Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Historic Roadside Properties

on Minnesota Trunk Highways

What MnDOT is doing

Did you know that out of 110 MnDOT wayside properties and roadside development facilities, roughly half are listed (or are eligible to become listed) on the National Register of Historic Places or are located within a National Register district?

MnDOT has prepared roadside facilities management plans for many of these facilities and intends to complete a Programmatic Agreement — which will provide preservation direction to MnDOT staff when planning transportation improvements near these resources.

Background

Between July 1996 and December 1998, MnDOT conducted a statewide inventory of its wayside rests on Minnesota trunk highways.  The purpose was to identify roadside structures that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.  The initial research report, Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways, was published and distributed in September 2000; a supplement that adds eight new properties and updates was completed in 2005.

Many of these historic roadside facilities were built during the 1930s and early ‘40s by unemployed Minnesotans under the federal relief programs of President Roosevelt's New Deal.  The facilities were built in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Highways, as MnDOT was known at the time.  The partnership produced roadside facilities built to meticulous standards with local materials.  Many of these properties are state, regional, or local landmarks and are important to regional tourism services.  They include features such as scenic overlook walls, picnic tables and fireplaces, interpretive markers, and small bridges.

Original historic plans

Historical roadside development sites are ranked by factors of historical and design significance, such as quality of craftsmanship, important designer, integrity of setting, outstanding scenic value and other criteria. This ranking process enables MnDOT to make more informed decisions about the long-term management of these resources.

Recent projects

COMING SOON — Learn more about projects completed in the past few years.

Future projects

Learn more about construction in the works.

Gallery

To enlarge the photos below, click or tap them.

 
The historic Garrison Concourse was built in the 1930s during a severe drought.

The historic Garrison Concourse was built in the 1930s during a severe drought. (Click to enlarge.)

Eighty years later, this concourse projects into Lake Mille Lacs, where the power of water and winter have made their marks.

Eighty years later, this concourse projects into Lake Mille Lacs, where the powers of water and winter have made their marks. (Click to enlarge.)

More of Nature’s work, circa 2010.

More of Nature’s work, circa 2010. (Click to enlarge.)

The restored concourse wall with sheet pile still holding back Lake Mille Lacs, circa 2011.

The restored concourse wall with sheet pile still holding back Lake Mille Lacs, circa 2011. (Click to enlarge.)