The Wolfe in Wolfe Park

Kenneth Wolfe created a program to develop parks and playgrounds.
Mayor Kenneth Wolfe with his wife, Alice, and Miss India in 1961.

One of the more pleasant duties of a mayor is to greet visiting dignitaries; here we have Mayor Kenneth Wolfe and his wife, Alice, greeting Miss India as they attend the grand opening of the Ambassador Hotel in April 1961.

Kenneth Wolfe was elected mayor of St. Louis Park in 1958 and served until 1966. It was a heady time when the city was growing faster than services could keep up. Wolfe was proud that “we were able to transform this town, which had no parks, no sewers or good streets, into one of the best communities in the state.”

Imagine St. Louis Park without its signature 51 parks. As land was being gobbled up for housing and other development, Wolfe and the city council saw to it that land was set aside for parks and recreation. His efforts were appreciated; in 1964, the city’s premier park, site of the Rec Center, was named for Wolfe.

While his supporters urged him to run for governor of Minnesota, Wolfe instead ran for state senator, and represented District 30 until 1972. In 1972 the St. Louis Park Sun ran the banner headline: “Ken Wolfe: ‘The Little Giant’ Steps Down.” He passed away in January 1981, leaving behind a legacy of parks, roads and utilities that make St. Louis Park one of the nation’s most livable cities.

-Jeanne Andersen is a trustee on the board of the St. Louis Park Historical Society.