Tag Archives: Minneapolis

Autumnal Options 2017 – Part II

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.      Albert Einstein

Except sometimes it feels as if everything does happen at once…especially in the autumnal burst of energy mentioned in a recent blog post.  So not everything got included that post – nor will it be in this one.  Still, following are some more autumnal options for those whose appetite to learn is wonderfully insatiable.

September 15–October 15 – National Hispanic Heritage Month – https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.govDetails in separate post

September 16. 3:00 PM – Pangea World Theatre and Mizna present “History and Theater: How do we tell the stories that have been silenced? http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/events/history-and-theater-how-do-we-tell-the-stories-that-have-been-silenced/

September 19, 7:00 p.m. –  The Experiences of Gay Hmong Men: An Exploratory Study: Dr. Brian V. Xiong will discuss his dissertation research. http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/events/history-and-theater-how-do-we-tell-the-stories-that-have-been-silenced/

September 23 9:00 AM-12:30 PM. Tour of St. Anthony of Padua Church, 813 NE Main Street, Minneapolis.  Sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.  Registration fee.  Contact Kristin Anderson anderso3@augsburg.edu or leave a message at 612 330 1285

September 24-30 – Banned Books Weekhttp://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks Details re programs and banned titles in separate post.

October–LGBT History Month https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_HistoryMonth  – Details in separate post

October 13-January 31.  “In Their Own Words”: The Tretter Transgender Oral History Project.  Elmer L. Andersen Library Gallery, University of Minnesota.  Thursday, October 19 5:00 p.m. Celebration of the Project and the collections, featuring international recording artist, Venus Demars.  https://www.lib.umn.edu/tretter/transgender-oral-history-project

And the list goes on…

September 23, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM.  Northeast religious space: Diversity in cultures and architecture.  Minnesota chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.  Tours of ethic churches in NE Minneapolis.  Reservations due September 18  – free.  Details and reservations  at http://www.mnsah.org

October 4, 7:00 PM. Author Kathleen Norris will discuss “how spiritual grounding and practice can hep us in this hectic era of fake news and the manipulation of fear for political Ends.”   St Catherine University,  The O’Shaughnessy.  Free and open.  Reserve tickets  –  https://www.stkate.edu/news-and-events/events/kathleen-norris-2017

October 5, 5:00 PM. Writers Workshop: Overcoming Writer’s Block and Growing from Criticism. Jackson Flats, 901 18 1/2 Avenue NE, Minneapolis.No fee, monetary contributions support the Jac Flats honeybees and pollinator garden. http://www.facebook.com/groups/NorthEastMplsWriters/?sw_933460904&fbr_t=…




Who painted that mural? There’s an app for that!

I did not know how to paint a mural. I did not know how to prepare the surface. There was nobody from the Renaissance around who could advise me, and I did the best I could. Maurice Sendak *

To learn more about Sendak’s unique – because it’s his only – extant mural, read something about it here – or visit in person at the Rosenbach in Philadelphia http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/arts/20160422_Sendak_mural_gets_a_new_home_at_new_library_branch.html

If, on the other hand, you’re one of the many Minnesotans  (http://artforce.org) intrigued by the hundreds of murals you pass every day on your way to work, or by the massive painting that graces your favorite watering hole, be aware that there’s a tool for that!

The Air Force Academy in Northeast has created, and will continue to expand, a handy annotated map to the Murals of Minneapolis! 

Smart-phone in hand, google the site, click on the map – and prepare to be amazed.  You’ll find the name, something about the artists and a delightful essay the tells the story of the mural, how it came to be, what it means to the artist and to the neighborhood – the answers to questions you haven’t thought to ask.   http://www.artforce.academy/mural-map/

Here’s how the mappers describe their idea and their work:

This project came about on one of those summer days – you know the ones… We were cruising through the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District when a glorious mural peaked over the horizon.

As it drew nearer, we wondered, “Who painted this mural? Where can we find out?” Much to our surprise, there was no single source detailing all of Minneapolis’ murals. So we set out to do it ourselves. Enter the Minneapolis Mural Map! We hope to add mural maps – neighborhood by neighborhood – and could really use your help hunting them all down. In the meantime, please see the Northeast Minneapolis Mural Map as it takes shape below.

So far the Art Force sleuths have explored and documented murals in Northeast, North and South Minneapolis.  They’re eager to connect with mural-mavens throughout the community.  In their own words, “We hope to add mural maps – neighborhood by neighborhood – and could really use your help hunting them all down.”

