Como Park, St. Paul, MN
1850 - 1906

Frederick Nussbaumer

The city of St. Paul hired H.W.S. Cleveland as a consultant for various projects, but he was considered by some to be “a Minneapolis man.” His work for St. Paul ended when Nussbaumer was elevated to superintendent of the city’s park system in 1891 after working for four years as a gardener in Como Park. He served in that position until 1922.

Nussbaumer advanced Cleveland’s vision for a parkway encircling Saint Paul, which became the 27-mile Grand Round, depicted on his 1909 plan. In his first decade as superintendent, Nussbaumer advocated for boulevards linking Como, Phalen, and Indian Mounds Parks in northern Saint Paul. Midway Parkway, running west of Como Park to the fairgrounds, was also developed during this period. Midway and Como Avenue were envisioned as part of a parkway connecting the state capitol and the parkway system of Minneapolis. Lake Phalen was added to the Grand Round with a 105-acre acquisition by 1896. The popularity of bicycling by 1896 led the park commissioners to add provisions for bicycle paths into parkway planning.

Nussbaumer had a major ally in parks commissioner Joseph Wheelock, who served as president from 1893 until his death in 1906. Wheelock was successful in advocating for the acquisition of parks and parkways throughout St. Paul, including Mississippi River Boulevard from the city’s northern boundary to Seventh Street. The parkway between Lakes Como and Phalen was named in his honor. Pelham Boulevard, originally Como-River Boulevard, opened in 1911, and plans for Johnson Parkway between Lake Phalen and Indian Mounds Park were developed in 1912 and implemented in subsequent decades.