Todd's Railfan Guide to
the Como-Harriet Line

In General
Getting Here
the Cars of Como-Harriet


In General

Location / Name:
    Southwest Minneapolis

What's Here:
    Minnesota Streetcar Museum - the Como-Harriet Line

    GPS Coordinates: 44.927438, -93.309598

Scanner Frequencies:

Access by train/transit:
    Bus route #6 and others - see below

The Scoop:
The Minnesota Streetcar Museum has two facilities.  One is in southwest Minneapolis, the Como-Harriet line, and one in Excelsior.  This page will cover the Como-Harriet line.

From the MTM's fact sheet page comes this:

The Minnesota Streetcar Museum was created in December, 2004, as part of the restructuring of the Minnesota Transportation Museum which "spun off" its streetcar and steamboat operations to MSM and the Museum of Lake Minnetonka respectively during the winter of 2004-2005.  MTM, which now focuses on railroading, was founded in 1962 to preserve Twin City Lines streetcar No. 1300 and, over the years, expanded into a multi-modal transportation museum preserving buses,  a steamboat, streetcars,  trains, and several railroad-related buildings.

The Minnesota Streetcar Museum focuses on the preservation of Minnesota's electric railway history by acquiring, restoring, maintaining, and operating a fleet of eight historic Minnesota streetcars at the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line in Minneapolis and the Excelsior Streetcar Line in Excelsior.  MSM also preserves artifacts, papers, and photographs that it uses to interpret Minnesota's electric railway history.

Thanks to Mike Miller of the MTM for some of the info and Denver Todd for his help with my railfan guides and suggesting welcome changes to help all ya'll.

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted, once in a great while maybe MapQuest. 
The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 


Getting Here

There are a number of ways to get here.  One is by bus, and the #6 route is your best bet.  There are others that bring you close, but not as close as the number 6 line.  See the Metro Transit map below.

You can do I-35W by getting off at exit 14, and go west on 36th Street, and then follow the maps below.

You can also take 100 from either I-394 (exit 5/5B in Cedarhurst), 62 in Edina, or  I-49 on the south side, and get off at Excelsior Blvd.


the Cars of Como-Harriet


















the Lake Harriet Bandshell

From Wikipedia: Lake Harriet is a lake in the southwest part of Minneapolis, just south of Lake Calhoun and north of Minnehaha Creek.  The lake is surrounded by parkland as part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes.  The lake has an area of 335 acres (1.36 km2) and a maximum depth of 85 feet (26 m).

Lake Harriet is very popular for recreation.  It offers sailing, two beaches, and a system of bike and pedestrian trails (about 3.05 miles (4.91 km) for the bike trail and 2.95 miles (4.75 km) for the pedestrian trail).  The trail and parkway system, part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, connects with Lake Calhoun on the north end via William Berry Parkway and with the Minnehaha Creek trail system on the southeast corner.  The north end of the lake also offers a bandshell, which is used in the summer months for concerts, and a refreshment stand.  A preserved section of the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line runs between Lake Calhoun and the west side of Lake Harriet.  It is a popular spot for Ingress Players and Geocachers.

The Bandshell: Every summer, Lake Harriet is host to many concerts in its castle-shaped Bandshell.  Music has been a part of the lake since the first pavilion was built on the property of Thomas Lowry in 1888.  The bandshell stood on the edge of Lake Harriet until 1891 when it was destroyed by fire.  After the fire, Minneapolis hired Architect Harry Jones to design the next bandshell.  The ‘Pagoda Pavilion’ overlooked the lake until 1903 when it was destroyed by fire.  Another Bandshell, again designed by Harry Jones was built in 1904 but was destroyed on July 8, 1925 in a windstorm.  A new bandshell was erected in 1927 and remained until 1985 when the modern bandshell was built.

The picture above at left shows the current bandshell in blue, but in 2004 developer Mark McGowan organized an all-volunteer completely free restoration of the buildings.  To complete the free restoration, McGowan obtained $650,000 in donated labor and materials from local and national companies.  Through these efforts, the bandshell, refectory and sailing club have been repaired and repainted to a light brown color, shown above right.  To celebrate the free restoration, an all-day music festival, called "Lake Harriet Live!, was held September 19, 2004.

During the fall of 2006, construction of a new patio and picnic shelter built to match the design of the original buildings was begun next to the concessions.  Construction of the new building and picnic area have been completed.


Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


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NEW 01/01/2014
Last Modified 19-Jul-2015