Morning Glory Gardens

While the Pope County Museum is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting historic sites around Pope County. We hope that you can walk or drive to visit these sites while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

Morning Glory Gardens


Testing the mettle of the Minnesota Conservation Department and a 1961 law specifically allowing Minnewaska property owners to fill in lakeshore lots, Ed Barsness began hauling rocks and dirt to a swampy lot on the north shore of the lake.  Conservation officers routinely advised Barsness and his crews to cease the operation. “We ignored their demands. All we wanted to do was to make desolate swamp land a place of beauty, and in another year we shall make a flower garden out of it, that will be open to the public,” said Barsness in a 1967 article.  He continued, “The name of the place will be “Morning Glory Gardens.” We saw the sun come up over the broad waters facing Glenwood early one morning and the heavens were filled with brilliant colors, full of glory. That is where “Morning Glory” came in. To you, the motoring public, take a look as you go by that last filled lot on this side of the Minnewaska House.  We will have some flowers this summer.”

The Challenge Homes Chapel was moved to the site in 1981.  



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