Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

In 1952, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch newspapers (at the time one produced the morning edition and the other produced the afternoon edition) devised a contest to go along with the annual Saint Paul Winter Carnival: a treasure hunt. For the first few years, An actual treasure chest was hidden on public property and clues appeared in each edition of the newspaper until the treasure was found. The finders of those chests were allowed to keep them.

For 30 years of hunts, 1958-1987, the treasure was a medallion, a coin per se. In later years, technology came to the aid of hunters, through tools such as metal detectors (and of course there were hunters throwing metal slugs out in parks to try and thwart the metal detectors). In 1988, the Pioneer Press threw a monkeywrench into the works, by making the medallion out of "Laser Beams and 3M Magic", a round chunk of plastic. Metal detectors did no good.

As the hunt has progressed, so has the dollar value of the prize, from a potential $1100 prize in 1952, to $10,000 today, if the finder has a registered winter carnival button and clippings of the clues.

YearGeneral LocationPinpointed LocationConcealer
1952Highland ParkLeland & W. 7th StreetTreasure Chest in a clump of weeds
1953Cherokee ParkNear the tennis courts at Delaware St. and Cherokee Ave.Snow and dried leaves
1953Minnesota State FairgroundsNear the Poultry BuildingNear the base of a tree
1954Hidden Falls ParkInside the park entrance by the Ford PlantInside the base of a dead, hollow tree
1955Downtown Saint PaulUnderneath a mailbox at 7th and Robert StreetsMagnetized under the mailbox
1956Como ParkNear the Old Stone FireplaceInside a Hollow Log
1957Battle Creek ParkNear the county workhouse farmAbove ground in a clump of roots
1958Keller ParkUnder the Highway 61 bridge between Phalen and Keller ParksIn a gallon of milk frozen around the medallion
1959Warner RoadNear the railroad signal structuresBetween leaves in a tree
1960Harriet Island ParkIn the woods in the west end of the parkIn the heel of a rubber boot
1961Highland ParkNear the ballfields at Montreal and Edgecumbe in the fire pitA clump of grass and weeds
1962Mississippi Street FreewayNear a survey marker for the soon-to-be Interstate 35E, near the intersection of Mississippi St. and Lawson AvenueHard-packed snow
1963Bounded by Farrington and Louis Sts. and Rondo and Carroll Aves.On the ground near a hollow stumpLoosely tossed in the snow
1964Beaver Lake ParkNear the intersection of Edgewater Blvd. and Geranium AvenueA gold colored brick
1965Como Park100 paces east of the Larry Ho plaqueA block of printer's lead
1966Harriet Island ParkBetween the baseball diamondsAn old-fashioned clothes iron
1967Minnesota State FairgroundsBetween the Judging Arena and the KTCA boothA horseshoe
1968Highland ParkNear three oak trees up the hill from the intersection of Lexington Pkwy, Montreal Ave., and W. 7th St.A piece of plasterboard
1969Interstate 35E at Victoria StreetOn the bridge of the then-future highway intersectionFrozen rocks
1970Battle Creek ParkOn the 50-yard line of the football field on Upper Afton Rd.A cast iron vise
1971Wakefield ParkNear the Southwest edge of the lakeA baby buggy wheel
1972Marydale ParkSouth of the westernmost manhole coverAttached to a gold-painted gooseneck water trap
1973Phalen ParkNear Light Pole # 13 on the Pavilion Parking LotCemented into a closet rod bracket
1974Cherokee ParkBetween a large oak tree, and a grove of pine trees and large rock directly in line with Winona St.Inside a Coca Cola can concealed within a White paper bag
1975Mears ParkNear the intersection of Sibley and 5th Sts.In a Bull Durham tobacco sack wedged in a picnic bench
1976Keller ParkUnderneath the roots of the first tree south of the bridge to the islandIn a "Y" shaped tree branch
1977Irvine ParkOn the ground amid eight treesInside a cigar box
1978Harriet Island ParkMidway between the road and the pavilion buildingFrozen in a ball of milk and ice
1979Marthaler ParkNear the tennis courts.Attached to a piece of tree bark
1980Como ParkNear the Schiller StatueCovered in plaster, made to look like a stone
1981Acorn ParkAcross the walking path from the skating rinkStuck between a pair of leaves
1982Wakefield ParkNear the sledding hill on Prosperity Ave.Wrapped in a newspaper