While you’re on the Art Force website cruise the site to learn more about the range and relevance of all that’s happening at this very special  Northeast Minneapolis beehive!  (http://artforce.org)


Interesting – and  relevant –  item found in today’s email:  7-29




Northeasters Walk Their Neighborhood to Honor the Presidents

Question:  Why will families and neighbors  from Northeast Minneapolis spend a Saturday in February  walking or riding the bus from Edison High School to Northeast Middle School?

Answer:  Because Saturday, February 18, 2012, is the 4th Annual “We Love Our Presidents” Walk and Celebration!

It’s a time-honored tradition.

In Northeast Minneapolis most of the North-South running streets bear the names of presidents.  Starting with Washington Street on the West and continuing through Harding Street to the East it’s easy for folks in Northeast who know their nation’s history to check their internal GIS location.

The President’s Day Walk and Celebration is a tradition, a great way for neighbors young and old learn together, to enjoy their community,  and to honor the nation’s leaders.

Here’s the 2012 agenda:

10:00 a.m. Walkers gather at Edison High School, 700 22nd Avenue, between Madison and Monroe (if you don’t count Howard….)

Walkers proceed along a route walking East on 22nd Avenue to Central Avenue (don’t ask – there was no President Central) then North on Central for a Cocoa Break at the freshly-painted Eastside Food Coop on 25th and Central.   Along the way walkers will stop at each corner where members of the Northeast Urban 4-H Club will relate a few interesting facts about that President.  Neighbors will be encouraged to share their memories of the neighborhood.

Next the intrepid walkers, warm and refreshed, will head East to Northeast Middle School, 2955 Hayes Street NE, just in time for lunch

Noon – Walkers and visitors will meet at Northeast Middle School for lunch and program.  Keynote speaker during lunch is Ginny Zak Kieley who writes and publishes stories about the neighborhood.  Ginny’s books, including three about Northeast, will be on sale.

The President’s Day Walk will wrap up at Northeast Middle School with a steaming hot chili lunch (donation requested), a trivia contest, awards for winners of the coloring contest, and the presentation of the distinguished Northeast Presidential Seal for the group that has gathered the most participants for the Walk.

For those who want to be mentally as well as physically prepared for the Walk, here’s a refresher President-named streets that walkers will travel on February 18.

  • Madison St NE is named for James Madison
  • Monroe St NE is named for James Monroe.
  • Quincy St NE is named for John Quincy Adams
  • Jackson St NE is named for Andrew Jackson
  • Van Buren St NE is named for Martin Van Buren
  • Harrison St NE is named for William Henry Harrison
  • Tyler St NE is named for John Tyler
  • Polk St NE is named for James K. Polk
  • Taylor St NE is named for Zachary Taylor
  • Fillmore St NE is named for Millard Fillmore
  • Pierce St NE is named for Franklin Pierce
  • Buchanan St NE is named for James Buchanan
  • Lincoln St NE is named for Abraham Lincoln
  • Johnson St NE is named for Andrew Johnson
  • [Central Avenue is just an anomaly]
  • Ulysses St NE is named for Ulysses S. Grant
  • Hayes St NE is named for Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Garfield St NE is named for James A. Garfield
  • Arthur St NE is named for Chester A. Arthur
  • Cleveland St NE is named for Grover Cleveland
  • Benjamin St NE is named for Benjamin Harrison
  • McKinley St NE is named for William McKinley
  • [Stinson Parkway is named for a member of the Park and Recreation Board because it is part of the city’s Parkway system.  If you get to Stinson you’ve walked too far.]

Generous sponsors of the “We Love the Presidents Walk and Celebration” include Eastside Food Coop, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education, Minneapolis Park and Recreation, Northeast Bank, Northeast Minneapolis Royalty, Northeast Urban 4-H Club, NEMplsOnline.com and The Northeaster Newspaper.










Community to Explore Greening the Holland Neighborhood

Jackson Square Park in Northeast is absolutely the perfect site for intentional planning of the neighborhood’s green spaces.  On Thursday August 4 6:30-8:00 p.m. representatives of the City, Minneapolis Public Schools and Minneapolis Park & Rec will meet with Holland neighbors and others to discuss ideas for greening the landscape and improving water quality in the community.  One impetus for the discussion is the recent designation of the neighborhood school Thomas Edison High School, as a GREEN school.  Students, staff and teachers are at the ready to “green” the neighborhood!

Meeting attendees will want to take time to enjoy Jackson Square Park itself. The newest, and possibly the most notable, is “In Flux”, a spherical sculpture made of steel plates, sculptured glass and light.  The work builds on the connection between the arts community of which the park is an integral part, and the Holland neighborhood.  Surrounding the sculpture are benches and cast iron text excerpts generated during meetings with community residents and Edison High School art students during the artwork development.

