Chain of Lakes


Courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society

Chain of Lakes
Theodore Wirth
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urbanism

In 1911 Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles were connected through a manmade canal, and joined Lake Harriet, Cedar Lake, and Brownie Lake to form Minneapolis’ Chain of Lakes. Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake were connected in 1913, helping to initiate a canoeing craze in the city. The purchase of land surrounding the city’s major lakes began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, creating a world-renown park system and ensuring public access to such amenities. Stewarded by Theodore Wirth, a Swiss-born horticulturalist, park planner, and superintendent of the city’s parks system, the Chain of Lakes nestled within verdant park-like settings were described as, “like a necklace of diamonds in settings of emerald.”