Don't be intimidated by the number of stages to this multicache. Golden Valley is a relatively small city geographically, and you can complete several of the stages without even leaving your car. As extra incentive, we've let you know which caches are within a third of a mile or so of each stage, including puzzles -- several for which we have also included waypoint projections. Permission has been obtained from puzzle owners to do this. For help with waypoint projections, we have found this site to be helpful. Just make sure you put the coordinates in the correct format (e.g., 44:59.123) and switch the "Distance Units" to feet.
The posted coordinates will take you to the Golden Valley Historical Society Building, known in some circles as "The Little White Church In The Valley." The building was built in 1882. As such, it is the oldest public building in Golden Valley. The building, which is no longer used as a church, was acquired by the Golden Valley Historical Society in 1997.
The Historic Church
The building is currently used to host the Historical Society's monthly general membership meetings, as a meeting place for other groups, and as a place for small weddings.
The coordinates will bring you to the sign identifying the building. Look on the back of the sign and take note of the year that the church transferred from the Methodist Church to the Christian Science Society. Let the answer equal A. Should a wedding be going on when you arrive, please postpone your search!
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocaches: GC215NW, GC23WDK, and GC1D63V. Or, if you prefer, project a waypoint of 991.65 feet at 249.93 degrees to find cache GC23WDK.
Stage two brings you to the sidewalk in front of the Oak Grove Church. The building used to be the Oak Grove School, which was the first school in Golden Valley. Initially, it was a one-room, log schoolhouse. The original school burned down and was replaced by a frame building that was used until 1912, and looked like this:
Oak Grove School
This building was replaced with a two-room school that is the foundation of the church you see in front of you. The building has changed substantially, but some pieces of its history remain. If you look at the south side of the building, in the middle and at the top, you will see a sign identifying the school district number. This is the old number of the Robbinsdale School District. Let B = this number.
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocache: GC1EK1W.
You shouldn't need to leave your car for this stage. The Golden Valley Historical Society recently took an inventory of the Golden Valley houses that are more than 100 years old. The coordinates for stage three will bring you to the street in front of the oldest house they discovered, which was built in 1870. The house was originally built by the Nassig family, one of the original families in Golden Valley. They will be encountered again later in this tour.
You're looking for a grey house with white trim on the south side of the street, with two large spruce trees in the front yard. The house appears to have been remodeled significantly since it was originally built; it does not look like a house from 1870. Let C equal the house number. (The first digit of the house number has fallen off; it is a "6," consistent with the other houses on this block.) This is private property, so don't bother the residents!
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocache: GC201J4. Or, if you prefer, project a waypoint of 2,084.68 feet at 265.49 degrees to find cache GC201J4.
As you drive to Stage Four, you should also take note of the Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom Hall on the corner of Duluth Street and Douglas Drive. The unique building was designed by Herb Fritz, a student of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1958. Unfortunately, because of the private property aspect of the building, it would not work as a stage in this history tour.
Now, go to stage four. This will take you to the Golden Valley Cemetery. The cemetery was founded on May 17, 1869, by twelve of the earliest settlers of the city. One of these settlers was Charles Nassig, who served in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, where he was injured at the Battle of Antietam.
The City of Golden Valley currently operates the cemetery. Under an obscure provision of state law, when a cemetery association closes, it is taken over by the city in which it is located.
You are looking for two numbers. First, look at the veterans' memorial. Take the number of letters in the title Charles Nassig held on the original cemetery association. Next, go to the northwest corner of the cemetery. Here you will find some of the oldest gravestones, many with text in German. The first person buried in the cemetery was Carolina Bies. Find her gravestone and note the year she died. Add these two numbers together and let the sum equal D.
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocaches: GC296BX, GC221NN, GC1YACM, and GC1T61N.
Stage five will take you to the parking lot of a "vintage" shopping mall. In the February 22, 2004, edition of the Star Tribune, a snooty reporter described this mall as "a museum piece of a strip mall that squats beside a parcel the city is trying to turn into a pleasant town center with arbors and benches. The mall was already described as an eyesore in 1986, the city's centennial year. It looks even more out of place today and has inspired numerous calls for improvement." As if piling on, the September 11, 2008, edition of Vita.MN said that the sign identifying the mall "points to the decline of great signage: simpler shapes and duller fonts."
The Shopping Mall
While some Golden Valley residents would like to see this mall refurbished, it does do good business and the stores are usually busy, even in today's wintry economic climate. Take note of the sign identifying the shopping mall mentioned above. Let E equal the number of letters (excluding spaces) on the bottom row of the sign.
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocaches: GC23Q04, GC23PXK, GC226C7, GC265DK, and GC23V0P. Or, if you prefer, project a waypoint of 1,896.23 feet at 175.3 degrees to find cache GC265DK.
This set of coordinates will bring you to Golden Valley's oldest existing tavern. Rumor has it that the owner sold bootlegged whiskey out of the bar during the Depression. Let F equal the year the bar was established, as noted on its sign.
One of Golden Valley's historic taverns, back in the day
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocaches: GC23VQ1, GC22CVH, and GC23W4C. Or, if you prefer, project the following waypoints:
- 1,270.13 feet at 120.79 degrees to find cache GC22CVH
- 764.54 feet at 154.97 degrees to find cache GC23VQ1
- 634.4 feet at 87.8 degrees to find cache GC23W4C
When you arrive at the coordinates for Stage 7, you will be standing on a bridge over Bassett Creek. Bassett Creek is a twelve-mile long stream that winds through Golden Valley and other western suburbs. Its source is Medicine Lake and it ends it journey in the Mississippi River near the Stone Arch Bridge after completing the last 1.5 miles under the city of Minneapolis.
