Heights Stories


January 15, 2021

A press release for the annual Columbia Heights winter sports carnival. The carnival took place at City Park (now Huset Park) and featured figure skating contests and dogsled races.

This year, to celebrate the Columbia Heights centennial, we are hosting the Columbia Heights SnowBLAST on Jan 30 at Huset Park.

(Above - A press release for the Columbia Heights Winter Sports Carnival courtesy of the Star Tribune.)

January 8, 2021

Back in the day, Jackson Pond (formerly Bunning's Pond) was the place to be for ice skating in Columbia Heights. (Photo courtesy of Paul Wychor, 1955.)
According to the Bootstrap Book,
A chief site of entertainment in that neighborhood was Bunning's Pond, now Jackson Pond and businesses at 43rd and Central. It was the central skating rink. Dennis DeMars noted that "kids came from all over, sometimes bringing the neighbor's fence posts for bonfires because there were no warming houses."

Jackson Pond

December 18, 2020

Longtime resident Jane Kibler submitted photos of ice skating at Huset Park in the 1980s.

"Photos of old fashioned dressed skaters who would skate on Saturdays around the island under the bridge and on the pond. We had music and lights at night. Warming house with treats. Around 1987-88, etc."


December 11, 2020

Back in 2011, Gail Olson wrote about life in Columbia Heights in the 1950s. Olson, who lives in Columbia Heights, was a Northeaster Newspaper reporter for 30 years. (Article courtesy of the Northeaster and the Hennepin County Library.)

Gail Olson - Stables Story

December 3, 2020

Below is a photo of the Columbia Heights Public Library from 1953 and the building today at 838 40th Ave NE.


November 20, 2020

Back in 2006, Gail Olson wrote about life in Columbia Heights in the 1950s. Olson, who lives in Columbia Heights, was a Northeaster Newspaper reporter for 30 years. (Articles courtesy of the Northeaster and the Hennepin County Library.)

Northeaster - 1950s-1
Northeaster - 1950s-2
November 13, 2020

Below are a few photos of skiing taking place at "Columbia Heights Park" in the 1940s. It is not confirmed, but "Columbia Heights Park" is more than likely Keyes Park. (Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.)

Skiing (1)

Skiing (4)

Skiing (3)

Skiing (2)

October 30, 2020

From the Anoka County Historical Society - 

A map of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Columbia Heights showing the layout of the cemetery and the plots with their numbers. Black in on white linen, now gray. The minute detail of the lots within the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. The legal description of the property on the lower-left corner. Hand inked on linen. According to "Anoka County Cemeteries - Public, Private, and Abandoned" this cemetery operated between 1901 and 1915 and was re-developed for residences in 1937. There are no cemetery records nor records saying where any reinterments took place prior to the re-development. It was located between 45th and 46th Ave and 4th and 6th St NE.

(Above - Mount Pleasant Cemetery map courtesy of the Anoka County Historical Society.)

October 23, 2020

According to the Bootstrap Book, "Columbia and Oakwood Schools were the two polling places in the 1918 village elections."

Columbia School
(Above - Columbia School | Below - Oakwood School)


October 16, 2020

The northeast corner of 40th Ave and 5th St was once home to the Heights Dairy Store. The photograph of the Heights Dairy Store (dated 1964) was submitted by Jennifer Rosengren.

Dairy Store Photo_Website
October 9, 2020

The Columbia Heights football and volleyball teams are set to begin their 2020 season tonight, Oct. 9. Between the two programs, Columbia Heights has five state titles, which includes four titles in a five-year span from the volleyball team (1986, '87, 89, and '90). The football team won its first state title in 1979 with an 8-3 victory over Richfield.

Volleyball State Title Website
(Above - A Sun Focus article on the Hylanders' fourth state title in five years.)

Football Article Website
(Above - A photo from the Minneapolis Star Tribune from the Hylanders' 8-3 victory for the 1979 Class AA high school football title.)

September 25, 2020

According to the Bootstrap Book, "The first park, Huset, formerly called City Park, was the scene of much of Columbia Heights' earliest activities. Cows and horses were pastured there. Children swam in a stream which ran through it. The original fire department was located there. Elmer Huset, a minister at First Lutheran Church and the city manager for a time, went to the state legislature and got 60 acres from 37th Ave. to the alley below 40th Ave., and from Quincy to 5th St. for about $10,000. The ordinance creating Huset Park was passed in 1939. About 30 acres of the property eventually became industrial land."

Elmer Huset_Photo_Front
(Above - A photo of Elmer Huset. Below - Information on Elmer Huset on the back of the above photo).

Elmer Huset_Photo_Back

September 18, 2020

According to the Bootstrap Book, "McKenna Park at 47th and 7th St. is an 11-acre tract named for James McKenna, who was elected to the first Columbia Heights City Council in 1921. When the park was being developed in 1963, there was enough money in the department to clear and grade it, but not enough to get grass growing. At a public meeting, 79 residents rose up to demand grass because the sandy park was literally blowing away. Funds were found."

McKenna Park Plans
(Above - Columbia Heights Record article showing John P. Murzyn and his plans for the City parks. Below - Columbia Heights Record article showing the McKenna Park shelter being built.)

McKenna Park Shelter
September 4, 2020

With a new school year upon us, let's take a look at the Columbia School Building. (Photo courtesy of the Bootstrap Book.)

According to the Bootstrap Book, "The north end was built in 1894, the south portion was added in 1911. Razed in 1967." The school was located on the northwest corner of 41st and Central Ave.

Columbia School
A Minneapolis Morning Tribune article states that the Columbia School Building was voted on in Oct of 1895 (see article below). (Article courtesy of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune.)

August 28, 2020

As demolition of the old NE Bank Building begins, let's take a look back to 1982 when the building was being constructed. (Photos courtesy of Terry Nightingale.)

C.H. Business Center constr. 2 1982

C.H. Business Center constr. 3 1982

C.H. Business Center ramp construction 1982

August 21, 2020

A Columbia Heights couple recently found a hidden room in their home that is nearly 100 years old. You can watch the video below and read the article here. (Video courtesy KSTP-TV.)

August 14, 2020

Below is an aerial photo of southern Columbia Heights and Northeast Minneapolis from 1937. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online.)

August 7, 2020

The Hilltop Drive-In Theater, built in 1948 by Edmund Sullivan, was located at 47th and Central. The theater opened its doors on Aug 5, 1949, with showings of  The Babe Ruth Story and remained at its site until 1972.

(Above - Newspaper Ad from the Minneapolis Morning Tribune - Aug 5, 1949.)

(Below - Newspaper story from the Columbia Heights Record - Aug 5, 1949.)

Columbia Heights Record - Drive-In 1949
July 24, 2020

Advertisement from 1892 in which the Minneapolis Improvement Company Northeast held a competition for the name of the new development in Northeast Minneapolis.

(Below - Newspaper ad from the Minneapolis Star Tribune - 1892.)