Nothin' like a city lake, and nothin' like the Harriet North Beach, where popcorn, bikers, bikinis, runners, rollerbladers, and various freaks parade by, giving the fleeting months of June-July-August the feel of endless summer. Let the suburbs have their way-too-crowded pay-to-swim pools. We'll ignore the lifeguards and let the dog swim and ruminate on the fact that Henry David Thoreau waded in these waters in the spring of 1861. That visit prompted Thoreau Society Member Albert Butler to write, in 1980: "Did Lake Harriet remind Thoreau of his freshwater pond (Walden) back home? As one walks around Harriet today, he treads the same turf that Thoreau knew more than a century ago. Harriet is about twice the size of Walden Pond, although the latter is much deeper, reaching a depth of 102 feet according to a survey by Thoreau in 1846. Thoreau drank water from Walden Pond and bathed there. It is likely that he did the same at Harriet. One reads the expressive pages of Walden with the thought that this visitor from Concord must have made constant comparisons of trees, flowers, birds, and animals here and there. Even the insects. Had he lived (he died the year after his trip to Minnesota), Thoreau might have written one of his best pieces comparing Walden and Harriet. Who can tell?"

Location Details

43rd St. W. and E. Lake Harriet Parkway
Minneapolis MN 55408


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