Central Park – The Legacy of John and Ann North

The history of Central Park is a very interesting and complicated one.When John North platted Northfield in 1855 he designated the square block bounded  by Third street East, Fourth St. East and Winona as a “public square.”
Accordingly, it was developed as a community park. Because of its proximity to  the High School, the School Board in the 1940’s tried to take over the park as a school recreation area. The neighbors wanted nothing of this and took the City of Northfield to court.
It went all the way to the Supreme Court of Minnesota. They decided in favor of the neighbors. Piqued by the decision, the City abandoned maintenance of the park and it began to decline. In the 1990’s the School Board again tried to annex the park for a school recreation ground. Again, the neighbors rallied citing the Supreme Court decision.
They eventually all joined forces (City, School and Citizens for Central Park) and restored the Park to its current state of grace and beauty.

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