Macalester-Groveland, West End, Downtown
September 20, 2014
There are sales galore in Mac-Groveland on this beautiful Saturday.
I made two stops on the same block of Palace Avenue in Mac-Groveland today, both for ornamentation so unusual they could (and may still) be recognized on the “Quirky Saint Paul” page of this blog. First, at 1366 Palace, these two pirate penguins stand guard.
Then on the boulevard of 1360 Palace, a tree home for a small mammal or elf.
Fast forward to the West End and the historic Schneider-Bulera House at 365 Michigan Street. There is a sizable amount of debate about the history of the Schneider-Bulera House, with most of the disagreement about the home’s age. At one time local historians thought it could be the oldest surviving residential dwelling in Saint Paul but additional research changed that. Now, prevailing opinion is that it is one of Saint Paul’s older homes. The Ramsey County Tax and Property look-up website gives an 1865 construction date for the house, with which the owner obviously disagrees.
I haven’t dug up the full story but the Schneider-Bulera House fell into disrepair and prior to the most recent improvements, was in sad condition.
This part of the West End, officially called Winslow’s Addition, has quite a number of older homes, most dating back to 1880 or later. Only 369 Michigan, immediately west of the Schneider-Bulera House, comes close to the same age. Again, according to Ramsey County records, 1870 is the construction date of 369 Michigan.
Several doors to the east is this brick house, built in 1880. Quite obviously the difference in style and construction material between this home and the Schneider-Bulera House is significant. No longer a single family home, the tree-shrouded 343 Michigan Avenue is the Hmong Archives, a collection of close to 111,000 artifacts.(2) Yuepheng Xiong founded the Hmong archives in 1999 and moved it to 343 Michigan in 2010. The Hmong Archives is open to the public both during regularly scheduled hours and by appointment.
Downtown – A Quick Visit
It’s less than a mile from Dousman Park on the West End to West 7th Street and Kellogg Boulevard Downtown. From there, the layout of some Downtown streets range from puzzling to confounding to mystifying, depending upon your experience and need to find an address.
For instance, West 7th crosses Kellogg, then West 5th, and West 6th/Old West 6th Streets.
Catholic Charities owns and operates Mary Hall, a homeless shelter for adults. Built in 1925 or ’26 by St. Joseph’s Hospital, it offered, “a private room and ample accommodations” for more than 200 of its nursing students.
Continuing northbound on Main Street I waded through the St. Joseph’s Hospital campus.
A couple doors south of West 7th is one of Saint Paul’s most recognized but puzzling establishments. The Original Coney Island Café and Tavern at 444-448 St. Peter Street opened in 1923 and over the subsequent 90-plus years, grew into a Downtown icon. For all practical purposes, the restaurant closed in 1994 when co-founder Frances Arvanitis got sick. After her death, her three children took ownership and open the café now and again for special events.(6) The Coney Island can also be rented for private parties.
I was up for a challenge on the way home so as I left Downtown I chose to leave via Ramsey Street – one of the steepest climbs I’ve encountered in Saint Paul. I had barely begun the ascent when I stopped to snap a few pictures of the large house at 319 Ramsey.
Then I turned my attention back to the Ramsey Street hill. On this day, it was the hill 2, me 0, meaning I stopped twice on the way up to catch my breath. The Ramsey Hill beat me on this ride, but I’ll be ready next time. The route I took on this 13.4 mile trip is here, so please click on Garmin Connect.
(1) Saint Paul Historic Context Study Neighborhoods at the Edge of the Walking City, Prepared for Historic Saint Paul, City of Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission, and Ramsey County Historical Society Saint Paul, Minnesota, b y Mead & Hunt, Inc., 2011
(2) Hmong Archives website, http://www.hmongarchives.org/aboutus.html
(3) APALA Asian Pacific American Librarians Association website, http://www.apalaweb.org/about/
(4) Finance & Commerce website, January 15, 2015, Construction near for new Dorothy Day Center, Brian Johnson
(5) St. Joseph’s Hospital History website, https://www.healtheast.org/st-josephs-hospital/about/history.html
(6) St. Paul Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo, 03/14/2012
(7) AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, page 337, Larry Millett