Archive: Meet the Man Who Dreamed Up Duluth’s Remarkable Park System

In the 1870s, the melancholic William K. Rodgers left Duluth to serve as the personal secretary of his friend and mentor, president Rutherford B. Hayes. He would return to the Zenith City in 1889 after laying out his vision for the nation’s most remarkable urban park system and became the controversial first president of Duluth’s first Board of Park Commissioners. Meet the man who began building what is now Skyline Parkway and expanded the park system “as though he owned the whole city” here.

William K. Rogers. (Image: Hayes Presidential Library)

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