the property in the 1950s. It is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Anderson.

M. W. Savage Home

The M.W. Savage Home on the Minnesota River Bluffs was located east of Normandale Avenue and overlooked the Dan Patch Race Track and barns across the river near the town of Savage. This was a very large and beautiful house and was the summer home of the Savage family.

The site is now a part of the Masonic Home property.


Siprian O. Eidsvold and his family lived on the Minnesota River Bluffs about one-quarter mile west of the intersection of Auto Club Road and Normandale Avenue. He bought the house from Mr. Goodrich in 1884.  Mr. Eidsvold served as the Savage Bridge Master for many years and it was he who opened the bridge for the steamboats plying the river.

Siprian Eidsvold also built and operated for his own use, a small ferry which he used to haul hay and firewood across the river before the Savage Bridge was built.

Minneapolis Automobile Club

The site of the Minneapolis Automobile Club was on the Minnesota Valley Bluffs on the south side of Auto Club Road, southwest of the Minnesota Valley Golf Club on what is now called Bluff Drive. The original Minneapolis Automobile Club was built in 1908 and burned to the ground in 1918. The new larger building was built on the same site soon after the old building burned.

The Club House building and the beautifully landscaped grounds on the edge of the Minnesota Valley Bluffs were an outstanding sight and the Club with its excellent chefs and service was a very popular place for diners. The facilities were not designed for winter use and eventually became uneconomical to operate as a seasonal business. In the mid-1950s the buildings were wrecked and the grounds developed into homesites.

Dean Cabin

Joseph Dean built a log cabin in 1852 on the west side of the Bloomington Ferry Road (Co.Road 18), at the foot of the bluffs, north of the river. William Chambers helped build the cabin. The cabin site and some foundation stones are still visible. The Bloomington Historical Society has a picture of the log cabin displayed in the museum.

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