On my first day in the Cleveland neighborhood, I had walked everything south of 35th Avenue (and alternate blocks of that avenue), so when the good (if slushy) weather unexpectedly continued, I returned the next day for the rest. As usual, my route map consists shows a main loop in blue and supplemental spurs in red:
Starting my walk by heading west on 36th Avenue North, I immediately came across the two saddest happy faces I’ve ever seen. They decorated two of the deflated balloons that along with flowers, stuffed animals, and other items clustered around a tree as a memorial to Dana Logan.
Aside from being somewhat more hilly (or less flat), this part of the neighborhood was quite similar to what I saw further south, with a mix of 20th century houses. The first house that particularly struck me was after I reached the western edge of the neighborhood and turned onto Xerxes, initially heading north into the 3600 block. One of the houses (dating from 1941) stood out for the density with which its facade was packed with decorative elements, including an entry turret, a half timbered gable, and several styles of decorative brickwork.
After I had looped through the rest of Xerxes and all of Washburn, I turned east from Xerxes onto 37th Avenue, the start of a process of looping my way back to my starting point. In the back yard of the corner house, I saw a sign advertising “Local Honey for Sale,” my first indication that a bee keeper lived there, an impression that was reinforced once I stood back further from the house and saw there was also a honey-bee caution sign and what seemed to be hive frames on the porch.
In another sign that the neighborhood supports food production, the boulevard along 37th Avenue includes some garden frames that apparently were used for growing vegetables, as witness the remaining stalk of brussels sprouts. Unlike the stalks I see in farmers’ markets, this one was sporting a profusion of larger leaves, distinct from the bud leaves on the sprouts. I’ve read about brussels spouts leaves and wished I had the opportunity to try cooking them.
Already on the prior day, I had noticed that the Cleveland neighborhood’s urban forest has a higher proportion of evergreens than other neighborhoods I had walked in. When my second north/south loop took me into the 3700 block of Vincent Avenue, I was able to take a photo that illustrates this point:
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church (ELCA) was the one church I saw in the neighborhood. In the 75 years since the stately building’s construction, the congregation has evolved with the surrounding area: the sign on the corner indicates that Pastor N. Vang provides ministry in both English and Hmong.
After this one northward block on Sheridan, I took Thomas Avenue south to 35th and then turned back northward on Sheridan again. The corner house is a 1910 historic landmark, the Fournier House:
In this northern portion of the neighborhood, the commercial activity is all concentrated along Penn Avenue. Aside from a few small shops such as hair stylists, there are two busier establishments: a gas station on the corner with Dowling and a convenience store on the corner with 36th Avenue.
However, I did see one intriguing sign that the commercial area originally extended somewhat further west, rather than being limited to Penn Avenue. A half-block west of Penn on 37th Avenue, a 1928-vintage auto-service building has been converted to residential use. City records show that it was used for auto detailing businesses into the latter half of the 1990s.
Editor’s Note: Max Hailperin is walking each of Minneapolis’ 87 neighborhoods, in alphabetical order. He chronicles his adventures at allofminneapolis.com, where the original version of this article was published January 20, 2017. We’re sharing them here at streets.mn, at a pace of one or two walks per week.
Streets.mn is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.