Sunday, April 27, 2014

Walking in "Nordeast" Minneapolis

Nordeast? That's northeast spoken with a German/Scandinavian accent. Saturday, April 26 was cool -- when I started this walk I wished for my gloves, but I figured the day would continually get warmer.

This walk started from a restaurant. The route map said this area of Minneapolis is full of churches and bars. I have pictures of churches, didn't worry about the bars.

The first thing I saw as I walked along University Avenue NE was another Little Free Library.
They are really popping up everywhere.

This area of Minneapolis is very much a working class neighborhood. In the 19th century it was where the immigrants from Central Europe settled, being unwelcome in the areas where the New England money type people lives. (In fact, right I am reading the book, Stillwater, by Nicole Helget. Helget has her characters who have lived in the Minnesota territory for their lifetime speak about their resentment of the New England money types arriving now in the mid-1830s, telling everyone else what to do.)

The houses here look much different from those one would find along the lakes in Minneapolis.

My walk route took me past Holy Cross Church.

This church is the heart of the Polish-American community in Minnesota. I saw someone enter the church as I was crossing the street and hoped that I could slip in to see it, but it was locked up.

The route took me past the church where I saw the steeple of a different church.

The onion dome made me think it was an Orthodox church, but because this walk was already a 11K route I wasn't inclined to walk off route even for a couple blocks, just to satisfy my curiosity.

The map said I was entering the Arts District. Don't know if other cities have these, but there is also one in Saint Paul. These are places where rents are low and it's possible for artists to find less expensive places to live and less expensive places for work or galleries. What was in the windows of the shops made the next few blocks an interesting stroll.

In this area I found two interesting murals.

The above mural was painted on a building along side an alley. Someone had the sense of humor to add a street sign (see green rectangle on the upper left) that said Easel Street.

Here's part of another one -- I could only get part for there was nowhere to stand to take a photo of the entire mural.

The writing under the horse reads, "You were wild here once, don't let them tame you."

In the distance I could see another church spire -- and I had to remind myself I wasn't in Central Europe, for it surely looked like it.

Here's the sign on the church.

I wondered what language included Vitajte. At home later in the day with the help of Mr. Google I found it is Slovack. I was also clueless about SS. Cyril and Methodius, as well as why both are together. Well with the help of Mr. Google I learned they were brothers from the Orthodox tradition. Cyril is the one from which we get Cyrillic language letters. That's one thing I like about doing these walks -- I see things I never would have noticed and learn new things about what I see.

And before leaving this location -- now Mass is said here in Spanish! How's that for a reflection of the changing times.

Soon in the distance I could see a large building:

 I was sure it was a brewery and I was right -- Grain Belt. Now the beer is actually produced in New Ulm, MN. In the photo there are things piled up covered by a tarp. This is for an apartment building project. A trip through the Internet shows a lot of interest among potential renters, but the developer seems to be having problems getting funding in place.

The next destination on the route was Boom Island. Heard about this place many times but never have been there. First, I learned it is no longer an island. One of the channels of the Mississippi River became silted shut and so Boom Island is firmly attached to Nordeast Minneapolis. Boom Island apparently got its name from the numerous pulley systems that were here in the heyday of lumbering. The pulleys were used to remove logs from the river and then move them along to the sawmill.

Much of it is parkland.

The gray skies in this photo may help readers understand why I had wished for my gloves -- but by this time the temperature had risen and I also was warmed up from walking.

Soon I came to a bridge.

 This pedestrian only bridge took me over a small channel of the Mississippi River.

Then I was faced with steps.

Now I was on Nicollet Island. Nicollet Island is a real island, the last of the six original islands in the river at the time of European settlement. The remainder have joined the river shore as did Boom Island or totally destroyed by the type of settlement and industry conducted in the 19th century.

First I came into an area of old houses.

If the house was mine, I think it would be painted differently.

Another group was a bit more like their original colors.

In a bit of time I was walking along the main river channel again and found a duck that wanted to pose quite nicely.

 Next I was to find a checkpoint -- a Japanese Bell monument.

 This monument resembles what is called a Dotaku, a mold for making a bell. The monument is called Bell of Two Friends and is the work of Karen Sontag-Sattel. It was installed in 2001 and is a gift of the city of Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan.

