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Latrine at Blue Mounds State Park Blue Mounds
State Park

National Register Listing:
October 1989

Blue Mounds State Park WPA/Rustic Style historic resources are located in a historic district that contains four structures and one building constructed along Mound Creek. Development in the park centers on two dams that create two lakes. Between the lakes, Mound Creek tumbles over a rocky gorge. The brightly colored Sioux Quartzite in the gorge is the same stone used in the construction of the park structures. Architects were the National Park Service and the Division of Drainage and Waters of the Minnesota Department of Conservation.

The parks historic district includes these resources:

Upper Dam
Upper Mound Lake
Lower Dam
Lower Mound Lake

Historical Significance

Blue Mounds State Park is historically significant as an important link in the state park system, providing recreational facilities to the extreme southwestern corner of Minnesota.

Blue Mounds State Park historic resources are architecturally significant as outstanding examples of Rustic Style construction built with a remarkably bright rose quartzite. Of exceptional significance are the park's two dams that incorporate Rustic Style features in their construction. The Upper Dam in particular is an extremely successful example of rustic design applied to a park structure. The dam consists of a stepped spillway built with native stone that blends and merges with the rocky ledges of the natural landscape.

Park History

Blue Mounds State Park was originally called Mound Springs Recreational Reserve when the park was established in 1937. The name was changed to Blue Mounds, which is the term for a nearby outcropping of red Sioux Quartzite which forms a cliff about one mile long and up to 100 feet high. The cliff, with the sun setting behind it, appeared blue to settlers going west in the 1860s and 1870s. They named the prominent landmark Blue Mounds.

For current information about Blue Mounds State Park, go to the DNR website.