|Last Update: June 9, 2002|
|Friends of Swede Hollow (FOSH) formed in
1994 when a number of interested neighbors from both sides of Swede Hollow
came together to discuss our common goals, deep affection for and commitment
to the park, as well as our dreams, ideas, concerns, and the history of
Swede Hollow. Other dedicated Swede Hollow supporters have joined the group
since then. Many of the members have been involved in Swede Hollow since
the early 1970's when Swede Hollow Park was in the early stages of development.
FOSH has been meeting. monthly, planning and orchestrating a number of clean ups and work days in the park, as well as two oral history sessions at Metropolitan State University recording memories and stories from former Swede Hollow residents.
Founding of FOSH
Friends of Swede Hollow (FOSH) was started by a number of USHNA members and other neighbors interested in improving Swede Hollow Park, because:
Swede Hollow is nestled between the Dayton's Bluff and Railroad Island communities in the ravine that once carried Phalen Creek to the Mississippi River. The first settler to the picturesque valley was Edward Phalen in 1841. He sold his claim in 1844 to William Dugus who built Saint Paul's first sawmill on the creek. Other businesses followed and in 1865 the first train rolled through the valley heading to Duluth.
The early industry attracted Swedish immigrants who settled just south of the industrial area and named the valley Svenska Dalen or Swede Hollow. As the Swedish moved "up onto the street", other immigrant people moved into the homes: the Polish, Italian and then the Spanish Americans.
Gentille Yarusso lived in the Hollow in the 1920's and wrote "We children often wondered why our people chose this enchanted place to settle in. Why not somewhere else? As we got older we knew; they chose this place because they were with their own countrymen, with familiar faces, family noises, gestures, facial expressions. They selected this enchanted landscape because it resembled the place they had left behind. They loved the hills, the trees, the stream, the security of friends and relatives."
In December 1956, the city Health Department discovered that Swede Hollow had no sewer or city water service and declared the Hollow a health hazard. The last 14 families were moved out and the remaining homes destroyed. Ideas for the property at that time included filling it in for industrial use, bridging it for use as part of the highway 212 project, or making it a city park.
Swede Hollow Park Background
Talk of making Swede Hollow a park can be traced back to 1900, when Park Commissioner William Hamm was trying to get fellow commissioners in favor of Swede Hollow becoming a city park in memory of his father Theodore Hamm (founder of the brewery in the north end of the Hollow, which eventually became the Stroh Brewery Company.) It did not happen at that time, but over the years the park idea resurfaced a number of times. Then in 1973, neighborhood residents and the Saint Paul Garden Club began working with the Saint Paul Parks Department to make Swede Hollow a city park. We have been collecting many photos and much information throughout all of the stages of development of the park. Much work has been completed on Swede Hollow Park, and the Bruce Vento Regional Trail now connects Swede Hollow to Phalen Park. In the years to come the Bruce Vento Traill will connect with the Willard Munger recreational trail, which will connect Saint Paul to Duluth.
The community has a number of ideas for long range improvement projects that are currently under discussion:
Yes, you can help.
Here is a list of some of the things we do. You maybe interested in one or several:
Volunteers are essential and appreciated.