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Heritage Trees of Minneapolis Parks

Minneapolis parks are synonymous with trees – there are an estimated 400,000 of them greening up our parks and boulevards! Lucky for us, 86 of these are recognized as Heritage Trees, through the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Per the nomination criteria, a heritage tree can fall under one of three categories: Champion Size (the largest of their species); Significant Size (large, but not the largest of their species); and Historically or Culturally Significant (connected to historical dates, events, people, or city landmarks).

Here are a few trees we visited, from a stoic American Basswood in Windom park to a concentration of Heritage Trees in Theodore Wirth Park. Visit them this fall to experience them in their autumn glory.

Tip: Use your GPS to enter in the coordinates provided, or find your way using the Minneapolis Park Board’s interactive Google map.

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American Basswood
Heritage Tree: Champion Size
Location: Windom Park – 2251 NE Hays St., east of the park building
GPS Coordinates: 45.01249 -93.23603

Rooted in the northwest hillside of Windom Park, this American Basswood casts its impressive shadow over the playground and open field. Sit underneath and imagine the many generations of laughter absorbed by the basswood’s “river valley” bark.

Russian Olive
Heritage Tree: Champion Size
Location: Theodore Wirth Park, across the street from the chalet, Northwest of the archery practice field.
GPS Coordinates: 44.99248 -93.32111

Every day a parade of cars whizzes by this Russian Olive, located steps away from Theodore Wirth Parkway. Not a true olive tree and classified as an invasive plant, this tree is still beautiful, juxtaposed with the parking lot and archery practice ground.

The Rockwood Oak
Heritage Tree: Historically or Culturally Significant
Location: Theodore Wirth Park
GPS Coordinates: 44.98009, -93.32739

This 315-year-old oak might be the oldest living tree in Minneapolis. Named after C.J. Rockwood, who had a hand in expanding Theodore Wirth Park. Embedded on the southern end of Wirth Park in thick foliage, it’s hard to see. Once you spot its gnarly trunk from the trail, you will have no trouble differentiating it within the forest.

American Plum
Heritage Tree: Champion Size
Location: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
GPS Coordinates: 44.97525 -93.3211

Located on the prairie path in Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, two American plum trees arch touching their limps as visitors pass underneath. We were told that when their buds bloom in the spring, they make a beautiful fragrant archway.

Elmer the Elm Tree
Heritage Tree: Champion Size, Culturally Significant
Location: Find Elmer on Facebook
GPS Coordinates: All Minneapolis parks

The Minneapolis Park Board’s official mascot since 1976, Elmer is 41-years-old. Even though Elmer is technically not a Heritage Tree, he deserves to be recognized as the only and oldest mascot tree in Minneapolis! Elmer’s purpose is to educate kids about the importance of our urban forestry. Find Elmer at multiple park events, all year long.




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