Summit-University, Ramsey Hill, Cathedral Hill August 17, 2013
My August 17th ride of nearly 14 miles focused upon portions of the Summit-University, Ramsey Hill and Cathedral Hill neighborhoods. Here are my reflections on the first portion of the ride.
Marshall Avenue from Chatsworth eastward is one of the most mottled thoroughfares I’ve ridden in terms of age, style and function of the structures along its blocks. As you’ll see, there are homes-from single family to an eight-plex, apartments and town houses, nursing homes, non-profits, offices, a college and more. The socio-economic level appears to fluctuate significantly along Marshall as well.
Benches at the Wilder Community Center for Aging not only add a dash of color but offer encouraging words.
Two spectacular Victorians, 573 Marshall (deep red), built in 1894 and next door, the younger sister, 569 Marshall (yellow and grey), built in 1900.
The Hulings Scout Service Center is the main office for The Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts. Created in 1910, the St. Paul council of the Boy Scouts became the Northern Star Council with the 2005 merger of Indianhead (St. Paul) and Viking (Minneapolis) Councils. The Northern Star is the fifth largest council in the US with nearly 72,000 youths involved, according to the website.
The pleasantly landscaped Bill Hulings Memorial Values Plaza offers benches, rocks engraved with the Scout Law and a tribute to Saint Paul Police detective Allan George Lee who was shot and killed trying to capture a robbery suspect. http://www.spphs.com/honor_roll/lee.php
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened an all-girls Catholic boarding school in this building in 1863. At that time, St. Joseph’s Academy, as the school was called, was too far from homes in downtown Saint Paul for the girls to make the trek back and forth daily. St. Joseph’s Academy grew so quickly that three buildings were added by 1885.
It took 20 years for the rapidly growing city to spread westward past the school’s Cathedral Hill (then called St. Anthony Hill) location. The addition of residences in the neighborhood allowed the Sisters to make the Academy a day school1. St. Joseph’s Academy finally closed in 1971 after more than 100 years due to declining enrollment. Five years later, the St. Joseph’s Academy buildings and property were purchased by Christ’s Household of Faith.
CHOF is a small, mysterious religious sect that some say is a cult. Many, if not most, members of Christ’s Household of Faith live here, in the former St. Joseph’s Academy building, which also serves as a school for about 153 students in Pre-K through 12th.
No doubt the Italianate design of the buildings, their age, peeling paint and unusually draped windows add to CHOF’s mystique. For anyone with an active imagination, it’s easy to get the heebie-jeebies even during the daytime. On top of the physical traits of the buildings, a Google search yields nothing official about Christ’s Household of Faith-no website, and little beyond that other than links to several news stories about CHOF and Minnesota State High School League information about the school’s athletics information. The enigmatic nature of the group increases speculation about its beliefs and activities.
The Aberdeen Condominiums, directly across the street from CHOF, is among the newer developments on Cathedral Hill. The 50-plus unit luxury condo is named after the Aberdeen Hotel which stood nearby from the 1880s until about 1944.
Edging ever closer toward downtown I stopped for a picture at St. Christopher Place, a Catholic Charities facility for low-income residents. According to the Catholic Charities website, St. Christopher Place has 70 single rooms and common areas for men and women working to better their lives.
Saint Paul College abuts the busy corner of Marshall and John Ireland Boulevard, by which many hundreds of cars pass daily. I doubt most of those who zoom by know what an excellent school Saint Paul College is. The College was named the best community college in the country by one publication and placed in the top 10 in another. Students choose from programs covering culinary arts, trade and technical programs like pipefitting and welding, liberal arts courses as varied as computer science, American Sign Language and business curriculum such as entrepreneurship and accounting.
Saint Paul College traces its ancestry to the St. Paul Institute, which started teaching classes in the building trades in the summer of 1910. Students came from area high schools. In 1919 the program became St. Paul Boys Vocational School with classes taught at Central and Mechanic Arts High Schools. Another notable event was the 1942 opening of Girls Vocational School at Mechanic Arts. A seismic shift in the philosophy of St. Paul Vocational came in 1966 when the school was transformed from a trade school for high school boys to a co-ed post-secondary school. To top it off, the newly created St. Paul Area Technical Vocational College moved into a new building at 235 Marshall. The website celebrating the College’s centennial is a great source for more history and pictures. http://saintpaulcollegecentennial.org/
The intersection of Marshall and John Ireland Boulevard was immediately behind me when I took the above picture. John Ireland Boulevard is the eastern end of Marshall Avenue. My ride continued east where quickly, I saw striking changes in the scenery. I’ll pick up the story of the rest of the ride in anohter post. Meanwhile, here is the map of the entire route of my August 17th ride. http://www.mapmyride.com/us/mendota-heights-mn/route-from-file-2013-08-17-17-41-56-00-0-route-325541565