Mn/DOT initiated and co-sponsored a two-day course where experts presented theoretical and practical applications for masonry restoration. Courtesy of Olene Bigelow, IMI.

Outreach + Education
Communication + Partnerships

Mn/DOT realizes one of its best preservation tools is communication, both with its own staff and the public. As more people become aware of the significance of historic roadside facilities, more efforts will be taken to preserve these properties for future generations to experience and enjoy.

In late 2001 Mn/DOT received an Honor Award from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, a statewide non-profit preservation advocacy group. The award recognized the inventory final report, titled Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways, for its innovation as a planning document and honored Mn/DOT's stewardship toward the roadside facilities under its jurisdiction.

Mn/DOT has ensured that each of its eight district offices located throughout the state has essential information about its historic roadside facilities. Each office has access to the inventory files for its properties and has a copy of the final report that explains the sites' value within the collection. District staff also received a widely distributed memo requesting that maintenance and construction staff consult the Cultural Resources Unit before undertaking any projects in or near the properties. District personnel are also participating in the development of the preservation planning documents to ensure that they are practical and well-received at all levels of the Department.

Over the years, several of Mn/DOT’s original wayside rests have been transferred to municipalities so that they now serve as small city parks. Mn/DOT’s study will also help these stewards evaluate their properties’ historical significance and take steps to preserve and manage them.

 

Lilac Way Video

 

Mn/DOT developed a video documentary explaining the history of Highway 100 west of Minneapolis. The highway was one of Minnesota's largest New Deal relief projects where a 12-mile section was elaborately landscaped by the Roadside Development Division. The video serves as mitigation to document portions of the highway that will be lost to new construction. The documentary includes historic photographs, live footage taken during construction, and interviews with workers, engineers, and neighborhood residents who were associated with its construction. Minnesota's Twin Cities Public Television produced the program and broadcast it regionally. It is possible that, if the roadside development study had been completed before plans for the highway reconstruction, more of the historic features would have been save

Mn/DOT is also participating in joint promotional efforts with tourism groups and historical societies. It is developing a program in which local groups can "adopt" an historic wayside rest. A new brochure will teach the public about historic roadside facilities. The first in a new series of interpretive signs has been installed at Mn/DOT's newly-rehabilitated Orr Roadside Parking Area.


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