Robbinsdale Post article about Graeser Park, 10.31.1940.

I had to read this three times, it changes everything I know about how Graeser Park was built. How much of the park’s stonework was from a damaged grain elevator and how much was from the WPA quarry near the Mendota Bridge on the Minnesota River?

I have transcribed the original article, which is at the bottom of this page.

Transcribed by Karen Laukkonen, Jan. 24, 2020.

Robbinsdale Post, October 31, 1940. Well over 30,000 cubic feet of stone for $1 and a free picnic park – and Robbinsdale didn’t have to put up the dollar. That’s what Robbinsdale has out along the Jefferson highway on the north side of town.

Tables, stoves and benches are all at the disposal of local and visiting picnickers. There will be 105 tables available for the publics use in the near future.

Fifty years ago a grain company built what was probably the largest elevator in the world on the present grounds and operated until some years back when they had a large and disastrous fire which ruined some of the structure. The company felt that the expense of repairing the remains would be too great so they let it lay idle.

Then along came a man with an idea. That man was C. F. Graeser, state highway engineer, who wanted to take what he could see left of the stone foundation and use it to make tables and stoves for a picnic park.

He received the sanction of the highway department to proceed, so he approached the company and they sold the stone foundation to the state for $1 thinking that all the stone was visible. This, however, was not the case for Mr. Graeser found not only the 11 walls 3 feet high and 600 feet long tapering from 4 to 2 feet thick—but beneath these walls were nearly 100 stone piers which had supported the weight of the machinery and building, each of these was 2 feet thick and from 4 to 6 feet square.

Ted Johnson, mason, is the man responsible for the excellent stonework. He is in charge of the men who have built all the facilities. Maurice Ring is foreman of the cutting yard and I. E. Seeker is the WPA superintendent.

While all the stone used in the tables, benches and stoves came from the wrecked elevator foundation, the balance of the masonry was accomplished with material from the Mendota WPA quarry.

Mr. Ring, stoneyard foreman, states that visitors from all over the county have commented on the parks facilities and beauty and that engineers from many states throughout the union have been asking the Minnesota department for the blueprints that they, too, might have a similar spot.

Photo caption: The uppermost picture shows the new North Park in Robbinsdale, a roadside park and highway beautification development along the Belt Line highway recently completed by the WPA, provides facilities for picnics and outdoor enjoyment. The new park is located adjacent to the Belt Line and Lakeland Drive in Robbinsdale. (I have never seen this photo in 13 years of research-Karen)

Photo caption: The lower view exhibits the retaining wall along abutting property on the Belt Line Highway in Robbinsdale near the junction with Rockford Road. WPA labor built the wall as part of the Belt Line highway. (MN Hist. Soc. dates this to 1940)

Graeser Park in the Robbinsdale Post, 10.31.1940. Photo: Robb. Hist. Soc.
Robbinsdale, 1940. Retaining wall along abutting property on Belt Line Hwy. near junction with Rockford Road. Built by WPA labor. Photo: MN Historical Society.