Lake Harriet And Its Bandshell

Lake Harriet is a very popular destination for Twin City residents throughout the summer time. Located in the Southwest community of Minneapolis south of Lake Calhoun and north of Minnehaha Creek, it is a part of the Chain of Lakes water system. Lake Harriet has an area of 335 acres and a maximum depth of 85 feet.

The lake was named after Harriet Lovejoy. She came to the area in 1819 with her husband, Colonel Leavenworth, and lived at Fort Snelling. The lake, and the land surrounding it, was donated to the City of Minneapolis by Colonel William S. King in 1885. Ever since that time, is has been a hub of the community.

Lake Harriet has a variety of features going for it and is a destination for recreation and relaxation. The lake itself is great for sailing and fishing. It also has two beaches for swimming. There are 3 miles of bike trails and almost 3 miles of pedestrian trails, which are also a part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The trails connect with Lake Calhoun on the north end via the William Berry Parkway and with the Minnehaha Creek trail system on the southeast edge.

At the north end of Lake Harriet one can find a refreshment stand and its popular bandhell, used in the summer months for concerts. Through its many incarnations, the bandshell has been a part of Lake Harriet since Thomas Lowry built the first pavilion on the edge of the lake in 1888. This pavilion stood on the grounds until it was destroyed by fire in 1891. Architect Harry Jones designed the second bandshell, the “Pagoda Pavilion.” In 1903 it too was destroyed by fire. A third bandshell was built in 1904, which was once again designed by Harry Jones and was once again destroyed. This time, on July 8, 1925, a windstorm was the culprit. The temporary bandshell built in 1927 actually stood in place until 1985 when it was replaced with the current bandshell. A new patio and picnic shelter was built next to the concession stand to match the design of the original buildings. Construction of the new building was completed in May 2007.

A preserved section of the Como-Harriet streetcar line runs between Lake Calhoun and the west side of Lake Harriet. Three different restored streetcars operate on the Como-Harriet line, with only one or two cars running at any given time. The Minnesota Streetcar Museum will be celebrating the 100th “birthday” Car No. 1300 this summer, which was built in 1908. A number of events are planned, including a birthday celebration in July.

So, enough of the history lesson, here is what is going on at Lake Harriet this summer. It is the time of year that music can be heard at Lake Harriet nearly every day for its Summer Concert Series! Music has been a part of Lake Harriet’s history for 120 years. Throughout that time, many performers have taken to the bandshell stage and entertained the gathering crowds.

There will be music in the park every day of the week from June 1 through August 31. Three more concerts will be held in September, including a September 11 tribute. Primarily, concerts at the bandshell will be held at 7:30 PM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, there are concerts at 2:00 PM and 5:30 PM. Not all concerts are held at these times, so be sure to check the full available schedule.

Music isn’t the only event going on at the bandshell this summer. Every third Thursday in June, July, and August, the People for the Parks Movie Night at the Bandshell will be held. All the movies will be shown at dusk. Their schedule is as follows:

June 19, “Roy Orbison – Black and White Night”

July 17, “The Eagles Farewell Tour – Live from Melbourne”

August 21, “Fleetwood Mac – The Dance”

Next time you’re in the area, check out Lake Harriet, its bandshell, and the surrounding parkland. Be sure to attend one of the summer concerts or catch an outdoor flick! You’ll soon discover why Lake Harriet is such a popular place to spend lazy summer afternoons.

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