Did you know there are old cars buried in the hillside near Farmers Park in Lewiston? Here’s how to find them

May 18, 2019

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published last May. But the cars are still there. We promise.

One of my favorite groups that I belong to on Facebook is “ You Know You’re From Winona If.. ” (It’s a closed group; an administrator has to accept your request to join, but they are pretty friendly and should let you in the door). As a relatively new Winonan, I enjoy the history lessons the fellow members of the group provide.

One such topic that always seems to come up this time of the year is people asking about where they can find the “old cars” that are buried in the hillside near Farmers Park in Lewiston. There are multiple posts about it; if you’re a member of the group I’m sure you’ve come across it.

As the “legend” of the cars tells it, they were a project by the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the earliest New Deal programs that provided an opportunity for unemployed, unmarried men. They did quite a bit of work to Farmers Park and the surrounding areas. A 1933 article in the Winona Republican-Herald quoted G.F. Ludvigsen as saying the “boys in the CCC” were working hard.

“I know from my personal experiences of many years on many types of construction enterprises that I have never seen a more willing an conscientious group of workers than are enrolled in this CCC company,” he said.

A 1937 article mentions improvements completed at Farmers Park, including “the brook walls being reinforced with lime rock rip-rapping in all places where the stream heretofore overflowed.”

(Special thanks to Winona County Historical Society archivist Walt Bennick for the assistance in finding those articles).

No mention of the cars themselves, but someone put them in those hillsides. There’s a good chance it was the “boys in the CCC.”

I decided this year I wanted to find them for myself. None of the posts provide definitive directions — at least to someone terrible with directions, like myself — as to where the cars are located. Besides, it’s not like there are street names in the wilderness that surrounds Garvin Brook, and one bend in the stream looks a lot like the next. I’ve tried to recreate the steps for you as best I can, not only with the pictures and maps below, but also with an embedded video at the bottom of this story.

Still lost? Maybe this video will help you out.

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