1920s — 1930s

First Hike — January 15, 1921

   Grace Cummings, a secretary in the St. Paul Parks Dept organized the St. Paul Municipal Hiking Club and led 25 hikers on the first hike, 3 miles from Burns and English (end of the Rondo Maria streetcar line) to the Highland school (now a residence,  Point Douglas Rd S).

   The hikers set their own pace going out, walking in groups, and taking turns in carrying a big basket of doughnuts.

   Highwood was reached about 4:30 pm, and two hours were given to playing games, including a "spell down."  

Some returned on the Burlington motor which left Highwood at 6:50.  The rest hiked back, singing much of the way, and reached St. Paul at 7:30 pm.  

—from St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 16, 1921, p. 11

1923 Slogan

Regardless of the weather, you'll find us here together.

Grace Cummings married Gerald Villars, a fellow hiker in 1924.

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Social events have been popular from the beginning.  59 people attended the first anniversary celebration after the hike enjoying a supper and dance for 50 cents a person.

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1924 Club Party  

1921—1996 Hikers met at the St. Paul Courthouse (now Landmark Center) for weekend hikes, first to ride together on streetcars to the starting point, then later for members to meet car caravans.

Saturday afternoon hikes continued for several years, except in the summer.  Hikes in the early years extended for 5 to 7 miles and usually ended at playground shelters, schools, commercial clubs, University cafeterias, Ft. Snelling.  Games, a supper, and sometimes dancing followed.

Regular evening hikes began in 1927.

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Monthly skating parties during winter months at the Hippodrome at the State Fairgrounds began in 1930 and continued until about 1942. 

Dues changed from $1 to 50 cents a year in Nov 1931 until 1934 when it went back to $1.

The hiking club first marched in the Winter Carnival parade on Saturday night, Jan 30, 1937, a cold night with the temperature below 0.  All hikers had to wear boots and breeches, the popular hikers' costume of the time.

Monthly Sunday hikes began in 1929 along with regular daytime hikes on Saturday afternoons.

 The Sunday hikes usually started in the morning and were endurance hikes of 10 to 25 miles.

The club distance record dates from Sunday, May 17, 1931 when 6 hikers took the streetcar from St. Paul to Wildwood Amusement Park in Mahtomedi for a 20-mile hike to Stillwater.  Three hardy hikers started hiking at 5 am in St. Paul, hiked to Wildwood and joined the others.  They hiked 47 miles that day.

April 11, 1937

1938 Slogan

Hike a bit and keep fit