Soon I was walking around the Nicollet Island Pavilion.

When searching some history about this I was amazed to learn it started out in 1893 as a boiler works. The walk along the pavilion took me to a bridge which crosses the same back channel of the river that I crossed on Boom Island. This took me to the area called St. Anthony Main.

This area really does like a late 19th century main street -- these are original buildings. In this area is one of my favorite coffee shops. I stopped there for a rest and good cup of coffee with a cinnamon roll.

The walk route then took me a bit further east to the Water Works Park. I followed a path back to a view of the St. Anthony Falls.

This is/was the only waterfall on the Mississippi River and became highly prized for European settlers for hydro-power. The American Indians in this area regarded it as a sacred site. The falls, in their natural state, were destroyed when an industrialist tried to dig a tunnel under the waterfall. The falls were later somewhat restored.

Next I walked up some stairs to 2nd Street and along to the Ard Godfrey House.

This is the oldest surviving wood frame house in Minneapolis.

Then my route took me downhill back to the bridge over the river channel, along the river again and then back through Boom Island. From Boom Island it was a long 2K or so through a residential area without anywhere to sit down for minute. Enjoyed this walk very much and amazed I could walk 17K in two days. Not too bad for a grandmother of four!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Doing the Capital Walk

Through the American Volksmarch group every state has a Capital Walk. I've just never done the Minnesota one and while doing it, actually didn't go to the Capitol Building either since it's rather in my backyard where I live.

I started this walk along Grand Avenue, quite like the walk I reported recently under the post, Walking on Summit Avenue. That walk took me to the west while this one took me east.

Almost the first landmark of note is the place where F. Scott Fitzgerald lived as a child and young man.

The family lived in one of the central units. This building is called a row house, and while this term is used widely in the eastern U.S., to my knowledge this is the only building in Minnesota to carry this label.

As one walks east on Summit Avenue the houses get older and older -- as least old by American standards!

Here's one:

My route took me by a little triangle shaped park. I've driven by it many times, but walking allows one to read signs.

It is officially called Summit Overlook. In the 19th century a hotel stood here. It burned down near the near of the 20th century and the lot stood empty. Then there was a need to place the New York Life Eagle and the park was created.

One thing I like about doing these walks is what one learns when walking. The eagle began its life in 1890 as the sentinel of the New York Life building, which was sited about 4 blocks from where I live now. It was sculpted by Augustus and Louis Saint-Gaudens. It stands 10 feet tall and has a 12 foot wingspan. The weight is 2000 pounds, slightly less than a metric ton.

When the New York Life building was razed for new construction -- and pardon me, but there's nothing at this address of note -- the eagle sat next to parking ramp for several years.The Saint Paul Pioneer Press took on restoration of the eagle as part its 150th anniversary as a Minnesota newspaper.

Continuing along Summit Avenue I came to the James J. Hill house.  James J. Hill was born in Canada in the 1830s and arrived in Minnesota as a young man. By the end of the 19th century he was one of the richest men in the United States. He founded the Great Northwest Railroad which connects Saint Paul to Seattle.
This picture taken in the early morning sun really doesn't do justice to this house. Much to my amazement, I learned this house has 36,000 square feet -- that's way bigger than what are now called the McMansions that we see in some of the suburbs. Among other things the east part of the first floor was an art gallery holding the extensive collection of French paintings owned by the family.

What I've been told that Hill was not Catholic, but his wife was, so a lot of money went across the street to also build the St. Paul Cathedral.

Hill's wife survived him by about 15 years and after her death the house went to the church which used it as a school. Eventually the house was given to the Minnesota Historical Society which now operates it as a museum. In fact, as I walked by the house, the street was lined with school buses for children from other locations in Minnesota here for tours.

Next to the cathedral is St. Paul College. My older granddaughter who will now be living with me will attend here until she has completed what is called the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. Then she may transfer to many other places to complete her bachelor's degree.

The walk took me to the Minnesota Historical Society. From the hallway there I got a much nicer picture of the cathedral.

I stopped here for awhile for a coffee break. Then it was up the hill and back along the cathedral to Selby Avenue. Dug out one of my books, The Street Where You Live, and found that Selby came to St. Paul in 1849 "for his health." He bought a farm on what was called St. Anthony Hill. The Cathedral is built on some of this land.

