The area of West Minnehaha Avenue bounded by Victoria, Chatsworth, and Lafond was the home of Amherst H. Wilder Foundation headquarters until 2007. The site is now eyed as the future home for Frogtown Farm and Park.
The 13-acre site contains some of Frogtown’s best sliding hills. The site has many mature oak and cottonwood trees. A large open field is atop its highest hill, and hikers can enjoy an outstanding view of the neighborhoods and the city.
A dedicated band of neighborhood residents has worked with city officials, the Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation and the Trust for Public Land to create a Frogtown park and urban farm at the property, with green space, demonstration gardens, education and community gathering spaces and more.
Between 1883 and 1967, the site was occupied by the House of the Good Shepherd. Operated by the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the facility housed unwed mothers, prostitutes and girls deemed “incorrigible.” The massive Gothic building, with three tall towers and a large dome, was torn down in the late 1960s. Wilder bought the site in 1969 and moved its campus there.
Wilder’s townhouses and nearby Wilder Square high-rise (1975) remain as does a child care center and the Wilder Woods Alice Nicholson Gathering Pavilion, which was built in 2003. The pavilion has tree-trunk columns and a witch’s hat for a roof, and is loved by neighborhood children.