Gladstone Savanna

About Gladstone Savanna

Gladstone Savanna is rich with history. Venture past the cottonwoods into the heart of the preserve and you can almost hear the hissing and clanking of the trains as they pulled into the Gladstone shops for repair. This was once the hub of the Lost City of Gladstone.

The last building on the site was removed by 1979. But if you look carefully, glimpses of the site’s former glory are evident: a grand old bur oak spreads its branches over a nursery of younger oaks; patches of grey-headed coneflower, blazing star, and purple prairie clover bloom in summer, and majestic cottonwoods create a cathedral-like canopy and provide relief from the summer sun.
Gladstone Playground

Visiting Gladstone Savanna

History and nature meet at Gladstone Savanna.  It's a wonderful place to play, relax, and explore.

  • Playground -- Kids will love the water tower climbing structure at the playground.
  • Trail -- Stroll the trail loop and you're sure to see birds, insects, or wildlife along the way.
  • Prairie restoration -- Enjoy the prairie grasses and wildflowers blooming.
  • Sitting areas -- Limestone benches form pleasant sitting areas where the roundhouse and well once stood.
  • Interpretive trail -- Eight interpretive signs along the trail tell the history and natural history of the site.

Archeological and Historical Information

This site was once home to the Gladstone Shops of the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad and included a roundhouse and repair shops. Download historic photos (PDF) of the site. In 2012, the city conducted archeological investigations at Gladstone Savanna. These studies help document the site’s history and provide data from professionals that can help build a case for registering the site as a historical site, should the city wish to do so in the future.

Archeo-physics was contracted to use ground-penetrating radar to determine whether there are foundations and debris under the soil surface. This is a non-invasive technology using instrumentation on the surface and does not require exposing the foundations. The crew surveyed approximately 3 acres and found foundations or debris in several areas. Review their results. This study was made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Summit Envirosolutions conducted an archeological investigation documenting all foundations and debris that were exposed or on the soil surface during Phase I improvements.


  • Terrain and Trails: The site has bituminous trails
  • Acreage: 23 acres
  • Location: The preserve is located at the southwest corner of Frost and English
  • Entrances: On Frost, on English, at corner of Frank and Frisbee
  • Parking: Street parking bays along Frost Avenue
  • Facilities: Playground.  In the summer there is a porta-potty at the site.
  • ADA Access:  No parking lot on site.  The best access for wheelchairs is to park near the southwest entrance (at Frank and Frisbee).