1983Phalen ParkNear the picnic pavilionIn a bag of Oreo's; it replaced the filling in one of the cookies
1984Newell ParkNear the southeast corner of the parkAttached to a piece of a broken Elvis Presley 45rpm record
1985Kellogg ParkUnderneath a boulder near the Robert. St. end of the parkTucked inside a White Castle box
1986Highland ParkNear the old Highland Park swimming poolInside a pipe cap
1987Indian Mounds ParkIn the block bordered by Mounds Blvd., Mounds St., and Clemont St.Hidden in a clump of clay and grass
1988Tony Schmidt ParkBetween the parking lot and domed shelter across the street from Lake JohannaEmbedded in a chunk of almond bark
1989State Capitol MallBetween the hedges south of Constitution Ave.In a pair of earmuffs
1990Como ParkPointed at by the torpedo monumentIn a clump of clay and grass
1991Langford ParkNear the intersection of Knapp Pl. and Knapp St.Inside a Hostess Sno-Ball
1992Cherokee ParkNear the bend in Cherokee Ave. as it makes its way towards Smith Ave.Hidden in a White Mitten
1993Hidden Falls ParkBetween the bike path and the entrance road downhill from the North entranceConcealed in a baby diaper
1994Highland ParkNear the Police StationInside a wooden box
1995Battle Creek ParkNear the picnic shelter on Winthrop St.Wrapped in a knit yarn pouch
1996Harriet Island ParkNear the picnic shelter Inside a Skoal Tobacco Container
1997Como ParkAcross Estabrook Drive from the frog pond, in a stand of 27 treesWrapped in a bandana stuffed in a Curad bandage box
1998Cherokee ParkNear the woods at the south end of the parkInside an "Old Navy" brand sock
1999Conway Rec. CenterAcross the street from 459 Ruth St. in the Northwest corner of the parkInside a crocheted pouch
2000Newell ParkBetween the bench swing and baseball diamondInside a box of Ace brand playing cards
2001Como ParkDownhill from the park's West Picnic Grounds.Inside an "Iron Man" sock, stuffed into a "Dove" soap box
2002Merriam ParkOn the ground in the middle of a baseball diamondStuck to a tortilla chip can liner
2003Como ParkIn a wooded area north of the old fireplaceFrozen in ice
2004Phalen ParkIn a wooded area, in the area between Phalen and Round Lakes, not unlike the 2003 locationLoose in the snow in a green-iced donut
2005Crosby Farm ParkUnder a fallen tree branchAttached to the bark of a tree
2005Indian Mounds ParkUnder a tree in the Eastern end of the park
2006Battle Creek ParkAmidst some tall grass near a stand of pine trees on the sledding hill behind the recreation centerInside a Nut Goodie Wrapper, wrapped in a red and black garter and frozen in ice
2007Hidden Falls ParkAlong a line straight South of Cleveland AvenueEncased in ice, with the UAW Local 879 and Ford Logos under some logs
2007Central Park - RosevilleNear the base of a tree, close to a footbridge to the playgroundNothing
2008Indian Mounds ParkUnderneath a fallen tree Plastic-covered packaging from 3M Highland brand invisible tape
2009Swede Hollow ParkNear a tree at the end of the spring whose water crosses the eastern walking path.The Pioneer Press Hunt logo with red lipstick on the bulldog was affixed to the medallion
2010Lilydale ParkTucked in a footprint in the snow near an uprooted tree, across the river from grain silos and a circular piling in the river.Plastic bag, with a depiction of the Pioneer Press's two Pulitzer Prizes.
2011Battle Creek ParkNear the remnants of the former ski jump siteClear Newspaper Wrapping
2012Tony Schmidt ParkNear a stand of pine trees just off the Elmer Andersen Trail underneath the overhead power linesA diamond brand nut bag wrapped up in a blue hair binder
2013Cherokee ParkNear Annapolis Street, by a tree that had grown into a chain link fence.Ice
2014Como ParkTo the aft of the USS Swordfish memorial, near Lexington and EstabrookInside a pocket from a pair of jeans.
2015Snail Lake ParkNext to a tree near sledding hill above volleyball courtWrapped in cloth frozen in a block of ice
2016Bald Eagle Lake ParkIn the woods near the boat ramp on Bald Eagle LakeCigar leaves and a wet nap, wrapped in a plastic bag
2017Keller ParkIn the woods between Keller Parkway and Spoon LakeA chunk of ice, stepped on by a boot
2018Harriet Island Regional ParkIn west parking lot in a snowbankInside a football fashioned from a cup koozie
2019Long Lake regional Park10 paces off the path between the beach and boat launch west of DevineFrozen in leaves
2020Highland ParkNear the Edgcumbe Road Bridge over the ravineA pile of sticks