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The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board recreated a 1934 photograph of their grounds maintenance crew that is in the Minnesota Digital Library. Their then-and-now story was picked up by national media.

Men with Toro lawnmowers lined up in an arc in front of a building with trees in the background

This year, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is celebrating its 140th anniversary. As part of that celebration, they are sharing stories from the Park Board’s long history. One recent story featured an image of park staff that has been digitized by the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) and is available on the MDL website. The image, taken for a Toro sales catalog around 1934, shows park maintenance crew members lined up with their Toro mowers for inspection at Lyndale Farmstead Park. The mowers were the first power mowers created by the Toro Company and with attachments, could be used for a wide variety of tasks. Three or four at a time could also be pulled behind tractors to cover larger areas of ground.

This past summer, MPRB Asset Management staff recreated the photo with their modern lawn maintenance equipment. This time, they had to gather along Theodore Wirth Parkway to accommodate the size of the machinery. Currently, these workers maintain over 5,000 acres of grass or turf each year. 

The original MPRB Instagram then-and-now post  was so popular that national media outlet Inside Edition picked up the story. They featured the photos in a short piece and talked to MPRB staff about how the idea to restage the original photo came to be. MDL staff are glad to be part of raising awareness of the history of our state in examples like this in cooperation with the MPRB and our many other contributors.


Written by

Molly Huber
Outreach Coordinator, Minnesota Digital Library
Angela Salisbury
Archivist, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
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