Friday, August 29, 2014

Noyes Roadside Parking Area - Historical Views

US 75
The US - Canadian Frontier, the closed Noyes Customs Station

The Noyes Roadside Parking Area was designed by A. R. Nichols and built by the Minnesota Highway Department (MHD) in 1937. The stone obelisk was erected in 1929 and notes the international boundary. MHD erected a flagpole and built a flagstone base around the marker, creating a plaza. Three 6 foot-long concrete benches were placed around the obelisk. In 1997 MnDOT placed a metal marker noting "Our Native Prairie." A number of trees were planted at the site in 1997.

The RPA is directly across TH 75 from the now closed Noyes Customs Station. Both the station and the RPA are directly on the US side of the border. The inventory visit conducted in 2003 noted "due to post-Sept. 11, 2001, changes in national border security, Gemini Research was allowed only an abbreviated field visit in April 2003 because of site's proximity to the border and the border station. As a consequence, the site was not thoroughly examined and very few notes and photographs were taken." That survey did note that the site's original parking area and traffic island were removed.

I made a telephone inquiry with the US Border Patrol regarding access to the site. The border is a sensitive area and I was not assured of being able to walk around the site or photograph the site. Since it is a 3 1/2 hour drive I am forgoing the site visit.

MnDOT has information about the site, particularly right-of-way plats. A slight design change was drafted in 1938 adding separation islands for inbound and outbound traffic. Contemporary air photos show one island.

1938 proposed changes (MnDOT)

The RPA is seen to the right of the roadway.
The obelisk, flagpole and plaza as well as a concrete bench are visible.
(MnDOT)

(MnDOT)

(MnDOT)

Right-of-way plat. The triangle in the center is the roadside parking area.
(MnDOT EDMS. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2014, from http://dotapp7.dot.state.mn.us/cyberdocs_guest/Libraries/Default_Library/Groups/GUESTS/frameset.asp)

Flagpole and plaza, Noyes Roadside Parking Area, April 2003.
(Susan Granger, Scott Kelly, and Kay Grossman. (1998, December).
Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways.
Minnesota Department of Transportation.)

The Noyes Customs Station is being auctioned off, the auction closing soon if not already. It has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (National Register Property Details : National Register of Historic Places : mnhs.org. (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2014, from http://nrhp.mnhs.org/NRDetails.cfm?NPSNum=14000257).

The Noyes Roadside Parking Area is eligible for the national register.