Harriet Island Pavilion – St. Paul MN


From the Minnesota Historical Society:

“The Clarence W. Wigington Pavilion, formerly known as the Harriet Island Pavilion, is significant in St. Paul’s recreational history as a well-preserved example of the work of Clarence Wesley Wigington, the first black architect hired by the city.

Harriet Island, originally named for St. Paul’s first schoolteacher, Harriet E. Bishop, became an enclave for healthy living in the bustling city of St. Paul in 1900. Dr. Justus Ohage, St. Paul’s health officer, bought the island and built a new park there, complete with public bathhouse and beach, playgrounds, handball and tennis courts, cafeteria, bandstand, pavilions, zoo, childcare facilities and picnic grounds. Attendance totaled six million visitors between 1900 and 1906, but recurring flooding and growing river pollution forced the public baths to close in 1919. After several failed plans to revitalize the park, the Works Progress Administration built a new stone pavilion in 1942, bringing renewed activity to the island.

Wigington, the architect of that pavilion, had lived in Nebraska and Wyoming before moving to St. Paul in 1915. Scoring highest on the civil service test for a position with the city architect’s office, Wigington was hired as St. Paul’s first black draftsman. He later became the city’s chief design architect, creating several prominent buildings between 1915 and 1949. Outstanding among his designs, the pavilion on Harriet Island combines simple Moderne styling with classical influences, a stylistic mix typical of many WPA projects.”

Source notes

National Register of Historic Places entry

Mandy Moran Froemming, “Commission marks rich history of Green Haven,” ABC Newspapers, accessed August 9, 2014. 

St. Paul Historical Society


Project originally submitted by Natalie Heneghan on December 27, 2014.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

200 Dr. Justus Ohage Boulevard
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55107

Coordinates: 44.937658, -93.097376

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