Cottage Grove’s airmail history may get protection

This little concrete arrow, which I first wrote about in 2013, could soon be protected from development.

It’s the last remaining concrete arrow in Minnesota, where the landscape was once dotted by them, to help steer air mail pilots to their destination.

This one, just off 90th Street in Cottage Grove, points the way to St. Paul’s Fleming Field, as near as we can tell, about 6 miles away. It’s hard to say where the airmail would’ve been coming from but the orientation seems to suggest Chicago, or perhaps wherever the previous arrow was located (La Crosse was a stop on the St. Paul-to-Chicago route).

No matter. They’re all gone now, except for this one, and KSTP reports that history fans would like to see it stick around in the development-happy suburb.

“Now that everybody thinks it’s a piece of history, I think they should keep it there even if this farm develops,” Jim Jansen says. “I think it should be roped off for a historic site.”

It’s on his farm and nearly impossible to see from the air now, but perhaps without roads and a lot buildings, it would have been more obvious back when flyboys needed luck even more than concrete arrows to get the mail to its intended destination.

Most of the farms left in that area of Washington County are marking time until they become housing developments.

KSTP says the Cottage Grove Historic Preservation Commission will consider landmark status for the arrow at its next meeting.

The other closest surviving arrows are in Milroy, Indiana (pointing the way to Cincinnati) …

… and outside Wichita, Kansas, showing the direction from Amarillo.

Neither of them looks like anyone’s in a rush to preserve them.

(h/t: Cathy Wurzer)