This end of Selby is now lined with interesting restaurants and shops.

Moscow on the Hill is one example.

I also found another Little Free Library.
In this area is also the Virginia Street Church. I have always thought its architecture to be charming.

Hard to get a good picture in the morning sun. A sign of the church says it is a Swedenborgian Church.

The St. Paul Curling Club is also located on this street.

Earlier today I discovered I had a blog reader yesterday from Montenegro. That brings the number of countries in which someone has read by blog to 110 in addition to the United States and Puerto Rico. I was wondering if how many of those countries people know what curling is!

And it was nice to see the flower boxes being changed from dried up evergreen to spring flowers.

The yellow flowers in the flower pot above is forsythia. When I was a kid we had these bushes around our home. My brother couldn't say forsythia and always called them "sissy bushes." It was fun to see sissy bush again.

Soon it was time to turn left on Dale. My book says this street suddenly appears on street maps in about 1870. It then marked the very western boundary of Saint Paul and the name is through to be associated with a natural valley or depression in that area.

I eventually made my way to the start point along Milton Street. My book tells me this street is named after the British poet, John Milton.

So I walked 7 K and learned a lot about streets and things not very far from home.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Brunch and Easter Stroll

My older daughter and I went out for an Easter Brunch. Our first course was juice, coffee, and pastries. Then each of us could choose. For the second course my daughter chose the buckwheat pancakes with berry sauce.

She looks a bit serious -- I don't know why -- we were having a good time and the food at this restaurant is excellent.

I instead had the spinach, bacon, and ricotta cheese quiche for this course.

For the third course we both had the split pea soup.

For the next course we both chose differently.

My daughter had the Arctic char.

I see in the photo a bit of the sun that was peeking through the blinds.

I had the Swedish meatballs.

We each had the same dessert.

This is berries over meringue with chocolate cream. While we were enjoying this, the restaurant manager passed by and said, "Oh  you picked the best one."

Upon returning to the neighborhood we took a bit of walk to a nearby office building. I have been driving by this building and wondering about the eight.

This picture certainly shows we had no green grass on the Easter weekend.

Walking here I found other sculptures.

And we found a lazy 5.

Unfortunately there is no information about any of the artists for the sculptures.

And church -- at a civilized time of 4:30 in the afternoon.

Walking on Summit Avenue

Anxiously waiting for more interesting walks to open, I decided on Friday to do the walk along Summit Avenue. Click here to learn more about Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. It is a famed historic street.

The walk began from a Super America gas station on Grand Avenue. In the 19th century Grand Avenue was the shopping street, with the grocers, hardware stores, dress shops, whatever -- for those who owned the grand mansion on Summit Avenue didn't want shops next door, but one block over was an easy location to send a servant on an errand.

The walk turned left from Grand Avenue to Summit. About the first thing I noticed was one of the Little Free Libraries. Click here to learn more about Little Free Libraries.

I have driven by the lady many times.

She is a tree sculpture and wears interesting clothing most of the year. Right now, a purple shawl is her chosen wardrobe.

Here are some of the houses along Summit.

 When I saw it I admired the white brick work in the porch railing. This probably took an afternoon once upon a time to create and is still now enjoyed 100 years later.

This house was built originally by two brothers. If you look carefully you will see the arches on the left hand side of the photo that are a mirror image to those easily seen on the right hand side. Once I was inside this house for a wedding rehearsal dinner. I have no idea if the right hand side of the house is still used for catering.

 And I chose to take a photo of this house just to add a bit of variety.

If you have read the article about Summit Avenue you will have learned there are many houses of worship along this street. Above is the Greek Orthodox Church. The dome is very low so it was hard to get a good photo of it.

Even though I have driven along this street many, many times, I had never before noticed this lovely fence.

And one must walk to see the sidewalk poems. These are done when it is necessary to repair the sidewalk -- good sidewalks are not destroyed to add poems.

And turning back on Grand to return to the start point, I noticed the palm tree on the top of this building. I truly had never seen this before. It made me think of the one in the middle of the street in Warsaw! Both are improbable in northern climates!

I walked another 5 K of this walk later in the day, but didn't have the camera along for any photos. Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of Summit Avenue.