The creek was named for Joel Bean Bassett who came to Minneapolis in 1850. He owned the piece of land where the creek originally entered the Mississippi near Nicollet Island.
The expansion of the Minneapolis led to the demise of the Bassett Creek wetlands and the area became a dumping ground. In 1929, Theodore Wirth (see Stage 10) proposed that the watershed be cleaned up -- but it was not until 1934 that funds were available.
Today, the creek runs through many backyards and parks. It also runs through 3 golf courses. During the golfing season, it is estimated that 100 balls per day end up in its waters.
On the bridge, you will find a plaque with the name of the manufacturer of the bridge. Let G equal the last digit of the zipcode where the bridge was made.
While in the area, you can enjoy the following geocaches: GC25ZHF, GC15RW2, and GC15RX8.
While you're in the area, you should know that to the immediate south is the corporate headquarters of General Mills. General Mills, along with the Tennant Corporation, moved their headquarters to Golden Valley in the mid 1950’s. Honeywell also constructed a large manufacturing facility during the same time frame.
The coordinates for this stage will bring you to a railroad bridge that was built by the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railroad.
The MN&S Railroad was incorporated in 1918. It owned only 87 miles of track but for each car that it handled it received a large portion of the total freight charges.
One of the offices and yards of the MN&S Railroad was located just west of where the Animal Humane Society is located. The railroad's presence in the western suburbs was an important factor in the development of industry in the area.
Let H equal the third digit of the year the bridge was built. This number can be seen from the road, the digits are about 12 inches high on the south side of the road on the concrete wall supporting the end of the bridge.
While in the area, you can enjoy the following geocache: GC22F4C. Or, if you prefer, project a waypoint of 686.19 feet at 212.72 degrees to find cache GC22F4C.
Next, you will visit one of Golden Valley's corporate campuses. Golden Valley is home to several large multi-national corporations, including General Mills, Tennant, Honeywell, and this one. Golden Valley is in fact unusual in that its daytime population is 50% larger than its nighttime population: while 20,000 people live in Golden Valley, 30,000 people work in Golden Valley. This particular campus was expanded in 2006. Here's the artist's rendition of the expansion:
The coordinates will take you to a statue which was moved from the business' old location on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. Let J equal the year that the statue was "cut and chiseled."
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocache: GC2500J.
The next stage is in Theodore Wirth Park. While Wirth Park is operated by the city of Minneapolis, most of it is located within the boundaries of Golden Valley. Acquired as parkland in 1889, it is the oldest park in Golden Valley. In 1890, the park was named Glenwood Park, but in 1938, it was named after Theodore Wirth, the superintendent of parks from 1906 to 1935. Wirth is best known for reshaping the city’s lakeshores and building its parkways.
The coordinates to this stage will take you to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, which was opened in the early 1900’s. It was the first wildflower garden in the country. Elosie was a retired botany teacher and she maintained the gardens for 4 years. Please enjoy a walk through this wonderful garden and observe our state flower.
Go to the coordinates for Stage Ten and you will find yourself at the gate to the garden. There is a plaque on the right hand side of the gate giving the date established. How many letters are in the first word of the plaque? Let K equal this number.
Note: There is a small parking fee for the garden. The entry road is blocked off in the winter and while the garden is not open the plaque is certainly visible, however, after finding a legal parking spot it would be a good hike in.
While in the area, you can also enjoy the following geocaches: GC1D6DQ and GC22VJF.
Stage Eleven will take you to a road sign made by the AAA for the first touring cars in Minneapolis. The old sign used to be located on Sixth Avenue North (now Olson Memorial Highway) and when the road was widened, the sign was pulled out of the ground and left laying beside the right of way. What is the first digit of the distance to Hamel? Let M equal that number. The sign is located on private property, so don't bother the residents!
Theodore Wirth Golf course was built in 1916 for a cost of approximately $500. It consisted of 9 holes of golf from clay tees to sand greens. During the first year 12,000 rounds were played. The next year there were 50,000 rounds, a very high figure even compared to today’s most popular courses. It helped that no fees were charged to play. Go to the coordinates for Stage Twelve and face west and look a little uphill to the original Swiss Chalet style clubhouse built in 1922. Right in front of you is a bronze statue of Theodore Wirth surrounded by several playing children. There is also a plaque. On the plaque, how many letters are in the second word of the phrase that was coined by Theodore Wirth? Let N equal this number.
The final coordaintes are at 45 W.X, 93 Y.Z.
W = K-(N*H)
X = (B*E)-(A-D)-E-K-M
Y = J-F
Z = (C/(M*N))-(G*N)
Check your solution
If you like this cache, you may also like cache GC1EBKN, which gave us the idea to do this cache. You do have to drive a lot more for that one! Thanks also to Brooklyn51 and to Don Anderson of the Golden Valley Historical Society for recommending waypoints and doing some research.
Pfalstad has allowed us to give the distance, but not the bearing, to several of his puzzles. Along those lines, while at Stage Five (the shopping mall), you can walk 129.52 feet to find cache GC23PXK, 786.56 feet to find cache GC23V0P, or 868.93 feet to find cache GC23Q04. Similarly, while at Stage Seven (the bridge over Bassett Creek), you can walk 443.3 feet to find cache GC15VG7, 1,008.93 feet to find cache GC15RX8, or 1,098.23 feet to find cache GC15RW2.