The demolition of the Dewey-Radke House in Little Falls, MN, this summer brought another historic site into sharp focus for those of us at the Morrison County Historical Society – Pine Grove Park. When the park was founded in 1907, it was considered one of the last remaining stands of virgin white pine in the state. It may be the only stand of virgin white pine left within city limits in Minnesota. That’s pretty amazing. And if you’ve been to the park, those pines are pretty amazing.
However, if you’ve been to the park lately, you’ll see changes that aren’t so great for the pines. There’s far more pavement than there used to be. About a hundred picnic tables are stacked around the playground area, which means the site is primed for use by a heavy load of visitors. Lots of trampling feet packs the ground, which affects the root systems of the trees. The City of Little Falls has plans to increase the trail system throughout the park, which is sure to further stress the trees unless done sensitively.The park is also filled with buckthorn, an invasive species of bush that is difficult to eradicate and makes it hard for pine seedlings to grow.
Because Pine Grove Park holds such fond memories and experiences for those of us who’ve been there, we decided an article on the history of the park was in order. Ann Marie Johnson, our Curator of Collections, wrote this article, simply called Pine Grove Park, for our last newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading it and we welcome you sharing your stories of Pine Grove Park with us.