Everyone knows the slogan, and everyone knows the famous "chain of lakes": Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Mka Ska / Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet...
But Minneapolis is also the city of inequality. Some lakes get all the love and tourists, while other lakes linger in the corner of your mind like a face you can't finger.
Ask a swimmer, and they know. Some beaches swarm with suburbanites while others are harder to find. Cedar Lake alone has three beaches formerly ranked according to access and savvy: Cedar Point beach for tourists, the South Cedar beach for locals, and Hidden Beach for renegades. (That''s changed now, of course, thanks to the hard work of the Minneapolis Parks Department.)
|[Lake Blaisdell, 1880s.]|
Today Minneapolis' lakes seem natural, but if you went back in time you might have seen a different limnological landscape. Because lakes are not so simple, not so still. The history of the city is full of stories of near-lakes, marginal lakes, aspirational lakes, or former lakes lurking underneath the street.
Some fragments remain. Some have been erased entirely, returning like dreams in a rainstorm. Others survive at the margins, merely forgotten.
|[Sandy Lake, 1920s.]|
|[The lake landscape of the confluence in the 1830s, before either Minneapolis or Saint Paul (née "Rumtown").]|
|[Oak Lake, c. 1892.]|
When: Saturday July 2nd, leaving about 2:30
Why: Because it's there. Or not there, as the case may be.
Who: Anyone with a bicycle. Free of charge.
Where: Meet at the Water Bar and Public Studio, 2516 NE Central Avenue.
Note: This will be a slow-paced "no drop" ride. We'll cover twenty (20) miles in about 3 hours, and end at an optional food and/or drink establishment.
"Sur les pavés, la plage..." was the old Situationist International slogan.
"Under the sidewalks, the beach." The idea was to liberate the confined imagination of the street, to unveil a forgotten horizon of wandering potential, to reveal the city as a palimpsest of stories, footsteps, and even geology.
In some places it's easier than others. This this will be a bike tour to explore the lesser known lakes that lie literally and figuratively at the urban margins.
Let's discover what's there.
|[Map of Minneapolis' southern border lakes, 1930s.]|