Energy Audit Spurs Action Plan and Peace of Mind

An action plan and peace of mind – from my non-technical perspective that’s the result of my recent engagement with Community Energy Services, an initiative of the Center for Energy and Environment.   CEE is a nonprofit organization that “promotes the responsible use of natural and economic resources.”   Though that’s about what I know – or need to know – about CEE, their website is replete with detailed information about their resources and services – check it out.

My experience began when Anita, my daughter-in-law, asked me if I’d like to go with her to a CES introductory workshop at a nearby school – one hour, child care and treats provided.  The hour was packed with background information, tips, graphics and logical explanations that made sense even to me, a homeowner with no clue about how to conserve or what to do about energy use and planning.  On top of the great lecture and informed Q&A it’s important to note that grandson Will, age 2, spent a delightful hour with Bridget, the charming and kid-loving “babysitter”.

In the wrap up of the one hour lecture attendees were invited to make arrangements for individualized home audits ($30) to be scheduled in the near future at our convenience.  The speaker listed good reasons for the audit, the general areas the auditors would cover, and the free energy savers they with which they would be equipped.  What a deal!  Anita and I both signed up for sessions (1½ – 2 hours), paid our $30, scheduled audits within the next couple of weeks, packed up the bag of energy saving products and tips – and Will – and went home with heads full of ideas.

Less than two weeks after that orientation both of our homes have been audited by energy audit teams from CES.  We both live in older homes and have never had any good idea of the basics of insulation, windows, leaks and other structural issues, much less a clear notion of how to regulate appliances, replace energy eaters or how to incorporate energy saving technologies or techniques into our daily routines.

Both teams (one three member, one two member) were magnificent.  They came ready to make the most of the 90 minutes – fully equipped with equipment I didn’t really understand but I know it was able to identify leaks and air flows.  They checked crawl spaces, the attics no one had ever visited, measured air loss around the windows and doors, replaced old fashioned light bulbs, then sat down for a heart-to-heart about defects, strengths, options, priorities, sources of funding, rebates, financing and more – all delivered one-on-one with a written game analysis and plan.

I was left breathless but not rudderless.  I know now what needs to be done and to stop fretting about problems that don’t exist.  I know about financial assistance, possible contractors and, most of all, priorities and potential savings of energy and money.

In other words, I ended the auditors’ visit with a manageable action plan and much appreciated peace of mind.

For more information about Community Energy Services, visit the website at mnces.org or contact Kyle Boehm at khoehm@mncee.org or 612-219-7334.

Memories ofMaple Hill Cemetery Remain in Northeast Minneapolis


One of the entrancing stories of Northeast history surrounds the origins of Beltrami Park, that inviting plot of land at Polk and Broadway, most easily identified by the bocce ball courts, just one of Beltrami Park’s living reminders of the Italian-American heritage of the neighborhood.  The fact is, the Beltrami Park site was Maple Hill Cemetery from 1857 until 1890 when it morphed to Maple Hill Park until 1948.

Although it is of record that the earliest settlers of St. Anthony interred some of their dead in a small tract near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street Southeast, the first cemetery whose line is unbroken to the comparatively recent day was Maple Hill.  In 1849 Robert W. Cummings obtained some land from the government in St. Anthony township, now part of the city of Minneapolis.  Cummings reserved a twenty acre tract for a cemetery along what is now Broadway.  The dedication of these private burial grounds as Maple Hill Cemetery in February, 1857, gave the people, especially the early settlers of the east side, a resting place for their dead which was not disturbed for more than forty years.  By that time, it is said that no fewer than 5,000 bodies had been laid away on the slopes of Maple Hill,

In time, negligence and vandalism took their toll at Maple Hill Cemetery.  In 1890, with the increase of population, coupled with the rising impact of vandalism, health authorities halted further interments.  The following year the city council condemned land on either side of the cemetery for street purposes; removal of the bodies commenced.”  Many bodies were moved to Lakewood and Hillside cemeteries.  A City Engineers Report from 1894 reports that 1321 bodies and 82 monuments had been removed from Maple Hill.  Clearly, this is a fraction of the 5,000 estimated interred.

