THE BEST OF SOUTHWEST MINNEAPOLIS — brought to you by the Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association (LYNAS)
Throughout most of the nineteenth century, the Lynnhurst area was a rural area of rolling fields and pastures south and east of Lake Harriet. Well away from downtown Minneapolis, it remained lightly settled despite the platting of some streets and lots in the last two decades of the century. The first major development (and the beginning of the name “Lynnhurst”) began with “The Colony at Lynnhurst” on the 4600 block of Fremont Avenue South in 1893. Land speculators Charles Loring and Henry Brown had purchased land on the east side of Lake Harriet from Colonel William King, who was forced to sell off his Lyndale Farm due to economic pressures, and were looking to sell the land as building lots. Loring and Brown gave triple building lots to nine young married executives on the condition that they build homes costing at least $3,000, the thought being that these homes would act as “seed” and drive demand for their other lots in the area. Lynnhurst was still very rural, and a barn was built on the 4700 block of Fremont Avenue South to house the cows needed to provide milk to the new neighborhood.
When the homes were being built, the streetcar only ran as far as West 43rd Street and Bryant Avenue South, but by the next year the streetcar line had been extended to West 46th Street by Thomas Lowry, a friend of Loring who happened to own the streetcar company. Growth was slow due to economic conditions at the time, but the area began to develop more quickly in the first decade of the twentieth century.
The areas north and east of Minnehaha Creek were mostly developed by 1925, with the areas south and west of the creek developing during the 1930s and 40s. The network of parks in Lynnhurst was also developed in the first part of the twentieth century, with Lynnhurst Park created across from the new Burroughs Elementary School on West 50th Street and the grading and creation of the Minnehaha and Lake Harriet Parkways. Proximity to these beautiful parks, and the fact that there were no railroads or industrial areas nearby, made the Lynnhurst district very desirable, and the homes built in the area were of high quality and marketed to the professional class of the time.
Lynnhurst is comprised of mainly single family homes, mainly in the arts and crafts and prairie styles, with a large number of colonial, tudor and romantic revival houses as well. Some duplexes and small apartment houses were built along Lyndale, Bryant and Penn Avenues South, with business nodes at the streetcar stops at 46th/Bryant, 50th/Bryant, 50th/Penn and 54th/Penn. When the streetcars stopped running in the 1950s, the area of Lyndale Avenue south of Minnehaha Creek became the neighborhoods first automobile-centered commercial strip.
The neighborhood today retains the natural beauty that drew the land speculators more than 100 years ago, and the blocks of beautiful older homes, independent shops, restaurants and coffee houses as well as a neighborhood school, beautiful parks and convenient location make Lynnhurst one of the most coveted neighborhoods in the metro area.