Anyone who has dined at the much-loved Four Seasons restaurant in Mahtomedi has seen classic black-and-white photos of an earlier time, when area residents enjoyed the Wildwood Amusement Park. A highly popular attraction in its day, the photos show families picnicking, swimming and, of course, riding the famed roller coaster in the years between 1899 and 1937 when the park existed.
The location of the former amusement park is a point of interest among many in the recently implemented Mahtomedi-Go-Round, a linkage of trails that run in a figure-eight through Mahtomedi and Willernie. The north loop runs 5 miles within Mahtomedi and divides at Stillwater Road, where the south loop continues into Willernie. The entire 10-mile trail can be walked in a total of four hours, or biked in an hour and a half, on average.
Mahtomedi resident Steve Wolgamot is the developer and advocate for the trails, a valuable effort that blends public health with an appreciation of the city’s rich history. With the implementation of the trails, pedestrians and bikers can avoid traveling main roads filled with vehicles and traffic lights, making recreational activities for residents safer.
The effort is backed by the Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative (MAGI), of which Wolgamot is a member. The group is composed of volunteers working toward sustainability and encouraging renewable resources and energy in the city and surrounding areas. The Go-Round, which Wolgamot has worked toward implementing for the last couple years, will be promoted at MAGI’s Rite of Spring event to continue to spread the word about this amenity to the community.
Wolgamot hopes the trails will also encourage increased community interaction. “The reason for the loops is to have a good walking path within about a four- or five-minute walk of everybody who lives here,” Wolgamot says. “They all connect, so you start on one and end up on a different [trail]. That’s the idea—just to encourage people to get out and walk.”
Pedestrians can find an easy-to-follow downloadable map on the Zephyr Area Paths and Parks website, created by Wolgamot. The site also includes walking instructions to accompany the map and another link to historic scenes and sites you’ll find along the trails.
“It would be a hope that people will get out and walk around in the really beautiful community, get out and meet their neighbors and see their parks. If you walk any of the Go-Round’s trails, you will know the city you live in far better than you would otherwise,” he says.
Sites on the Mahtomedi-Go-Round
- Chautauqua area: Includes home sites on the Chautauqua grounds.
- Oakleigh Station: Mahtomedi streetcar route.
- Streetcar Park: Where the streetcars met the tracks of the Stillwater and St. Paul Railroad.
- Glendale Park: St. Andrew’s Church built in 1922.
- Katherine Abbott Park: A beautiful 86-acre
- park, purchased by the city from the Girl Scouts in 1988.
- Echo Park: Play area, trails and canoe landing.
- Lakeside Club: A Mahtomedi landmark featured in the movie Fargo.