The strange saga continues for long-forgotten Hall’s Island, which the Minnesota Legislature recently voted to recreate, according to Mill City Times. Current plans call for a wildlife preserve and a simple walkway for visitors—a far cry from the island’s initial intention more than 100 years ago.
When the City of Minneapolis first acquired the spit of land, it wanted to put a trash incinerator on it. Dr. Pearl Hall was in charge of public health at the time, and in 1901 that meant burning all manner of garbage before it started a plague. Located near the center of town, Hall’s Island was the perfect location—except that local politicians didn’t want a garbage furnace in their ward.
Instead, local businessmen tired of reading about young boys accidentally drowning themselves in the river raised money for a bath house on the island (little girls were credited with being too smart to drown themselves).
Eventually the island was sold to Scherer Brothers Lumber for $95,000 in 1962. The company filled in the narrow channel between the island and the shore as part of an expansion. And that was all she wrote—at least until 2010, when the city bought the island back for $7.7 million. We may not reap the benefits for another six years, but this new initiative is certainly a better—and less smelly—solution to the garbage pit our forefathers suggested at the turn of the century.