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 Savanna Improvements

In 2011 Maplewood developed and approved a master plan (PDF) for Gladstone Savanna Neighborhood Preserve and Gloster Park. The plan integrates the site’s railroad history, soil remediation, stormwater management, natural resources, and passive and active (playground) recreation. Improvements began at the site in 2012 and today the trail system is complete and the restored native prairie is flourishing.

2017 Projects at the Savanna

Plans for 2017 at the Savanna include:
  • Install a new playground in the Savanna (ground work was done in Fall 2016).
  • Remove old playground at Gloster Park.
  • Add two landscape features: a sitting area near the former well and a rail feature.
  • Plan for interpretive signage.  The Heritage Preservation Commission is working with staff and a historian to develop content for interpretive signs for the site. Signs would likely be installed in 2018.

Prairie Restoration

Most of the prairie was seeded July 1st and 2nd 2014, and has established beautifully. Download the seeding plan (PDF) A few areas were seeded in September 2016 and will take a few years to catch up.  Maintenance of the prairie may include mowing, prescribed burn, and spot treatment of invasive weeds.

Brush and Tree Removal

Brush and selective tree removal has been done to accomplish the goals of the master plan. The woods in the southwest and south central portion of the site are not being restored at this time.

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: At Flicek park or street parking in the neighborhood
  • Facilities: There are no restrooms or drinking water at the preserve