minneapolis parks board


Eloise Butler and Women in Botany

“The study of botany is rapidly increasing in favor with women. The opportunities for making practical use of this knowledge also are increasing. Teachers of botany are in great demand; women are employed in all the botanical gardens and women botanists with literary or artistic ability find a wide field in the form of stories and text books for children, with illustrations, also in contributions and illustrations to the various magazines and garden journals.” - The Courier, Lincoln, Nebraska June 29, 1901

Eloise Butler was one of the many women who favored botany. She was a prime force in creating the first public wildflower garden in the United States, authorized by the Minneapolis Park Board on April 15, 1907. She remained curator of the garden until her death on April 10, 1933. Along with her botanical colleagues in the city and around the country, she contributed to the knowledge, documentation, and appreciation of our native plant species. Some of the botanists and botanical artists profiled in this exhibit were people Eloise Butler knew personally; others represent the popular and scientific interest in botany during her lifetime. Much of the source material for this photo-stream comes from the Minneapolis Central Library’s Special Collections Division or the Minneapolis Athenaeum’s Spencer Natural History Collection.

This online exhibit was formed from a display outside the Doty Board Room at the Minneapolis Central Library that was featured last fall in conjunction with the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Florilegium exhibit by the Minnesota School of Botanical Art.


This display and online exhibit was curated by Minneapolis Central Librarian Mary Linden.


Shark Tales No More. Live Sharks Caught in Minnehaha Creek

Shortly after Jaws opened in Minneapolis theatres back in the summer of 1975, the number of swimmers using our area lakes and pools plunged significantly. So, when a 10 year-old Minneapolis student approached Minnesota DNR biologist Dan Marais about three fossilized shark’s teeth she had found in Minnehaha Creek, he could only smile to himself. More shark tales, he thought. That is, until he actually saw the teeth.

They did, in fact, come from sharks. However, two of the specimens were clearly not fossils, but teeth shed from a contemporary shark. Curious about the origins, Marais called a colleague at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to help identify the teeth and perhaps avoid falling victim to a hoax. What he learned made the small hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

Lab technicians positively identified these two teeth as having come from a two-to-three year-old Bull Shark.

Worried about the negative effect on local recreation a man-eating shark might possibly cause, Minnesota officials ordered an immediate sweep of Minnehaha Creek. On Saturday, March 26, conservation officers began their search below the falls using ultrasonic stun devices to drive any fish downstream and into gill nets strung across the mouth of the creek. Despite catcalls and hoots from park patrons, the team worked downstream throughout the day and into the night. It was difficult work with shallow water and an unusual number of recently downed trees blocking the creek.

A little after midnight, two juvenile sharks were captured along with dozens of rough fish and several spawning Northern Pike. Both sharks were malnourished and docile, but in overall good health and the two fish are now in a special hospital tank at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, undergoing observation and a slow acclimatization back to salt water. The staff there have named them Lenny and Frankie, after two of the characters from the 2004 animated feature, Shark Tale.

This summer, scientists plan to install experimental freshwater sonar devices to watch for sharks in the two-mile stretch of the Mississippi between the Ford Dam and its confluence with the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling State Park.

For the safety of its visitors, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board ordered signs prohibiting cliff diving or swimming in or below Minnehaha Falls until further notice.