Still, because Maple Hill Cemetery was in part a potters’ field there was no great attention to perpetual care, much less record-keeping.  By 1906 the non-denominational cemetery had been abandoned and had become a community eyesore and cause of consternation.  Community members took matters into their own hands.  Actually, they took reins into their own hands, hitched up their horses, and one night cleared the cemetery not only of debris but of all of the tombstones.  The tombstones, including a civil war veterans memorial, were later found dumped in a ditch.  City officials, understandably outraged, made pronouncements about capture and prosecution of the miscreants.

In time, the idea of a quiet urban park tempered the cry for retribution.  Writing in his History of Minneapolis, Reverend Marion Daniel Shutter reflects that “the pretty little park bounded by Broadway, Fillmore, Polk and Summer streets is what remains of the old burial grounds.”  In 1908 the Park Board purchased Maple Hill Cemetery for $8,000.  The City Council contributed $5,000 for the initial improvement of the land.  That improvement included construction of a seven-foot high wire mesh fence around the cemetery to protect the Civil War-era stone monuments from vandalism.  That fence lasted until the early 1920’s when the neighbors declared it too unsightly and the Park Board decided it was too costly to repair.

In 1978 The Minnesota Genealogist (Volume 12, No. 2, 1978)  carried a detailed article about the cemetery, submitted by Barbara Sexton and Lauraine Kerchner.  Sexton and Kerchner report that in 1908 an Improvement Association was formed; the cemetery was restored and fenced in at a cost of $12,000.  Ten acres of the original tract were cleared and used for a playground.  The playground area was eventually awarded to the Park Board and the park renamed Maple Hill Park.  In the first plans for Maple Hill Park Superintendent Theodore Wirth proposed a picnic ground for most of the park, with a small section, where no bodies have been buried, reserved for a school garden for the children of Pierce School across the street from the park.  Early plans also called for a warming house and skating rink which were finally approved in 1913.  The warming shelter was also for “lectures” and a tool room.  Wirth lamented in his 1909 report that the park was not much frequented and probably wouldn’t be as long as it “retains the appearance of a cemetery.”

Wirth, with neighborhood support, continued to propose upgrades of the park for many years.  At some point ice skating was added to the list of park amenities.  One of Beltrami’s claims to fame was that the skating club at the park produced the city’s first qualifier for a US Winter Olympic team.  Though Charles Leighton of the Maple Hill Club qualified to represent the US in speed skating he never got the chance when the 1940 winter games scheduled for Sapporo, Japan, were cancelled because of World War II.

As early as 1915 park enthusiasts had also begun to petition – to no avail — for a tennis court.  The Park Board history of Beltrami indicates there is no firm attribution of the date for installation of the tennis court that currently exists at Beltrami.  Still, the report notes, “the enormous oak tree branch that stretches over the court, removing the lob from the arsenal of shots Beltrami tennis players could use, suggests it has existed at least since the first concrete wading pool was built in the park in 1953.”

Sexton and Kerchner report that, by 1916, vandalism became a serious problem.  “Residents of the area and members of the Dudley P. Chase Post of the GAR and the Rev. Harvey Klinger protested the desecration of the Soldiers Monument.  Again there was debate, legislation, and litigation for much of 1916.  Stones were carried away leaving little or no evidence as to any remaining graves.  In August the old Maple Hill Cemetery-Park was dedicated as Beltrami Park.  When the Park Board started construction of Beltrami Park, concerned citizens protested the bulldozing of broken monuments to the edges of the park.  To this day, reminders of Maple Hill Cemetery remain.  Sexton and Kerchner refer to an earlier article in which Alfred J. Dahlquist reported finding in Beltrami Park a plaque listing names of Grand Army of the Republic soldiers who had been buried in Maple Hill Cemetery. The inscription on the updated tablet reads in part:  “Although men’s thoughtless actions have deprived them of their right to individually marked and cherished graves, the children of future ages will gather here to honor them.” Though the Park Board did maintain records of what could be salvaged,  remains of gravestones were found much later.  Family members continued for some time to protest the moving of their relatives’ graves.

Sexton and Kerchner meticulously combed the files of the Minneapolis Park Board to identify protests and the names and dates of those who were interred at Maple Hill Cemetery..

Beyond the six bocce ball courts, the tricky tennis courts, and the picnic grounds of Beltrami Park lies an intriguing history of one of the city’s oldest memorials to early settlers, known and unknown, families, community leaders, Civil War veterans, children and mothers who died in childbirth.  The memorials, including a statue of Count Giacomo Constantino Beltrami himself, are worthy of exploration.

The story of Beltrami Park also reflects the vision of the neighborhood and of the visionary Theodore Wirth.  Today’s Beltrami Park offers a unique mix of history and of leisure time activities, both of which enhance the life of the city.

Whither Shoreham Yards – blight or boon to Northeast Minneapolis

The ongoing saga of the future of Shoreham Yards is as complex and tangled as the map of the 230 acre railroad yard that has taken up a generous expanse of Northeast Minneapolis since 1888.  In recent years Canadian Pacific Railroad has operated the sprawling train, trucking and bulk distribution site that was once the major switch point for trains headed from the grain mills on the Mississippi to the East Coast. Since the mid-1990’s the Yards have been at the center of a host of controversies involving affected neighborhood residents, the entrenched  railroad, anxious developers, concerned environmentalists, health authorities, architectural preservationists and a parade of elected officials.  Though the Yards incorporate the land from Central to University and 27th Avenue Northeast to St. Anthony Parkway much of the discussion about disposition of the area focuses on an area known as “the teardrop” and on the historic Roundhouse.

For the driver speeding past en route to elsewhere, the Yards are a passing curiosity, a maze of interlocking tracks, parking lots, some outbuildings and a neighborhood eyesore.  In fact, the Shoreham Yards represent one of the last vestiges of the prominence of Minneapolis as a transit center.  The facility once served as the primary locomotive repair and maintenance facility for the Soo Line Railroad and its predecessor, the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic Railroad.

A unique feature of the Yards is the 48-stall Historic Roundhouse, constructed in 1887.  Preservationists are particularly concerned about the Roundhouse/ which was designated early in this century as a Minneapolis Historical Landmark. In 2003 Shoreham Yards and Roundhouse were named one of the state’s Ten Most Endangered Properties by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.  To this day the Roundhouse is closed to the public, visible only from a distance over a fence west of Central Avenue and 29th Avenue.  Dan Haugen, writing in the Northeaster (reprinted in the Twin Cities Daily Planet) in 2007, offers an excellent review of the history and current status of negotiations regarding the Roundhouse.

Preservation is but the tip of the controversies surrounding the future of the Yards.  A portion of Shoreham Yards is a designated Industrial Employment District in the Comprehensive Plan for Minneapolis. This designation means that the City will support redevelopment of the area for new light industrial business that provide high job density, good wages and low impact on the surrounding community The City of Minneapolis has outlined a number of potential redevelopment scenarios for the section of the 2008 Shoreham Yards, including the Roundhouse,  in the Shoreham Yards Roundhouse Reuse Study, a living document that is updated regularly on the Community Planning and Economic Development website.  An important recent development is posting of Request for Proposals for two parcels of Shoreham Yards, one including the Shoreham Roundhouse.

Much of the discussion relating to the disposition of Shoreham Yards focuses on pollution, particularly dust from activity in the Yards, as well as appearance and safety issues related to unlocked containers near public streets.  Arguments rage about the contamination of the major aquifer essential to long-term and emergency water access./ Neighbors have also complained about trash deposited on the grounds.. Health Consultation documents have been produced by the state and federal government/ These and hundreds of environment related documents are available on the Shoreham Depository document site which also provides an excellent list of state and corporate contacts.

An important player in the deliberations is the Shoreham Area Advisory Committee (SAAC) formed in 1998 as part of the court settlement between the city of Minneapolis and the Canadian Pacific Railway, an agreement that related generally to demolition of various Shoreham buildings.  The SAAC which meets monthly includes city, railroad, neighborhood organization, business and community members.  Notes of SAAC’s activities over the past dozen years present a vivid record of the work SAAC has done to explore economic, environmental, preservation and other issues.  A 2008 note reports that “Shoreham on Central and Roundhouse is listed as a ‘transformational, once-in-a-generation’ opportunity in the city’s Small Area Plan.”  \

One recent initiative of the SAAC is the Nine Lives Project.   Artist Foster Willey has created one of his “Made in Minnesota” posters featuring icons of the historic Shoreham Roundhouse.  Tax deductible purchases of the Nine Lives Project poster support the work of SAAC.


The Eastside Food Co-op is taking affirmative action by providing an open forum on Shoreham Yards for the community.  The Other Side of the Tracks is the topic of EFC’s December Network. It’s Thursday, December 9, 7:30 a.m. in the Granite Room at the Co-op,  2551 Central Avenue Northeast, just North of Lowry.  It’s free and open. Good Parking.  MTC #10.

Residents, policy-makers and others concerned about the process, proposed plans and potential problems may wish to consult some of the key online resources linked here or join the exchange on  E-Democracy* (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls-ne).   Each presents a unique perspective on a complex issue that has profound long-term consequences for Northeast Minneapolis.